Pet owner’s information

Pet owner’s information

The veterinary radiologist can play an active role in the management of your pet’s health including certifying them for hip and elbow dysplasia and evaluating images of your sick pet where your veterinarian does not feel confident to make a diagnosis, or if the imaging changes are unusual. The veterinary radiologist can assist your veterinarian to make the appropriate diagnostic imaging choices to make a diagnosis as well as ensuring the correct interpretation of the images, particularly in more advanced imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT).

In the veterinary field, interpretation of x-ray, ultrasound and other modality images can be done by a number of people including your private veterinarian, technologists and human radiologists. These people have varying degrees of expertise in performing complete studies and the interpretation thereof in the veterinary field. The specialist veterinary radiologist, after considering your patient’s history and clinical presentation, can ensure the maximum benefit is gained from any imaging procedure performed. Note that your radiographs or other images must be submitted via your veterinarian, who is also responsible for your account. You thus pay the radiologist’s fee to your veterinarian.

Hip & Elbow Dysplasia

Hip and elbow dysplasia are developmental, multifactorial, genetically influenced conditions that are characterized by ill-fitting or loosely-fitting joints with resultant secondary degenerative joint disease (arthrosis). The word dysplasia is derived from the Greek “dys” meaning abnormal and “plassein” meaning to form. As hip and elbow dysplasia are developmental diseases, they only manifest radiologically after a few months and are thus not present at birth. There is no doubt about the fact that the tendency to develop hip or elbow dysplasia is inherited but environmental factors like excessive protein intake and excessive strenuous exercise at a very young age play a role in the degree of dysplasia that is eventually manifested.

The end result of hip and elbow dysplasia are varying degrees of lameness which may present from about 6 months of age or older and some dogs only show clinical signs in later life. You can decrease the chances of buying a pup that will develop hip or elbow dysplasia, by ensuring that the dam and sire have been screened for hip and elbow dysplasia by means of radiographic (x-ray) screening and have acceptable results. Dogs older that 12 months (18 months for some larger breeds) can be certified by a veterinary radiologist as to the degree of hip dysplasia (graded A-E) and elbow dysplasia (graded 0-3) that is present. These gradings are done according to the FCI and International Elbow Working Group guidelines. Your veterinarian can take the radiographs and submit them to us for grading. You will then receive an international grading certificate. It is important to realise that a clear certificate only implies that the dog is phenotypically normal and that he or she could still have a positive genotype (i.e. be a carrier).

Xray Normal hips

Normal hips

Xray Moderate hip dysplasia

Moderate hip dysplasia

Xray Severe hip dysplasia

Severe hip dysplasia

Articles of interest to pet owners

General hip and elbow information:

Certification schemes:

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