Hip Dysplasia

Unlike Eye Screening, the results of screening for Hip Dysplasia through the BVA/KC Scheme are published in the Kennel Gazette and entered in the Kennel Club records for that dog. Thus Kennel Club Registration Certificates of new pups will show the numerical scores of each parent. A score for each hip is shown and an overall total. The lower the score the better. 0/0 being perfect and unheard of in some breeds 53/53 being the maximum indicating that the dog has a high level of hip dysplasia and gross joint deformities.

However it is very important to distinguish between radiographic hip dysplasia (where the x-ray plates shown noticeable joint changes but the dog shows no sign of the condition) and clinical hip dysplasia (where the dog becomes stiff, lame and in obvious discomfort with arthritis setting in at an early age.) Many dogs with radiographic hip dysplasia will never show any signs of the disease even in old age. Others with genetically better hips will develop the condition. The main factor in the development of clinical hip dysplasia is environment not genetic inheritance (which is generally thought to be about 30-35%) Overweight and over exercise plus poor diet will vastly increase the chances of a dog developing hip dysplasia particularly big heavy breeds with slow bone growth. Lagotto as a breed are not predisposed to hip dysplasia. They are fast growing sturdy but agile puppies with lightish bone for their size. If reared correctly there is little chance of them developing clinical hip dysplasia. In ten years we have not as yet had a reported case of clinical hip dysplasia. On the other hand one of our champions being scored at 43 (ironically one of our best movers) acted as another “wake up call.” As a result of this score the LRCGB now require all members to hip score their Lagotto before breeding from them. The average score is about 14 with scores ranging from 0/0 to 23/20. The Club does not stipulate a maximum recommended score as the hip score is only one aspect of the dog and to discard all dogs with higher than average hip scores might severely diminish the already tiny gene pool of the Lagotto internationally.

Gael Stenton
Chairman Health Sub-Committee

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