PennHIP: The Key Factor - Hip Laxity

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint, with the ball of the femur fitting into the hip socket. Hip laxity refers to the degree of "looseness" of the ball in the hip socket.

Studies have shown that dogs with looser hips (excess hip laxity), are at higher risk to develop hip dysplasia, than dogs with tighter hips (minimal laxity).

The Solution: PennHIP

  • Research-based hip-screening procedure
  • Proven to be the most accurate and precise method to measure hiplaxity
  • Can identify - as early as 16 weeks of age - dogs susceptible to hip dysplasia.

The PennHIP Procedure

  • To be able to assess the dog's hip joint, the muscles need to be completely relaxed by administrating sedation or general anesthesia.
  • Veterinarians must complete specialized training before becoming certified.

PennHIP - Making A Difference

  • For breeders: Able to choose a breeding stock based on the tightness of hips, therefore reducing the incidence/ severity of Canine Hip Dysplasia for future generations.
  • For service & working dog organizations: Able to choose training candidates that are less likely to have Canine Hip Dysplasia so they can do their job for as long as possible
  • For companion dog owners: Early detection of pets at risk for osteoarthritis/Canine Hip Dysplasia, to recommend - at early age-appropriate strategies (diet, supplement, activities) to delay or diminish the course of the disease.

Hip Scoring & Report

Your PennHIP veterinarian will submit radiographs to ANTECH Imaging Services for specialized evaluation. A confidential report will be sent to your PennHIP veterinarian, which will assess:

  • Distraction index (DI): The DI is a measure of hip laxity. A DI closer to zero indicates little joint laxity (very tight hips), and a DI closer to one indicates a high degree of laxity (very loose hips).
  • Arthritis: The PennHIP report also includes an evaluation for evidence of arthritis. For dogs with arthritis, your veterinarian can discuss/recommend palliative care.
  • Breed Laxity Profile Ranking: Based on the DI, your dog is ranked within its breed. For the dog breeder, this ranking helps in the selection of breeding candidates.

By selecting breeding dogs with tight hips, meaningful progress toward better hips can be made for future generations.


Take a look at our PennHIP FAQ page for more information.

Want to learn more?

For a detailed explanation of the procedure/more information, visit the AIS PennHIP website or watch their video here.