A Scientific Method for Early Screening for Canine Hip Dysplasia

Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is the most common, heritable orthopaedic problem seen in dogs. It affects virtually all breeds of dogs, but is especially problematic in large and giant breeds.


Clinically, the disease manifests itself in one of two ways:

  1. A severe form that typically afflicts the young animal and is usually characterised by marked pain and lameness, or
  2. A more chronic form with more gradual onset of clinical signs, such as mild, intermittent pain, stiffness and restricted range of motion in the hips as the dog ages. In many cases, the chronic form may be clinically silent.


 What is PennHIP?

PennHIP is a scientific method to evaluate a dog for its susceptibility to develop Hip Dyplasia. It was developed by the researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine. The radiographic procedure involves special positioning of the dog so that the dog's "passive hip laxity" can be accurately measured.

In simple terms, passive hip laxity refers to the degree of looseness of the hip ball in the hip socket when the dog's muscles are completely relaxed.


This research-based hip-screening procedure has proven to be the most accurate and precise method to measure hip laxity. It can identify - as early as 16 weeks of age - dogs that are susceptible to developing hip dyplasia. This offers breeders the opportunity to make early decisions on breeding stock, and allows veterinarians to advise pet owners on lifestyle adjustments and preventative strategies to minimise the pain and progression of the disease.


Dr. Agnes Chiu is a Certified PennHIP Veterinarian and is fully trained to perform this evaluation in your pet. She has completed specialised training and quality-control exercises before becoming certified.


 What happens to my dog during a PennHIP evaluation?

To obtain diagnostic radiographs, it is important that the patient and the surrounding hip musculature are completely relaxed. For the comfort and safety of your pet, general anaesthesia is preferred. Typically, three separate radiographs are made during an evaluation. Agnes will then submit all three radiographs to the University of Pennsylvania for evaluation.


The PennHIP procedure has been safely performed on thousands of patients.


 What is the cost of having my dog evaluated?

Agnes will discuss the total fee for a PennHIP evaluation. It is important to remember that the total service includes sedation/anaesthesia, three radiographs, office consultation and all charges associated with mailing and film evaluation.


 Where can I find more information about the PennHIP procedure?

For more information on PennHIP, please visit the PennHIP website.