Canine Health Links That Might Interest You              

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a common problem in nearly all breeds of dogs.  It is a joint disease that can be painful and often crippling.  The diagnosis of canine hip dysplasia requires a complete physical and neurological examination.  Radiographs are necessary to confirm the presence of hip dysplasia.   Founded in 1966, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) is a service organization providing certification in hips as well as elbows.  In recent years, the OFA has also expanded into areas such as heart certification, thyroid certification, and patellar luxation certification.

Just how important is positioning in obtaining an accurate evaluation from the OFA?  Strict radiographic technique and positioning guidelines have been published to avoid misleading results.  This study shows just how important it can be to have the hips properly positioned.

An alternative to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals evaluation process for hips is the PennHip system.  Developed by Dr. Gail Smith of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and licensed in 1994, the PennHip system evaluates hip laxity in the canine.  Unlike OFA which requires a dog to be 2 years of age, PennHip evaluations can be done as early as 16 weeks.

Any time there is more than one method for evaluating or diagnosing a disorder, there is inevitably some controversy as to which method is best. Here we see two articles that can best be termed OFA vs. PennHIP. Fred Lanting, canine consultant and author, promotes the PennHIP extraction method and recommends its use over OFA. Drs. Keller and Corley, Diplomates of A.V.C.R. and principal radiologists of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, detail research studies and scientific literature that support their position that PennHIP stress radiography is still an inconclusive method for reliable testing and evaluation for hip dysplasia.

In this ever changing world we live in, any number of bone disorders can come up.  This Guide To Recognizing Bone Diseases may prove beneficial in getting that limp that has suddenly appeared properly diagnosed.  Osteochondritis is a disease of the cartilage that affects the joints in a dog's body.  In a dog with OCD the cartilage is damaged or grows abnormally and does not cushion and protect the underlying bone.  Another bone disease that can affect large and giant breed dogs is Panosteitis which is characterized by bone proliferation and remodeling.  Pano is an orthopedic puzzlement; one that is self-limiting and after it runs its course there are very few long term side effects or need for further treatment.  Both of these diseases potentially have genetic links.  Osteoarthritis (OA) is not a disease in and of itself, but is a degenerative condition caused by other joint problems.

Many breeds of dogs are affected with hereditary eye problems.  The Canine Eye Research Foundation (CERF) has established a means for testing and certifying against several of these.  Learn more about the current research on Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) at this site.

Epilepsy refers repeated seizures over a period of time.  Anything that damages the brain in the right area can cause epilepsy.  Idiopathic means we cannot find the underlying cause of the seizures.  Idiopatic epilepsy is, in a number of breeds, believed to have a genetic link.

Thyroid problems are a fairly common occurance in dogs.  Hypothyroidism is the condition that occurs when not enough thyroid hormone is produced, causing a wide variety of symptoms including trouble with weight gain, hair loss and skin problems.  For an even more enlightening look at hypothyroidism, the University of California - Davis held the International Symposium for Canine Hypothyroidism in 1996.  The co-sponser of this symposium was AKC's Canine Health Foundation.

The Dog Owner's Guide discusses bloat, its causes, and treatment.  Bloat, also called Torsion or Gastric dilatation- volvulus, can be one of the most frightening emergencies you will ever experience with your dog.  While simple to diagnose, the pathological changes in the dog's body make treatment complicated, expensive, and not always successful.  For the most recent findings on bloat research at Purdue, check out their site.

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