Hip dysplasia is a potentially debilitating orthopaedic disease in which laxity of the coxofemoral joint often leads to secondary osteoarthritis, a reduction in joint function and pain. It has been recognised for many years as being of particular importance in pedigree dogs, especially in larger breeds, and is known to be partly governed by genetic factors. In order to try to control canine hip dysplasia and to reduce its incidence, a number of radiographic screening programmes have been developed worldwide. In 1983, a scheme was established by the British Veterinary Association and supported by the Kennel Club to examine radiographs of dogs' hips by assessing different anatomical features and giving them a numerical score. This article describes the process of scoring in this scheme, explains how to interpret the score and gives advice on the use of hip scores in the selection of breeding animals.
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