You may have heard of hip dysplasia, but what exactly is it? And how do you know if your dog needs an HD X-ray?
Hip dysplasia (HD) is an inherited developmental disorder in dogs where the hip socket and femoral head are malformed and do not fit together. This developmental defect is rarely painful in itself, but it sets the stage for potentially painful complications. When the femoral head and the hip socket do not fit together, this creates abnormal wear and tear in the hip joint, which in turn leads to unequal pressure loads. Furthermore, this leads to excessive wear and tear of the protective articular cartilage resulting in a chronic inflammatory state of calcification as the body constantly tries to correct the continuous damage to the cartilage. This inflammation and calcification can cause varying degrees of pain.
Which dogs can develop HD?
HD can affect any dog, but it is most common in medium and large breeds. To understand and reduce the prevalence of HD in dogs, there is a large international effort to screen for the disease.
This involves taking X-rays of a large number of dogs when they are over one year old. The images are then sent to a reading panel that reads the images and gives a HD grade based on international criteria.
HD is graded from free (A and B), weak (C), medium (D) to strong (E) degrees of HD. In Norwegian dogs, the degree of HD is then reported to the NKK, which uses it to generate a so-called HD index that is used in breeding work. A dog 's HD degree and index is freely available on NKK 's website.
What do you need to remember before your vet visit?
Correct age of dog
The dog must be over 12 months of age at the time of the HD X-ray. In some larger breeds, they are required to be over 18 months of age. As of 17.02.22 this applies to the following breeds:
- bull mastiff
- Dogue de Bordeaux
- Great Dane
- English Mastiff
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Newfoundland dog
- Pyrenean dog
- Saint Bernard
Find an approved veterinarian
HD X-rays must be taken by a veterinarian who is approved and has an agreement for this through NKK. This approval means that the veterinarian has completed a separate HD and AD course under the auspices of the NKK and the Veterinary Association. All our veterinarians at A-Vet Small Animal Clinic are approved and have an agreement with NKK.
Book an appointment for an HD X-ray
Call or email to set up an appointment for an HD X-ray of your dog. Then you can ask any questions you may have and get a price estimate. You can also book an appointment with A-vet here.
Book a reading with the NKK
Before the X-rays can be taken, you must order a requisition from the NKK. This is done via "My page" on nkk.no. User guide for how to order a requisition can be found here.
In order for the images to be taken properly, the dog will need a short anaesthetic. The vet will therefore always do a quick health check (looking at mucous membranes, listening to the heart, feeling the pulse) before giving the dog a shot of anaesthetic. The dog will then become tired within 5-15 minutes, and when it is tired enough, the vet will take the dog to the back of the clinic. There, a small area on the front leg is shaved and a venous catheter is inserted. Via the venous catheter, the dog is given an anaesthetic directly into the vein. X-rays are then taken and the vet looks at them before they are sent to the NKK for reading. The dog is given an "antidote" to the anaesthetic and usually wakes up quickly afterwards. The venous catheter is removed and a small patch is placed where it has been.
What happens after the veterinary visit?
It is not uncommon for the dog to be a little "groggy" after the anaesthetic. It can be fed as soon as it can walk upright and you can remove the patch. It's good if you take it easy on the day the photos were taken, i.e. no long walks or wild rampages.
When the pictures are received and read at NKK, you will receive an email with the results. The result is published by NKK on DogWeb.
Do you want to book an appointment for an HD X-ray? Call us, send an email or book an appointment using the button below.
Elisabeth is a veterinarian and certified ophthalmologist specialising in eye surgery, with further training in internal medicine, general surgery, oral surgery and ultrasound from the European School for Advanced Veterinary Studies in Toulouse.