Hip dysplasia is the most common inherited orthopaedic disease, affecting many dog breeds, especially the large breeds. Dogs with this condition have hips which develop abnormally, resulting in a hip joint where the ball does not fit the socket well, or there is too much slackness between the ball and the socket, resulting in abnormal wear and tear. This ultimately leads to arthritis, which is painful and debilitating. Diagnosis of the condition generally occurs when the dog becomes lame, and at this time, secondary degenerative changes have often already occurred, which are irreversible.
PennHip is a specialised screening test which can be performed at any age. It involves a series of hip radiographs, performed while your dog is under general anaesthesia which determines whether your dog has hip dysplasia, and if so, how severe it potentially can be. There are a limited number of veterinarians in Victoria who are accredited to perform these tests. Our practice is fortunate to have Dr. Tracy Wong and Dr. Vicky Wade who are both fully accredited.
We generally recommend PennHip screening at 4-5 months of age. Detection of problems at this age can allow us to advise you of what can be done to minimise the progression of the disease. Alternatively, if your dog’s hips have severe hip dysplasia, there is corrective surgery that can be performed to alleviate future problems.
For further information, please contact the clinic or have a look at www.pennhip.org.