PennHIP is an early test for hip dysplasia (HD) and consists of a set of three x-rays in different positions: the traditional extended-leg ventrodorsal one plus the two that allow to measure the hip distraction rate (that is, the space between the femur's head and the socket). This exam can be performed as early as 16 weeks of age and allows to foresee the odds of the puppy developping degenarative joint disease. It is very useful to the conscious owner, who'll get to know if his puppy requires specific preventive care (such as exercise/food restrictions and joint protective suplements). It is also very import to us, breeders, since it allows us to evaluate more quickly the results of our HD control programme and get to know our breeding stock's genetic load better, thus helping us to have a safer, more controlled breeding programme.
However, this early screening is not an alternative to the definite traditional radiographic test at 18 months of age. We ask our puppy buyers to be committed to do both tests and let us know the results. In Portugal, an academic research by Dr. Ana Santana, taking place at Lisbon's Universidade Lusófona, makes both tests free for dogs of Portuguese breeds (these free exams can also be done at UTAD, in Vila Real).
PennHIP of a Ponta da Pinta puppy with normal hips (image courtesy of Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária da Universidade de Lisboa)
Systematic hip dysplasia control has always been a mandatory element of our programme for bettering the breed. Read more.