What is Hip Dysplasia?
Hip Dysplasia typically develops because of an abnormally developed hip joint, but can also be caused by cartilage damage from a traumatic fracture. With cartilage damage or a hip joint that isn’t formed properly, over time the existing cartilage will lose its thickness and elasticity. This breakdown of the cartilage will eventually result in pain with any joint movement.
No one can predict when or even if a dysplastic dog will start showing clinical signs of lameness due to pain. Severity of the disease can be affected by environmental factors, such as caloric intake or level of exercise. There are a number of dysplastic dogs with severe arthritis that run, jump, and play as if nothing is wrong and some dogs with barely any arthritic x-ray evidence that are severely lame.
Hip Screening: Grade Classifications
The OFA classifies hips into seven different categories: Excellent, Good, Fair (all within Normal limits), Borderline, and then Mild, Moderate, or Severe (the last three considered Dysplastic).
Excellent: Superior conformation; there is a deep-seated ball (femoral head) which fits tightly into a well-formed socket (acetabulum) with minimal joint space.
Good: Slightly less than superior but a well-formed congruent hip joint is visualized. The ball fits well into the socket and good coverage is present.
Fair: Minor irregularities; the hip joint is wider than a good hip. The ball slips slightly out of the socket. The socket may also appear slightly shallow.
Borderline: Not clear. Usually more incongruency present than what occurs in a fair but there are no arthritic changes present that definitively diagnose the hip joint being dysplastic.
Mild: Significant subluxation present where the ball is partially out of the socket causing an increased joint space. The socket is usually shallow only partially covering the ball.
Moderate: The ball is barely seated into a shallow socket. There are secondary arthritic bone changes usually along the femoral neck and head (remodeling), acetabular rim changes (osteophytes or bone spurs) and various degrees of trabecular bone pattern changes
Severe: Marked evidence that hip dysplasia exists. Ball is partly or completely out of a shallow socket. Significant arthritic bone changes along the femoral neck and head and acetabular rim changes.
The hip grades of excellent, good and fair are within normal limits and are given OFA numbers. This information is accepted by AKC on dogs with permanent identification and is in the public domain. Radiographs of borderline, mild, moderate and severely dysplastic hip grades are reviewed by a team of consultant radiologists and a radiographic report is generated documenting the abnormal radiographic findings. Unless the owner has chosen the open database, dysplastic hip grades are closed to public information.
The Three Faces of Elbow Dysplasia
Elbow dysplasia is a general term used to identify an inherited polygenic disease in the elbow. Three specific etiologies make up this disease and they can occur independently or in conjunction with one another. These etiologies include:
Pathology involving the medial coronoid of the ulna (FCP)
Osteochondritis of the medial humeral condyle in the elbow joint (OCD)
Ununited anconeal process (UAP)
Studies have shown the inherited polygenic traits causing these etiologies are independent of one another. Clinical signs involve lameness which may remain subtle for long periods of time. No one can predict at what age lameness will occur in a dog due to a large number of genetic and environmental factors such as degree of severity of changes, rate of weight gain, amount of exercise, etc.. Subtle changes in gait may be characterized by excessive inward deviation of the paw which raises the outside of the paw so that it receives less weight and distributes more mechanical weight on the outside (lateral) aspect of the elbow joint away from the lesions located on the inside of the joint. Range of motion in the elbow is also decreased.
What Genetic diseases and/or conditions should my breed be screened for?
The purpose of the OFA Companion Animal Eye Registry (CAER) is to provide breeders with information regarding canine eye diseases so that they may make informed breeding decisions in an effort to produce healthier dogs. CAER certifications will be performed by board certified (ACVO) veterinary ophthalmologists. Regardless of whether owners submit their CAER exam forms to the OFA for “certification,” all CAER exam data is collected for aggregate statistical purposes to provide information on trends in eye disease and breed susceptibility. Clinicians and students of ophthalmology as well as interested breed clubs, individual breeders and owners of specific breeds will find this useful.
Cardiac exam by Auscultation
Cardiac auscultation should be performed in a quiet, distraction-free environment. The animal should be standing and restrained, but sedative drugs should be avoided. Panting must be controlled and, if necessary, the dog should be given time to rest and acclimate to the environment. The clinician should able to identify the cardiac valve areas for auscultation. The examiner should gradually move the stethoscope across all valve areas and also should auscultate over the subaortic area, ascending aorta, pulmonary artery, and the left craniodorsal cardiac base. Following examination of the left precordium, the right precordium should be examined.
The mitral valve area is located over and immediately dorsal to the palpable left apical impulse and is identified by palpation with the tips of the fingers. The stethoscope is then placed over the mitral area and the heart sounds identified.
The aortic valve area is dorsal and one or two intercostal spaces cranial to the left apical impulse. The second heart sound will be most intense when the stethoscope is centered over the aortic valve area. Murmurs originating from or radiating to the subaortic area of auscultation are evident immediately caudoventral to the aortic valve area. Murmurs originating from or radiating into the ascending aorta will be evident craniodorsal to the aortic valve and may also project to the right cranial thorax and to the carotid arteries in the neck.
The pulmonic valve area is ventral and one intercostal space cranial to the aortic valve area. Murmurs originating from or radiating into the main pulmonary artery will be evident dorsal to the pulmonic valve over the left hemithorax.
The tricuspid valve area is a relatively large area located on the right hemithorax, opposite and slightly cranial to the mitral valve area.
The clinician should also auscultate along the ventral right precordium (right sternal border) and over the right craniodorsal cardiac border.
Any cardiac murmurs or abnormal sounds should be noted. Murmurs should be designated according to the descriptions below.
What is Patellar Luxation?
The patella, or kneecap, is part of the stifle joint (knee). In patellar luxation, the kneecap luxates, or pops out of place, either in a medial or lateral position.
Bilateral involvement is most common, but unilateral is not uncommon. Animals can be affected by the time they are eight weeks of age. The most notable finding is a knock-knee (genu valgum) stance. The patella is usually reducible, and laxity of the medial collateral ligament may be evident. The medial retinacular tissues of the stifle joint are often thickened, and the foot can be seen to twist laterally as weight is placed on the limb.
Patellar luxations fall into several categories:
Dental Examination and Classification
We at Keepsake have this exam done to make sure our dogs do not have Narrow Based Canine teeth
Each dog is to be examined and classified by a licensed veterinarian. The examining veterinarian will determine whether all adult teeth are fully erupted, identify any persistent (retained) deciduous teeth, as well as any missing teeth.
The exam form contains a dental chart, and any retained or missing teeth should be marked “P” (persistent) or “M” (missing). If the owner authorizes release of any abnormal information, the dental chart identifying the specific missing or persistent deciduous teeth will be included on the dog’s OFA webpage.