PennHIP

 

What is PennHIP?


PennHIP is a study to assess dogs and cats for the risk of developing
hip dysplasia with subsequent hip arthritis.

 

How is PennHIP done?


PennHIP uses three different x-ray views to assess the hip for laxity. These include assessing the hip joints in their compressed and fully distracted states.

The x-rays must be done with the animal under sedation to ensure that the thigh muscles are fully relaxed. This allows the full hip laxity for the pet to be properly assessed.

The hip joints are objectively measured to arrive at a distraction index of the hips. Tighter-fitting hips have lesser distraction, and are correlated with a lower likelihood of developing hip dysplasia.

 

What is the youngest age at which PennHIP can be performed?


PennHIP is currently widely accepted as the best predictor for hip dysplasia, and can be performed on dogs and cats from 16 weeks of age.

 

Who is PennHIP recommended for?


It is recommended for breeding dogs and cats so that only those with the tightest hips are bred to help eliminate the ailment over generations.

PennHIP is also recommended for pet dogs and cats as well as working dogs so that those at risk of developing hip dysplasia can be identified early and preventive measures can be taken to protect their hips.

Dog breeds most at risk of developing hip dysplasia include Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Cocker Spaniels and Shetland Sheepdogs, but hip dysplasia has been documented in almost all breeds.

Cats can also develop hip dysplasia, with the Maine Coon, Siamese and Persian breeds most predisposed to the condition.

 

Who can perform PennHIP?


PennHIP x-rays can only be performed by certified veterinarians who have received training and acquired special equipment.

 

Who interprets the PennHIP x-rays?


The x-rays are submitted to the University of Pennsylvania for interpretation. This is important to ensure consistency. They are only read by the founder of PennHIP, Dr. Gail Smith, or his specially trained colleagues.

 

What can be done if my pet is assessed to be at risk of developing hip dysplasia?


If pets are assessed to be prone to hip dysplasia, your veterinarian will fully evaluate its diet, exercise levels and weight to help prevent or delay the onset of debilitating arthritis. In severe cases, surgical treatments can also be explored.

 

To find out more about PennHIP, please go to pennhip.org. Certified PennHIP veterinarians can be found here.

For more information, please see the following links from PennHIP:
Definition of PennHIP Terms
PennHIP Q & A