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PennHIP Screening


What is PennHIP?

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is still the most common inherited joint problem in large breed dogs. PennHIP is a radiographic screening technique to evaluate the laxity, or looseness, in canine hips and determine their risk of developing degenerative joint disease (DJD). 

How is the PennHIP evaluation done?

While the examination itself is fairly quick, your dog will be anesthetized to allow for complete relaxation and better radiographic positioning. Three x-ray views of the hips will be taken:

  • Distraction view for qualitative measurement of hip joint laxity
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  • Compression view for joint hip congruity
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  • Extension view for osteoarthritis readings
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As an outpatient diagnostic procedure, your pet will go home the same day.

Why is PennHIP the preferred method of evaluation?

Prior to the development of the PennHIP method, Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) evaluations were the norm. The OFA examination cannot be performed until a dog is at least 24 months old and any veterinarian may provide the service. The radiologist reading the images will estimate the laxity of the hips and then subjectively score them. Alternatively, the PennHIP exam must be done under anesthesia and can be performed on a dog as young as 16 weeks. It is qualitative (actually measures set parameters) in a joint that is manipulated in a controlled, reproducible manner. Only veterinarians that are certified in the technique are qualified to perform the exam. The PennHIP data is then compared to thousands of other studies to assess the degree of that individual's joint laxity to others of the same age and breed. 

What are the benefits of PennHIP?

  • It is a qualitative measurement of the hip joint laxity.
  • It is a well-researched, objective method following strict scientific protocols and published in peer-reviewed veterinary literature.
  • Veterinarians who wish to submit PennHIP x-rays  are required to be trained in the technique and certified helping ensure accurate data.
  • It can help eliminate the hip dysplasia genes out of breeding stock.
  • It can be performed on dogs as young as 16 weeks.
  • It can be used to test if a dog is a candidate for surgery to prevent DJD.
  • It can help assess the usefulness of performing a preventive procedure called Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis (JPS) based on the risk of developing hip dysplasia.

Who can perform a PennHIP exam?

Only veterinarians certified in the PennHIP technique may perform the examination. VSS surgeon Dr. Diane Craig meets these requirements. 

Do I need a referral?

No referral is necessary for PennHIP. Please call VSS at 949.936.0055 or email us at info@vssoc.com for more information and to schedule your dog’s appointment.

Click below to view sample PennHIP reports.

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