What is PennHIP?
In 1983, Dr. Gail Smith, an orthopedic surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, began researching early diagnosis of CHD (Canine Hip Dysplasia). Through his work, he has created the PennHIP method for measuring joint laxity (looseness) the primary cause of degenerative joint disease. The distraction index (DI) used in the PennHIP method serves as a measurement of passive hip laxity, the degree of looseness of the hip joint when the dog's hips are completely relaxed. Dogs with a DI of 0.3 have tighter hips and are less likely to develop DJD, while those with looser hips whose DI values approach 0.7 or more are at greater risk.
The PennHIP x-ray method is unique for several reasons. First, it is a well-researched, objective method following strict scientific protocols and published in peer-reviewed veterinary literature. Second, the distraction index assigned to each hip joint is based on precise measurements and mathematical calculations. Dr. Smith and his colleagues feel this is superior to a subjective description of "shallow acetabulum" as found in an OFA report. Third, veterinarians who wish to submit films to PennHIP are required to be trained in the techniques and to be certified. This assures that standard protocols will be used in obtaining the films and helps ensure accurate data. While no one promises that the PennHIP method of measuring joint laxity will be 100% accurate in predicting which dogs will develop hip dysplasia, it is superior to any other available diagnostic method.
As more breeders become aware of PennHIP testing and more veterinarians become certified in the method, it is sure to become more widely available and more familiar to dog breeders and owners.
Dr. Thomas, Mariah, Ashley, Amanda, Kelsey, and Ku are trained and certified in the methods required for submitting the best x-rays for PennHIp evaluation
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