NEMDA BCOE Breeders are required to obtain OFA (Orthopedic Foundation of America) evaluations of all breeding stock. Breeders are encouraged to obtain Penn-Hip evaluations as well. Many of our breeders suggest all their off-spring obtain OFA evaluations regardless of breeding status. Results of these evaluations help our breeders understand and monitor the prevalence and incidence of Hip Dysplasia in the Entlebucher breed.
In the past 20 years of evaluations, OFA reports that statistically, 80% of the Entlebuchers evaluated have received passing evaluations from the OFA.
Canine Hip Dysplasia is a birth defect of the hip joint and is the most common heritable orthopedic problem seen in dogs. In a normal hip, the head of the femur (thighbone) fits tightly into the acetabulum (socket) which is part of the pelvis bone. With dysplasia, the head of the femur tends to be flattened and can not form a tight fit in the socket joint. This abnormal fit causes excessive wear and tear on the joint and scraping of the cartilage, resulting in varying degrees of pain and lameness.
Clinically, CHD will present itself in one of two ways:
1) A severe form characterized by marked pain and lameness which typically affects younger dogs, or
2) A chronic form with gradual onset which causes mild, intermittant pain, stiffness and a reluctance to run and jump, and restricted range of motion in the hips as the dog ages.
There is no cure for dysplasia, but treatments are available which can ease the pain and provide a more active and comfortable life for your dog. Such treatments include:
1) medications for stiffness, pain, and joint lubrication
2) weight control
3) acupuncture for the relief of pain
4) surgery, which could include hip joint reconstruction or removal.
The early diagnosis of CHD will enable early treatment which helps minimize discomfort and prevent more rapid degeneration of the joint. It will also aid breeders in identifying a dysplastic dog which had been considered as potential breeding stock. All dogs intended to be used in a breeding program should have a radiological examination of their hips.
Hip evaluations which include palpation and hip manipulation should be done on young dogs of 4 to 6 months to help determine the presence of CHD. If a problem is noted, then radiography, such as the PennHIP method, can be used to confirm the presence of CHD. Early diagnosis increases the number of available treatment options as some surgical procedures can only be performed on pups before arthritic changes develop.
CHD is a heritable degenerative condition resulting in pain and disability. Through the use of orthopedic exams in young dogs, followed by radiographs, when indicated, problems may be detected early enough to be corrected before additional degeneration of the hip joint occurs. The treatment options available for dysplastic dogs depend on the degree of joint damage, the owners expectations for the dog, and the financial means of the owner. Fortunately, there are treatment options available which are effective in alleviating pain and disability for our canine friend.