Coxofemoral joint laxity from distraction radiography and its contemporaneous and prospective correlation with laxity, subjective score, and evidence of degenerative joint disease from conventional hip-extended radiography in dogs

Gail K. Smith From the Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 3850 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6010.

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Thomas P. Gregor From the Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 3850 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6010.

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W. Harker Rhodes From the Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 3850 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6010.

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Darryl N. Biery From the Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 3850 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6010.

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Summary

A 3-year prospective study of large-breed dogs (4 months to 3 years of age) was conducted to evaluate the influence of radiographic positioning and age on coxofemoral joint (hip) laxity, subjective hip score, and development of degenerative joint disease (djd). The dogs (n = 142) were breeder- or client-owned and represented 14 breeds. With dogs under heavy sedation, hips were radiographed in the standard hip-extended position and in the new compression/distraction position at 4, 6, 12, 24, and 36 months of age. The standard hip-extended radiographic view was evaluated by 3 methods: subjective evaluation by a board-certified veterinary radiologist (WHR), according to the standard 7-point Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) scoring scheme (OFA/WHR); joint laxity quantitation, using the Norberg angle (NA) method; and subjective scoring by a veterinary orthopedic surgeon for radiographic evidence of djd. The hips in the distraction radiographic view were evaluated for passive hip laxity, as measured by use of a unitless distraction index (di).

Results of the study indicated that at a specific age (4, 6, 12, 24, or 36 months), all methods of hip evaluation correlated with each other at a moderate level (P < 0.05). The strength of contemporaneous correlation tended to increase with age of evaluation. Longitudinally, the between-method correlations were usually significant (P < 0.05), but not at a sufficiently high level to permit reliable between-method prediction. Prospective intraclass (within-method) statistical analysis of the various hip-scoring methods indicated that di was superior to NA and OFA/WHR in comparability of score over time. The intraclass correlation coefficient ranged from 0.55 to 0.91 for di in contrast to 0.40 to 0.78 for NA, and 0.06 to 0.39 for OFA/WHR over the age intervals of the study. For reference, the highest Kappa of 0.39 for the subjective OFA/WHR scoring reflected a maximal level of agreement between time intervals, only slightly better than chance. The associated large error questions the predictive use of the 7-point, subjective hip-scoring scheme, particularly prior to the age of 2 years.

Summary

A 3-year prospective study of large-breed dogs (4 months to 3 years of age) was conducted to evaluate the influence of radiographic positioning and age on coxofemoral joint (hip) laxity, subjective hip score, and development of degenerative joint disease (djd). The dogs (n = 142) were breeder- or client-owned and represented 14 breeds. With dogs under heavy sedation, hips were radiographed in the standard hip-extended position and in the new compression/distraction position at 4, 6, 12, 24, and 36 months of age. The standard hip-extended radiographic view was evaluated by 3 methods: subjective evaluation by a board-certified veterinary radiologist (WHR), according to the standard 7-point Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) scoring scheme (OFA/WHR); joint laxity quantitation, using the Norberg angle (NA) method; and subjective scoring by a veterinary orthopedic surgeon for radiographic evidence of djd. The hips in the distraction radiographic view were evaluated for passive hip laxity, as measured by use of a unitless distraction index (di).

Results of the study indicated that at a specific age (4, 6, 12, 24, or 36 months), all methods of hip evaluation correlated with each other at a moderate level (P < 0.05). The strength of contemporaneous correlation tended to increase with age of evaluation. Longitudinally, the between-method correlations were usually significant (P < 0.05), but not at a sufficiently high level to permit reliable between-method prediction. Prospective intraclass (within-method) statistical analysis of the various hip-scoring methods indicated that di was superior to NA and OFA/WHR in comparability of score over time. The intraclass correlation coefficient ranged from 0.55 to 0.91 for di in contrast to 0.40 to 0.78 for NA, and 0.06 to 0.39 for OFA/WHR over the age intervals of the study. For reference, the highest Kappa of 0.39 for the subjective OFA/WHR scoring reflected a maximal level of agreement between time intervals, only slightly better than chance. The associated large error questions the predictive use of the 7-point, subjective hip-scoring scheme, particularly prior to the age of 2 years.

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