PennHIP Radiographs

PennHIP radiographs are used to accurately diagnose hip dysplasia in dogs used for breeding purposes. PennHIP is a multifaceted radiographic technology (X-ray) to assess the quality of the canine hip and quantitatively measures canine hip joint laxity.

The PennHIP method of evaluation provides the ability to predict the onset of osteoarthritis, which is the hallmark of canine hip dysplasia. PennHIP X-rays are the most accurate way of assessing this predispotion.


Hip Dysplasia

Canine Hip Dysphasia (CHD) is the most common inherited (passed on from generation to generation) orthopaedic disease in the dog. These dogs have normal hips at birth which develop abnormally as they age. CHD leads to hip arthritis causing pain, stiffness and disability and a decreased quality of life for which there is no medical or surgical cure.

It affects over 50% of some breeds especially larger breeds of dogs (eg Labradors, Golden Retrievers and their crosses)

Hip laxity is the main predisposing factor contributing towards CHD and arthritis so the dogs with looser hips are at higher risk of developing hip dysphasia than dogs with tighter hips. We can identify dogs at risk of developing CHD with a PennHip x-ray series from 16 weeks of age. If we identify a patient as having “loose hips” and a predisposition towards CHD we discuss preventive measures aimed towards delaying the onset of arthritis and pain and the severity of arthritis by up to 50% in some cases Clinical signs of CHD can be variable and palpation of hips is a very unreliable means of diagnosing CHD or increased joint laxity so radiology ,especially the PennHip x-ray series ,is the most reliable means of diagnosing and predicting which dogs with develop hip arthritis. 

The procedure needs to be done under a general anaesthetic. It is a non painful and non invasive x-ray series that involves taking 3 views 1-a hip extended view to assess for radiographic signs of arthritis (this is the only view used on the traditional hip screening methods) 2- a compression view to assess how well the femoral head fits into the acetabulum (how well the ball fits into the socket) 3- A distraction view which allows an accurate measurement of maximal hip laxity These x-rays are sent to the USA for interpretation and a distraction index (DI) is given for each dog and each dog is ranked and assessed according to that specific breed for the potential of developing CHD. This information assists breeders with decision making on whether their dogs are likely to pass on the CHD gene or not and assists pet owners in putting in place preventative measures aimed towards delaying the onset and severity of hip arthritis in dogs with loose hips. 

 For further information please visit If you wish to compare the traditional hip dysphasia screening method with the PennHip method please visit for a compressive discussion on both procedures. 

Our Locations

Office Hours

Newtown Sydney Animal Hospitals

Monday - Sunday 7am - 11pm

Phone:(02) 9519 4111

Inner West Sydney Animal Hospitals

Monday - Friday 7am - 8pm
Saturday - Sunday 8am - 6pm

Phone:(02) 9516 1466

Kellyville Sydney Animal Hospitals

Monday - Friday 7am - 9pm
Saturday - Sunday 8am - 6pm

Phone:(02) 8883 0533

Norwest Sydney Animal Hospitals

Monday - Sunday 7am - 11pm

Phone:(02) 8883 0411

Northern Beaches Newport Sydney Animal Hospitals

Monday - Sunday 7am - 9pm

Phone:(02) 9997 4609

Avalon Sydney Animal Hospitals

Monday - Friday 8am - 7pm
Saturday 8:30am - 4pm
Sunday - 9am - 4pm

Phone:(02) 9918 0833


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