East Coast Bays Vet Clinic is certified to provide PennHip xrays. This is an internationally best practice standard.


What is Canine Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dyplasia results in osteoarthritis in the hips of dogs and is sadly still one of the most common sources of chronic pain in our pet dogs as they age.

It is seen most commonly in medium to large breed dogs labrador size and above. Affected dogs have a loose ball and socket hip joint. The sloppiness in the joint when moving causes inflammation and arthritic damage to the joint surfaces. 

The severity varies with some dogs showing signs when very young but most becoming stiff with pain on rising from rest from around five years of age onwards.

Can we determine which dogs are at high risk early?

The special thing about the PennHip Xray technique is that it can determine the lifetime risk a dog has for hip dysplasia from sixteen weeks of age.

This scientifically validated technique gives us a specific number for the instability of your dogs hips called the distraction index. After the xrays a report will compare your dogs hips with other dogs of the same breed and determine a risk for future arthritis quantified as mild, moderate or high.

Traditional xray technique is good for determining if arthritis has already occured but poor for predicting future hip dysplasia problems. Breeders have diligently used this via the hip dysplasia scheme for years without significant benefit in reducing hip dysplasia in New Zealand dogs unfortunately. The New Zealand Vet Association has abandoned this option.

Why is this important?

PennHip xrays are great for pet dogs under five years of age as early detection allows some action to be taken to slow down the process of arthritis and potentially delay the onset of pain.

With PennHip xrays we want to take these while there are still no symptoms. The process is quite simple involving a day at the clinic and a brief anaesthetic to allow correct positioning for the procedure. The digital images from Registered Vets around the world are sent to the same facility in America to ensure consistency.

If your canine mate has a risk of future disease weight control, moderated exercise and joint supplements become important. Weight management alone can have a tremendous effect on delaying the onset of arthritic symptoms.

Puppies, PennHip and JPS

There is a brief and unique opportunity when your puppy is sixteen weeks of age when PennHip xrays can determine your pups lifetime risk of hip dysplasia.

While your pup is still less the eighteen weeks of age and growing rapidly a relatively minor surgery with low risk can alter the growth pattern in its pelvic bones. The procedure is called JPS ( juvenile pubic symphysiodesis). By stopping growth in a small area in the pelvis the cup of the hip can be encouraged to cover the ball of the joint better. This will have a significant effect on reducing future arthritis. One study showed that only 25% of dogs that had JPS went on to develop arthritis compared to 83% in dogs that didn't. These results are similar to a very aggressive and expensive surgery called a DPO ( Double pelvic osteotomy) that is an available option at a later age.

Though no one really wants to put their lovely, new, clinically normal pup through a procedure we would recommend you be aware of early PennHip Xrays and the opportunity to improve your dogs life. Please feel free to discuss this at your puppies vaccination visit.