Main banner image Why do vets use a dog hip score

Why do vets use a dog hip score?

Hip scoring is a procedure used to determine the degree of hip dysplasia in dogs and is made up of the total number of points given for different features in the hip joint and is representative of the severity of the condition.
 
Vets use an X-ray to identify abnormal growth in the hip joint.  These images are then reviewed and scored. The hip score can be any number from 0-106 (0 to 53 for each hip) the higher the score, the worse the hips.  Each breed of dog has its own score. 

Breeds vulnerable to a high hip score include: 

  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • German Shepherd Dog
  • Golden Retriever
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Newfoundland
  • Rottweiler

Hip dysplasia is a common problem in dogs where abnormalities occur in the hip joints.  These abnormalities include changes to the shape of the hip, ball and socket and the development of osteoarthritis (a common form of arthritis). Changes to the hip joint will begin at a young age, as the puppy starts to become more active, and will get worse over time.  These changes can lead to excessive wear and tear of the joint, causing one or both hip joints to become defective.  At this stage the hip joints may be painful and can have serious effects on the health, behaviour, and welfare of your dog.

Your vet will use a hip score to identify the severity of Hip dysplasia in your dog. You can find out more about hip dysplasia in dogs by reading our  blog.  If you think your dog might be showing signs of hip dysplasia, talk to your vet today and have your pet diagnosed.