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Thread: Hip scores

  1. #1

    Hip scores

    A friend of mine has a Labrador bitch that he was considering breeding from, she's not registered but he had decided to get all of the health tests done. He asked a mutual friend which vet she used for X-rays for hip scoring and she told him that since his dog is five years old, her hips will have naturally deteriorated from use resulting in a poor score if he has them done and that he should have had them scored at 12 months.

    Is that correct? He has asked me what i think about it but I have no idea how it works?
    The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.

  2. #2
    My Dad has just had his 4yr old bitch scored and she came back with some thing like 3/3.
    I had a bitch scored a while ago, the vet said these hips don't look too good. It came back from the KC with a very good score(take from that what you will)
    not our normal vet I must add.

    In my limited experience you just never know until they are scored.

  3. #3
    Quick answer as srvet will give the definitive answer!

    The hip score is base around nine measurements. The first two relate to the anatomy of the hip joint, the next seven to any arthritic changes that are visible on the Xray. An Xray of a young (12-18mth) old dog will hopefully have scores based around only the first two, but the older dog may well have more changes from use. However, if the hip scores are really good in an older dog - then by definition, the hips are good!

    Awaiting incoming from the guru.......

  4. #4
    Obviously you will get the full low down from the vets but as hinted at you can expect a higher score than at 12 months but how much is definitely down to how good the hips are, I had my GWP done at 4 years old as I didn't know whether to breed from her earlier and they came back as 3:3 so pretty good obviously if you are a full on breeder and know you are going to breed from a dog then you get them done as early as possible to get the best scores but in your case it sounds like responsible breeding you have a dog worth breeding from and you just want to check her hips are up to scratch they will be a plus point if anyone asks when you come to sell pups

  5. #5
    I think that's mad! Surely that's an entirely flawed system?? How can you trust a hip score done at 12 months that isn't still the case when the dog gets to breeding age. Why are dogs allowed to be hip scored before they're fully developed? I think I smell a rat. Must be all part of the KC approved puppy farmer scheme. DNA test, I completely agree with. That's a constant throughout the life of the dog, but a test that misrepresents the truth is a bit far.
    The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Shabz View Post
    I think that's mad! Surely that's an entirely flawed system?? How can you trust a hip score done at 12 months that isn't still the case when the dog gets to breeding age. Why are dogs allowed to be hip scored before they're fully developed? I think I smell a rat. Must be all part of the KC approved puppy farmer scheme. DNA test, I completely agree with. That's a constant throughout the life of the dog, but a test that misrepresents the truth is a bit far.
    There is no conspiracy, a dogs bones are fully developed by 12 months of age. The hips and joints are formed and show a true reflection of the condition of the hip. Now much like humans, the joints will wear from environmental factors, thus their condition will naturally start to degenerate. Whilst good hips are believed to be a result of good breeding they are also an effect of environmental factors, too much exercise, too fat, too much jumping before the joints have developed have a detrimental effect on the dog.

    Mike
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Shabz View Post
    I think that's mad! Surely that's an entirely flawed system?? How can you trust a hip score done at 12 months that isn't still the case when the dog gets to breeding age. Why are dogs allowed to be hip scored before they're fully developed? I think I smell a rat. Must be all part of the KC approved puppy farmer scheme. DNA test, I completely agree with. That's a constant throughout the life of the dog, but a test that misrepresents the truth is a bit far.
    I think that in a way you are right. basically the hip scoring scheme is fundamentally flawed in several ways:
    1. You are using phenotype (ie the shape and relationship of the bones as assessed by radiographs) to try to predict genotype (ie if the sire and dam are carriers of the genes that contribute to hip dysplasia). These are not the same as you can have clinically unaffected dogs that are carriers of the genes that can pass them on to some of their offspring
    2. The hip score changes with age due to the progression of osteoarthritis in affected dogs. Please also bear in mind that the hip score could be affected by other causes of hip osteoarthritis including trauma which would also lead to deterioration with age
    3. As Buchan has rightly mentioned, the hip scoring scheme uses carefully positioned radiographs to assess for signs of hip laxity (hip dysplasia) as well as the secondary effects of hip laxity (osteoarthritis). The defined position used whilst obtaining hip scoring xrays is the ventro-dorsal hip extended view. This has been chosen as it optimises the view of the femoral head and neck. Unfortunately it also twists the joint capsule around the femoral neck which in effect draws the femur deeper into the socket. This will reduce the degree of subluxation of the femoral head and lead to a reduction in the hip score. The effect of this is difficult to quantify and is likely to vary between animals due to differing properties of the joint capsule.
    4. Careful positioning can be used to make affected hips appear slightly better.
    5. Scoring dogs young will often result in a lower hip score as the degenerative changes are less advanced. Many breeders will have their breeding dogs scored at 1 year of age to reduce the scores as far as possible. This can lead to bad decisions being made. Perhaps breeding dogs should be rescored through their breeding lives to pick up degenerative changes as they develop.
    6. Often where dogs are xrayed and found to have bad hips, the xrays will not be submitted as this avoids the fee associated with BVA/KC assessment. This practice is widespread but has the effect of causing bias when calculating the breed mean score
    7. The breed mean score is a measure of the average hip score for each given breed. Unfortunately many breeders will regard breeding stock with hip scores below the BMS as having good hips. This is not the case as these dogs may well be carriers of certain genes that will be transmissible. What is needed is for there to be greater selection pressure applied before selecting breeding stock. Using an example of the Labrador with a BMS of 14. Perhaps breeders should be encouraged to only breed from dogs with a cumulative score of less than 4 rather than anything less than 14. This would dramatically reduce the pool of suitable stud dogs but those that are left should have better hips.

    There are better ways of assessing hip conformation to determine if hip laxity is present. These are the PennHip scheme and the dorsal subluxation scores. Both of these methods have been developed in the US but have not found widespread acceptance in the UK. These techniques use stressed radiographic positioning to make an objective assessment of hip laxity with is the main predictor of which hips will develop hip osteoarthritis. Unfortunately until fairly recently PennHip has not been possible in the UK due to our radiation protection regulations and the dorsal subluxation score doesnt seem to have caught on anywhere that I am aware of. There is more information online regarding PennHip at http://research.vet.upenn.edu/Defaul...nn.edu/pennhip

    Another concept that could be usefully employed is the calculation of estimated breeding values. This would likely involve linking information regarding the phenotype of the proposed stud animal with information gleaned from other animals in their blood line. This may allow some of the carriers that are not showing clinical signs of HD to be weeded out of the breeding population.

    Despite these limitations, the BVA and KC have done a sterling job of trying to select appropriate progeny but to be honest, progress has been very slow. Since the canine genome has been mapped, work is being performed to try to identify the genes that contribute to hip dysplasia. As HD is a polygenic trait with complex inheritance patterns, this is incredibly challenging. the hope is that eventually a genetic test will become available to assess the genotype of breeding animals early in the course of their lives. In reality this is likely to be several years away so in the meantime, whilst BVA/KC hip scoring scheme and PennHip may be flawed, they are all we have to work with.

    Just a general comment regarding the hip scores as I frequently meet people who are disappointed and even angry where puppies from a litter where the parents had low hip scores develop clinical disease... the hip scores are only like the odds in a horse race, choosing low hip score parents improves the chance of having offspring with good hips, but it is no more a guarantee than the favourite always winning the Grand National.
    Last edited by srvet; 09-05-2013 at 21:43.

  8. #8
    Thanks very much, that's very informative. You're a credit to your profession.

    I suppose we're stuck with the system we have then, until a proper genotype DNA test can be developed.

    If you were to test annually, would sharp rises in scores (from wear and tear environmental factors, knocks etc.) indicate a higher chance of a genetic predisposition to hip dyplasia? Does a genetic predisposition increase the chances of damage from wear and tear?

    Maybe we should be pushing our breeders to hip score every year or so then. So that a trajectory can be plotted, rather than having data solely based on a pups hips. I'd have thought that it would be useful data over a few generations of dogs.
    Last edited by Shabz; 10-05-2013 at 07:40.
    The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Shabz View Post
    Maybe we should be pushing our breeders to hip score every year or so then. So that a trajectory can be plotted, rather than having data solely based on a pups hips. I'd have thought that it would be useful data over a few generations of dogs.
    You have to balance that against giving a dog yearly anaesthetics.

    I agree the system is not perfect, but at this time it is the best we have and something responsible breeders are doing.

    The moral of the story is if you have the older dog scored and the score is acceptable then that is good, even if that score may be higher that if done at a year old.

    My greatest concern with genetic testing is most pedigree dogs are already in small gene pools. If we found a perfect test for the gene(s) responsible for HD and stopped breeding from those carrier dogs we could be left with very few breeding animals. The danger comes from amplifying their genes - we may have labs with perfect hips, but affected by some other ailment that we are amplifying up, but breeding from a smaller gene pool.

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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Shabz View Post

    Maybe we should be pushing our breeders to hip score every year or so then. So that a trajectory can be plotted, rather than having data solely based on a pups hips. I'd have thought that it would be useful data over a few generations of dogs.
    The BVA site says that Once a certificate of HD scoring has been issued for a dog, the dog may not be resubmitted for scoring under the Scheme

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