Penn Hip Evaluation

a method used to determine likelihood of canine hip dysplasia.

This method determines joint laxity, which is the primary indicator of future degenerative joint disease issues. This method is different from more traditional diagnostic evaluations and widely accepted as a tool for veterinary professionals to indicate the incidence of future hip dysplasia. Based on precise measurements and calculations, a distraction index is assigned to each hip joint, whereas other methods can be subjective. To have a dog’s joints evaluated by Penn Hip, veterinarians that are trained and certified in the proper technique for radiographs submitted for evaluation will take specific films while the dog is under general anesthesia to provide the highest degree of muscle relaxation. The films are then evaluated for distraction index and the dog is ranked according to other dogs of the same breed that have been evaluated.

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The Penn Hip program is not for profit and is owned and operated by the University of Pennsylvania. They maintain a database that can accumulate and report on breed-specific trends in canine osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia. The underlying presumption behind their data accumulation is that ultimately dogs with tighter joints and less likelihood of developing degenerative joint disease will be bred to others that are unlikely to develop DJD, resulting in decreased incidence throughout purebred lines. In summary, the program encompasses three major components: a specialized diagnostic radiograph technique, a worldwide network of trained and experienced veterinarians, and a database used for breed-specific analysis.

Dr. Dew is a trained and certified Penn Hip referral veterinarian. If your dog belongs to a breed that traditionally has a high incidence of DJD, we are happy to take and refer the proper radiographs for evaluation. While no method is 100% accurate, the Penn Hip Method is superior to any other diagnostic method for determining future probability of canine degenerative joint disease. As the diagnostic will be performed under general anesthesia, please bring your dog to the appointment NPO (fasted, having had nothing to eat after 10:00 pm the night before the appointment) and plan to leave your dog with us for a few hours following a morning consultation.