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PennHIP Evaluation

The PennHIP procedure assesses, measures, and interprets hip joint laxity to determine the dog’s risk of developing osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia over time. Veterinarians must complete a certification process to perform the PennHIP technique to ensure accurate results. PennHIP uses a tool called a distractor during the radiographic (x-ray) series, which allows the team to measure the Distraction Index (DI), or the extent to which the ball can be displaced (distracted) from the hip socket. The DI ranges from 0 (no laxity) to 1 (high degree of laxity). Dogs with a DI less than 0.3 are very unlikely to develop hip dysplasia or osteoarthritis. PennHIP keeps a database of DI within specific breeds and can compare your dog’s results to others within the breed.

To perform the procedure, the dog is first sedated to allow the muscles surrounding the hip joint to relax for manipulation. Three x-ray views are performed to look for presence of osteoarthritis and the degree of laxity within the hips. The radiographs are then sent to a team of boarded veterinary radiologists, who interpret the images, assess joint health, and calculate the DI. Results are reported within 72 hours.

All dogs can benefit from the PennHIP procedure as it allows for earlier intervention in the development of hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis if necessary. PennHIP can be performed in dogs as young as 16 weeks old.

For our breeding animals, we recommend testing after 8 months of age as part of the health testing process. The PennHIP technique is more accurate than the OFA view alone and has been shown to be a better predictor of the onset of osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia. One study showed that 80% of dogs with OFA “normal” hips showed clinically significant hip laxity with PennHIP. Among current hip screening methods, PennHIP has the highest heritability value to bring about genetic change in future generations.

For more information on the PennHIP procedure, please visit the PennHIP website.

The requirements for the PennHIP procedure are very specific. 

  • Pets must be sedated for hip radiographs.
  • We require DHP and Rabies vaccinations to be current, as this is an elective procedure. Please provide the vaccination history no later than one day before the procedure!
  • To help avoid errors, which could require reprocessing or retaking the radiographs, we require the following information, preferably in the form of the dog’s official registration (AKC, CKC or other), to be provided to us at least one day prior to your dog’s appointment:
    • FULL registered name, registration number (AKC, CKC or other) registration numbers for Sire and Dam
    • Date of birth
    • Microchip or tattoo number
    • Owner and Co-owner information – name, address, phone number, email.
  • Please complete and return the “Client Information,” “Dog Information” and signatures portion of the PennHIP submission form at least one day prior to your dog’s appointment.

*IMPORTANT!!!! For accurate results, female dogs should be least least 2 months after weaning puppies. Heat cycles have not been shown to affect the results from the PennHIP procedure.

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