This article is from the Canine Medical Information FAQ, by Cindy Tittle Moore with numerous contributions by others.
Any diagnosis of Hip Dysplasia must be made via expert radiographic
diagnosis. This involves taking xrays of the joint and typically
sending the film to organizations that will evaluate, register, and
certify the dog. Veterinarians will often "diagnose" the film
themselves but if the question is critical its best to have them
properly evaluated (unless, of course, your vet is experienced with
radiographic evaluation -- not all are).
You cannot, repeat, cannot make a reliable diagnosis of Hip Dysplasia
on the basis of external symptoms such as lameness or gait.
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is the most well known registry
in the United States. It grades all joints, most commonly hips, as
severe, moderate, fair, good, and excellent. It will certify all
passing grades given to dogs over 2 years of age. Contact:
PennHIP is a new evaluation technique that flexes the limbs
differently to produce the xray pictures. There are only a handful of
vets around the country that have been certified to take xrays using
the PennHip method. See also: