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  • Author or Editor: Pamela J. McKelvie x
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Objective—To determine effects of hip joint osteoarthritis on radiographic measures of hip joint laxity and congruence.

Design—Longitudinal study.

Animals—40 Labrador Retrievers.

Procedures—Dogs were assigned to 2 groups based on radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis. Dogs in the osteoarthritis group were free of osteoarthritis at initial radiographic evaluation (t1) and developed osteoarthritis by a subsequent radiographic evaluation (t2). Dogs in the nonosteoarthritis group had no radiographic osteoarthritis at either evaluation. Hip joint laxity was quantified by use of the distraction index (DI) from a distraction radiographic view and use of the Norberg angle (NA) from a ventrodorsal hip-extended radiographic view. The compression index (CI) from a compression radiographic view was used as a measure of joint congruence (concentricity).

Results—Hip joint laxity (NA or DI) did not change over time in the nonosteoarthritis group. Mean hip joint laxity (NA and DI) for the osteoarthritis group was greater at t1 than for the nonosteoarthritis group. With the onset of osteoarthritis, mean NA decreased significantly and mean CI increased significantly, but mean DI remained unchanged.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—No radiographic evidence for compensatory hip joint tightening associated with osteoarthritis was detected. Hip-extended radiography revealed that hip joints got looser with osteoarthritis and NA decreased. Hip joint laxity (DI) on distraction radiographs was unchanged by the onset of osteoarthritis and remained constant in the osteoarthritis and nonosteoarthritis groups at both evaluations. However, the CI increased with osteoarthritis, as reflected in nonzero indices (incongruence). The CI may be a valid marker for early hip joint osteoarthritis.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To evaluate hip joint laxity in 10 breeds of dogs via 2 radiographic techniques.

Animals—500 clinically normal dogs.

Design—Prospective study.

Procedure—Radiographs obtained via routine hip joint evaluations performed in sedated dogs of 10 popular breeds were randomly selected from a database. Measurements of distraction index (DI) and hipextended index (HEI) on 1 hip joint radiograph randomly chosen from each dog were made.

Results—Mean age of dogs was 20.7 months. Mean HEI was 0.17 (range, 0.0 to 0.72) and mean DI was 0.44 (range, 0.07 to 0.96). Borzois had uniformly tight hip joints as judged by use of both methods and were considered the gold standard by which hip joint laxity was judged (all Borzois had DI ≤ 0.32). Overall, DI was significantly greater than HEI. Within each breed, mean DI was always greater than mean HEI. Significant differences were detected among breeds for HEI; however, compared with DI, the magnitude of differences among breeds was less.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Distraction radiography detected the greatest range and magnitude of passive hip laxity in the 10 breeds of dogs. The difference in values between breeds known to have high prevalence of canine hip dysplasia and those in Borzois was greater for DI than for HEI. Breeds must be evaluated individually because of inherent differences in hip joint laxity. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004; 224:542–546)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine prevalence of a radiographic caudolateral curvilinear osteophyte (CCO) on the femoral neck in various breeds and age groups of dogs and to evaluate its contemporaneous relationship with degenerative joint disease (DJD) and distraction index (DI).

Design—Cross-sectional prevalence study.

Animals—25,968 dogs, including 3,729 German Shepherd Dogs, 4,545 Golden Retrievers, 6,277 Labrador Retrievers, and 1,191 Rottweilers.

Procedure—Data from the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program database were analyzed, including ventrodorsal hip-extended, compression, and distraction radiographs. The CCO and radiographic signs of DJD were considered independent events and were interpreted as either present or absent. Statistical methods were used to evaluate the CCO as a possible risk factor for DJD and assess its association with DI, as measured by use of distraction radiography.

Results—When all breeds were pooled, DJD was detected in 8.6% of dogs, and the CCO was detected in 21.6% of dogs. Among dogs with a CCO, 25.1% had radiographic evidence of DJD. Among dogs without a CCO, only 4% had DJD. Dogs with a CCO were 7.9 times as likely to have DJD as were those without a CCO. Additionally, DI, weight, and age were significant risk factors for the CCO.

Conclusion and Clinical Relevance—Results confirm the contemporaneous association between the CCO and DJD and that passive hip laxity, as measured by use of the DI, is associated with both the CCO and DJD. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:472–476)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To determine whether age, breed, sex, weight, or distraction index (DI) was associated with the risk that dogs of 4 common breeds (German Shepherd Dog, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Rottweiler) would have radiographic evidence of degenerative joint disease (DJD) associated with hip dysplasia.

Design—Cross-sectional prevalence study.

Animals—15,742 dogs.

Procedure—Hips of dogs were evaluated radiographically by use of the ventrodorsal hip-extended view, the compression view, and the distraction view. The ventrodorsal hip-extended view was examined to determine whether dogs had DJD. For each breed, a multiple logistic regression model incorporating age, sex, weight, and DI was created. For each breed, disease-susceptibility curves were produced, using all dogs, regardless of age, and dogs grouped on the basis of age.

Results—Weight and DI were significant risk factors for DJD in all breeds. For German Shepherd Dogs, the risk of having DJD was 4.95 times the risk for dogs of the other 3 breeds combined. In all breeds, the probability of having DJD increased with age.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results indicated that the probability of having hip DJD increased with hip joint laxity as measured by use of DI. This association was breed-specific, indicating that breedspecific information on disease susceptibility should be incorporated when making breeding decisions and when deciding on possible surgical treatment of hip dysplasia. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;219:1719–1724)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To determine whether results of the Ortolani method of hip joint palpation in dogs were related to distraction index (DI), Norberg angle, or radiographic hip score.


Cross-sectional study.


459 clinically normal dogs.


Dogs were sedated for radiography and palpation of the hip joints. Results of hip joint palpation were classified as negative, mild positive, moderate positive, or severe positive. Distraction indices were measured for all dogs. Norberg angles were measured for 380 dogs for which ventrodorsal hip-extended radiographic projections were available. Hip scores assigned by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) were available for 95 dogs.


Age, weight, and sex were not significantly associated with results of hip joint palpation. There was moderate correlation between results of hip joint palpation and DI (r = 0.636), low-moderate correlation between results of hip joint palpation and OFA hip scores (rs = 0.437), and weak negative correlation (r = -0.236) between results of hip joint palpation and Norberg angle. For joints without degenerative joint disease (DJD), there was a significant linear relationship between results of hip palpation and DI; however, for joints with DJD, there was not. Results of hip joint palpation were 5.3-fold as likely to be negative for dogs with DJD as for dogs without.

Clinical Implications

Results of hip joint palpation were at best moderately correlated with radiographic measures of hip joint laxity. Therefore, hip joint palpation should be combined with hip-extended and stress radiography when assessing hip joint quality. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;214:497–501).

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To determine risk factors for, and prevalence and short- and long-term effects of, synovial fluid cavitation during distraction radiography.


Multicenter prevalence survey.


6,649 purebred dogs comprising 129 breeds.


Radiographs from the PennHIP (University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program) Laboratory were subjectively evaluated for evidence of cavitation. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine whether sex, breed, age, weight, distraction index (DI), or examining veterinarian was associated with cavitation. Short-term effects of cavitation were assessed by comparing DI for the hip with cavitation with DI for the contralateral hip in dogs with unilateral cavitation. Long-term effects of cavitation were assessed by comparing DI before and after cavitation was detected.


Cavitation was detected in 279 (4.2%) of the radiographs analyzed. Male dogs, Golden Retrievers, and heavier dogs were at a decreased risk for cavitation. Irish Wolfhounds, Irish Setters, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Weimaraners had an increased risk for cavitation. Age and DI were not risk factors for cavitation. Mean DI was 0.08 greater in hips with cavitation than in paired hips without cavitation. Significant differences were not detected between DI before and after cavitation, but only 7 dogs were included in this analysis.

Clinical Implications—

Cavitation is rare during distraction radiography and can increase measured DI. Radiographs should be routinely examined to ensure accurate reporting of DI. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997;210: 1294–1297

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To evaluate the effects of diet restriction on development of radiographic evidence of hip joint osteoarthritis in dogs.

Design—Longitudinal cohort study.

Animals—48 Labrador Retrievers from 7 litters.

Procedures—Forty-eight 6-week-old puppies from 7 litters were paired with littermates by sex and weight, and each pairmate was randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups of 24 dogs each. Starting at 8 weeks of age, 1 group was fed ad libitum (control fed) and the other was fed 25% less (restricted fed) of the same diet for life on a pairwise basis. The dogs' hip joints were radiographed in the standard ventrodorsal hip-extended view at multiple intervals prior to 1 year of age and at annual intervals thereafter on the basis of birth anniversary. A board-certified radiologist unaware of group assignment scored the radiographs for evidence of osteoarthritis.

Results—Prevalence of radiographic evidence of hip joint osteoarthritis in all dogs increased linearly throughout the study, from an overall prevalence of 15% at 2 years to 67% by 14 years. Restricted-fed dogs had lower prevalence and later onset of hip joint osteoarthritis. Median age at first identification of radiographic evidence of hip joint osteoarthritis was significantly lower in the control-fed group (6 years), compared with the restricted-fed group (12 years).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Restricted feeding delayed or prevented development of radiographic signs of hip joint osteoarthritis in this cohort of Labrador Retrievers. Lifetime maintenance of 25% diet restriction delayed onset and reduced severity of hip joint osteoarthritis, thus favorably affecting both duration and quality of life. In addition, the data indicated that development of hip joint osteoarthritis was not bimodal in these dogs but occurred as a continuum throughout life.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association