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Dr. Strauch specializes in PennHip Evaluation


PennHIP is a specialized x-ray technique used to evaluate for hip dysplasia in dogs. Canine hip dysplasia is an inherited orthopedic disorder of the hip joints. The disease causes pain and discomfort in dogs and results in markedly reduced performance and work longevity. Caused by genetic factors that result in the hip joints having a certain degree of looseness, it initiates a series of events leading to profound and often debilitating arthritis. Any breed may be affected with hip dysplasia, but it is more commonly seen in large breed dogs such as Retrievers, Shepherds, Rottweilers and their mixes. Age and gender are no boundaries.

The degree of symptoms and their onset is quite variable. A dog may be crippled at 6 months of age, or have nothing but minor stiffness on rising late in life, yet have the same degree of changes on x-rays. This condition cannot be cured, but symptoms can be modified or alleviated with certain nutritional supplements and/or medications.  Surgery is usually performed on those that are non-responsive to medications.

Because of the high incidence in certain breeds (50-55% in Retrievers and 70% in Shepherds), it is highly recommended to evaluate the joint condition before breeding to eliminate individuals that could pass down to the puppies the genetic make-up that would cause them to have this painful condition. Routine x-rays, commonly known as the OFA technique, can detect existing skeletal changes that are caused by hip dysplasia, but it is incapable of determining the potential of an individual dog that has the hip dysplasia genetic make-up, yet whose x-rays do not reveal those bony changes. Over the past 20 years, the University of Pennsylvania has developed a very objective x-ray technique that can help determine wheter or not a dog that is going to be bred has this genetic potential. It is a much more involved and precise technique, and in order to maintain consistency, a general practicing veterinarian must be trained and approved by the University of Pennsylvania in order to submit x-rays for their evaluation. At Animal Medical Center of Highland Village, Dr. Austin Strauch received certification in March of 1998 to perform this x-ray procedure.

Prior to breeding, all higher risk breeds should be evaluated for canine hip dysplasia. We highly recommend selecting a puppy from parents that have both been PennHIP evaluated. The potential is considerably less that this puppy will develop hip dysplasia.

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