Glory’s Surgical AI December 2017 Part 1

After Glory’s last litter went home in April of 2016 I started planning her next litter. There are many months of research, thinking and decision making that go into a breeding. We decided we would do the breeding when Glory came into season the fall/winter of 2017. Glory has all her health clearances done that are one time tests including radiographs of her hips and elbows, DM, EIC, PRA, Long Coat genetic tests. The only test she needed repeated and repeated each year we breed Glory is her CERF eye exam. In March of 2017 we had that eye test done and she came back with a clear exam. The many months were spent researching a suitable stud dog. I found the stud dog I wanted to use, he had his clearances the only thing I needed to know was if he was fertile. I was going to use a stud dog that was never bred before. He went through testing to check his fertility. Some concerns came up with the semen analysis a few months before the breeding. When Glory came into season the wheels started turning fast. I needed to know that the potential stud dog’s semen was good enough for a breeding so another semen analysis was done at that time it was discovered that he had an infection that might hinder a successful pregnancy so I needed to make some major decisions if I was going to go with this stud dog or quickly find another one. After thinking of all my options we decided to use another stud dog. Finding another stud dog doesn’t just happen like that when we are talking we have a week to pull this off, so we decided to do a repeat breeding with the stud dog we used in 2016, which is Lzy Mtn Piper’s 3-D Brown Bear MH.

We knew this breeding was going to be a surgical insemination so we needed to start progesterone testing on Glory. The seventh day of her heat cycle I took her in for her first progesterone test, she of course was low but we needed a baseline and to start somewhere’s. I took her back three days later and she was moving up, since she was getting closer we needed to repeat the progesterone the following day which proved she had just ovulated. Glory was at day 11 of her heat cycle and the results of the test were 5.76 ng/ml. It has been proven that when a canines progesterone reaches 5 ng/ml they have ovulated, since Glory was at 5.76 we knew she ovulated earlier in the day and when doing a surgical insemination you want to inseminate the semen when the eggs are mature. It can take 2-3 days from ovulation for the eggs to mature so the surgical insemination was set up for Wednesday December, 13th 2017. The procedure was going to be done at Veterinary Village the reproduction clinic that does all my dogs reproduction work.

The day of the surgery Glory’s blood was drawn for a pre-surgical complete blood count, chemistries, coagulation panel and another progesterone. All the blood work was normal and her progesterone was 25 which was spot on for the insemination. Glory had a full physical exam and a ECG done of her heart, those tests were normal as well so it was time to premedicate her and get the ball rolling.

An IV catheter was placed, induction medication was administered to make Glory sleepy so a endo tracheal tube could be placed so she could be put on gas anesthetic for general anesthesia. She was hooked up to IV fluids during the surgery. Dr. Kowaleski was the surgeon while John was the technician monitoring Glory while she was under anesthesia.

John was recording Glory’s vital signs while under anesthesia, he was making sure she was handing the anesthesia well, if there were any changes in her vital signs he would adjust the anesthesia and fluids appropriately.

Meanwhile outside the OR Lindsey was waiting for the cue to go ahead and start unthawing the frozen semen sample they had on hand from Bear.

Once the semen is thawed it is analysed under the microscope to make sure it is viable. No sense implanting semen that is dead. Everything looked great, the semen was alive and active, it had about 75% motility. It’s still amazing to me that you can freeze semen and then wake these little guys back up and have a successful pregnancy.

Dr. Kowaleski was getting the uterus prepared, she was looking at the ovaries and uterus to make sure there were no cysts or other problems that might complicate the surgery. Everything looked great, even know Glory has had 2 previous litters with one being a csection you couldn’t tell anything had happened to her uterus.

She packed everything off and was ready for the insemination.

Drawing up the semen into her syringe to implant it in Glory’s uterus.

Implanting the semen.

John is monitoring Glory through out the whole procedure. There are monitors that will give you the vitals of the patient but it is always a good idea to do your own visual and listen to the heart and lungs with a stethoscope.

Dr. Kowaleski finished implanting the semen into the uterus and is closing the uterus, abdominal wall and sub q layer of her incision.

Surgery is complete.

Time to recover Glory. Her incision site is cleaned, she is taken off the gas anesthetic, fluids and monitors. When she can swallow on her own the endo tracheal tube is removed.

Good morning Glorious one!

Glory recovered nicely, she felt most comfort when she was laying her head on my leg. It comforted me as well.

Here is the outline of events to come for Glory.

Glory the night after the insemination. Surgery went well, she recovered great, she was already hording her toys. She will need 10-14 days to recover from the surgery. She will need to be kept quite and will need to go outside to potty and back in. No playing with the other dogs as we don’t want to disrupt her skin incision. The 4 week wait to find out if the pregnancy took is going to be the longest 4 weeks ever.

~I’m posting Glory’s breeding events after the fact, I announced on Wednesday that Glory is expecting so we know she is pregnant. What you don’t know is the events that happened after the insemination and that we didn’t know if we would have a successful pregnancy. Stay tuned for part 2.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Research Study Cataracts & PRA ~ Samples Needed

Chesapeake Bay Retriever Research Study Cataracts & PRA ~ Samples Needed

Preacher is entered into the study.

From Jane Pappler of the American Chesapeake Club: Research Samples Needed for Triangular Cataracts (also PRA). I spoke recently with Dr Gustavo Aguirre from the University of Penn in Philadelphia. He would be grateful to have owners submit samples from their Chesapeakes for the current study going on for Triangular Cataracts. He is associated with Optigen at Cornell and they are doing updated research now on Goldens, Labs and want to include Chesapeakes. I told him I would publish info for him asking for submissions as soon as possible. He would like to have at least 20 affected dogs and more for the study.

From Optigen’s website:


Special Note To Veterinary Ophthalmologists


Who qualifies? Any purebred dog that has been examined by a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist (ACVO, ECVO) and that has been diagnosed with PRA is eligible for review for possible inclusion in the Free Testing program. Status of “PRA suspicious” or “atypical PRA” does not qualify.

Here’s how it works:

1. You mail, email, or fax a copy of the eye exam report (CERF report or other) plus a copy of a 4-5 generation pedigree for PRE-APPROVAL before sending a blood sample. If possible, provide an email address for a reply.

2. Wait for a response from OptiGen to learn if your dog has a diagnosis that qualifies for free testing.

3. Once you’ve received the PRE-APPROVAL notification from OptiGen, send a blood sample – at least 3 ml of unclotted blood – according to standard instructions (Ship Sample).
Cheek swab samples are not suitable for most research purposes; a blood sample is greatly preferred. Print out and complete all details of the standard Request Test form (ignore any payment questions). Send this order form with the notation “Approved for Research” clearly printed on the first page.  Including a copy of email correspondence noting the prior approval by OptiGen is helpful.

What happens next?

OptiGen will test the sample from your PRA affected dog for the known and/or likely causes of the disease in that breed.  For those samples that represent breeds where no PRA mutations have yet been identified, personal communications on test results will be issued from OptiGen as the research is conducted.  OptiGen frequently relies on the expertise of two veterinary ophthalmologists, Dr. Gustavo Aguirre at the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Gregory Acland at Cornell University. With the assistance of their consultations and academic research efforts, OptiGen strives to help advance the understanding of inherited eye diseases in dogs.


Modeled on our PRA research program, these projects are aimed at identifying the genes and mutations responsible for specific cataracts found in certain breeds.  There are manytypes of cataracts but we are studying only 2 types at this time: 

  • Bilateral, Posterior Subcapsular type that develops between 1.5 yrs and 3 yrs of age in the following breeds: Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers, Bernese Mountain Dogsand English Springer Spaniels
  • Bilateral Posterior Cortical type that develops between 1 yr. and 3 yrs of age in the Siberian Husky, Samoyed and the Alaskan Malamute
  • Bilateral Anterior Cortical Cataracts that develop between 3 yrs and 4 yrs of age in the American Cocker Spaniel.  These cataracts tend to progress with age.  Because of the high variability in cataract type, it is preferred that all dogs involved in this project have been examined by Dr. Gustavo Aguirre.The 3 steps for submitting cataract samples for research are the same as those for submitting PRA research samples (as described above). Here is the link they sent me for the form for the Cataract study. 

Please email Jane Pappler from the American Chesapeake Club later how many dogs you are sending samples for as the Dr. wants her to keep a ruff count of participation. This is very important for our breed towards having a DNA test for cataracts so please help if possible. Thanks. Jane Pappler


If you have been following along with SS you know that Preacher was diagnosed with Cataracts at 8 months of age. This cropped up out of no where’s as all the dogs in her pedigree were CERF’ed clear. When I found out they were looking for research samples from dogs with triangular cataracts I got on the computer and sent an email to Optigen right away along with her CERF exam and pedigree. Preacher got accepted into the study. Since they are looking for samples from the affected dogs parents and if any clear or affected siblings I was able to send them three additional samples. I send in blood from Preachers Mom and blood from two of her siblings that CERF’ed clear. Preachers dad’s owner will be submitting samples as well.

Like Jane said this is very important for the Chesapeakes and hopefully with this research study they can find a link to cataracts and develop a DNA test.


Gambler’s Toe Lump

Wednesday Gambler went to the pond jumped in and came back black of course this was all right before we needed to go to pet therapy. I gave him a bath and noticed a lump that was bleeding on his left rear paw.

Toe lump on left rear paw.

From the looks of it and how it cropped up very suddenly I knew I needed to take him to work with me the next day and have it checked and possibly removed. To me it looked like either a histiocytoma which is a benign tumor or a mast cell which can be a serious tumor.

I get to go to work with mom.

Thursday I loaded up Gambler and off to work we went. When I got to work I did a FNA which is a fine needle aspirate on the lump. When you do this you stick a needle into the lump and extract some cells, you then put the cells on a microscope slide, stain the slide and then look at it under the microscope.

Cells under microscope.

More cells.

These cells turned out to be histiocytoma cells so I was relieved. If the cells were mast cells I would of seen many dark granules through out the whole slide which I didn’t see. Because the lump was bleeding and Gambler took to licking it I decided to have my boss remove the lump because we are leaving for Canada in a week and I didn’t want anything to happen while hunting.

Using Laser to ablate the lump.

A histiocytoma is a benign skin growth that usually goes away by itself if given enough time. The typical histiocytoma patient is a young adult dog, usually less than 2 years of age, with a round eroded growth somewhere on the front half of its body. Of course, not every patient seems to have read the text book. Such growths can be found on rear legs or in older patients as well. Because there are other growths that can look just like a histiocytoma, it is important to get the right diagnosis as the other conditions may not be as benign.

The histiocytoma is a tumor originating from what is called a Langerhans cell. This Langerhans cells live in the skin and serve as part of the immune system by processing incoming antigens and presenting them to other immunologic cells. It is especially common in Labrador retrievers, Staffordshire terriers, Boxers, and Dachshunds. It is not related to the malignant process called histiocytosis. Veterinary Partner

More ablating to get the whole lump off.

We have a laser surgery unit at Harmony Pet Clinic, it was what my boss uses for each surgery instead of a scalpel blade. It cuts and cauterizes at the same time so there is less bleeding. For this procedure she did a local block around the lump then ablated the lump and got the underlying tissue. No sutures were necessary as the ablation didn’t go that deep. A scab will form, it will heal up and he will be no worse for wear.

Lump removed, now the healing process begins.

Since the lump has been removed he doesn’t even lick his paw. He shouldn’t be affected at all for hunting and should be able to perform just like he always does.


Gambler’s Blood Donor Career Is Short Lived

Back in the beginning of August I took Gambler to WVRC to be screen for becoming a canine blood donor, if you missed that post you can read it here. He was examined, blood was drawn for different tests, a urinalysis was done and his blood was sent to a laboratory so his blood could be typed. The blood typing usually takes about three weeks.

The first step in becoming a Canine Blood Donor.

Last night Dr. Johnson from WVRC called me to give me the bad news, Gambler can not be a blood donor. His blood typing came back and he has one of the types of blood that can’t be used for donation. There are test kits that the emergency clinic uses to test the patients blood to find out what blood the patient is who needs the blood right at that moment. Then then can make a decision what blood type they can give the patient. In Gambler’s case they can not test for his type of blood when the patient is needing blood right at that moment as they don’t have a test kit for that type so they do not keep his blood type on hand. In order to find out if a patient has his type of blood they would need to send their blood out to an outside laboratory and the results would take too long to come back. Time is of the essence when a patient needs blood.

As for what does this mean for Gambler if he would ever need a blood transfusion? This means that he would be ok as they would just give him the type of canine blood that is considered the universal donor blood.

To say that I am disappointed is a understatement. I’ve been thinking of him becoming a blood donor ever since our first visit. I wanted to do something special with him and when the voicemail came though my heart just sake and I cried. I really didn’t think their would be a problem and he wouldn’t be able to donate. This guy has been able to do anything I ask of him until now. Even know he won’t be a canine blood donor hero he will still be my hero and in the eyes of the children he helps out at our therapy sessions.

Having a canine blood donor is still something I would like to do with one of my pets so I’m going to talk to the doctor about the possibility of testing Glory and seeing if she can become a donor. Since they are related I don’t know what the percentage would be that she couldn’t donate either.

I now understand why they have a donor program and are always looking for canine donors as with the different blood types they must say no to more canines than we would think. So how about you seeing if your pal can become a blood donor.


The Results Are In

On July 24, 2017 I took Riggs to Harmony Pet Clinic where I work and had his OFA Hips and Elbows radiographed, I also had a PennHip evaluation done. If you missed the blog post you can read about it here. I sent in the radiographs to OFA and PennHip on Monday afternoon on the 24th. On July 27th I received the PennHip report. Once they get the submission form and the radiographs their turn around time is within 72 hours. OFA results were back 17 days later.

Here is Riggs PennHip report:

This test showed that Riggs left hip was a little lax than his right. He still scored in the 90% for the Chesapeakes, he was also a smige above average. The doctor who did the PennHip evaluation said from what she saw on the radiographs that were taken for submission she thought Riggs would get a good rating with OFA.

And the results of OFA:

OFA said that Riggs has Normal Elbows – no signs of dysplasia.

OFA said that Riggs has Good hips, so Dr. O’Brien was spot on.

I am happy with these results. Riggs OFA hip and elbows results can be accessed on the OFA website in their database, you can view them by clicking here. Soon his PennHip results will be available online.

Paw Print Genetics ~ Riggs DNA Tests

Paw Print Genetics Logo

My experience with Paw Print Genetics. When you breed and you know the genetic clearances of the parents used for the breeding which are clear you know that the puppies will also be clear for those genetic tests. The genetic tests that you can do this with are DM (Degenerative Myelopathy), EIC (Exercise Induce Collapse), PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy), Longcoat and Ectodermal Dysplasia. You can then say that the puppy from two clear dogs being bred together will turn out CBP (Clear By Parentage). You can get away with this so to speak with one generation but after that you should test the puppies to make sure things haven’t changed or by some odd reason the test was inaccurate. I knew that Riggs would be CBP for PRA, I also had his DM test done when he was a puppy but didn’t have the clearances for the other tests done on one or both parents so I decided to use Paw Print Genetics to have the genetic tests done on him.

On July 12, I went onto Paw Print Genetics website, registered as a new owner, picked out the genetic tests I wanted to run on Riggs, checked out and waited for the test kit to come in the mail. Paw Print Genetics offers sales on their tests so when the 50% off sale came around I took advantage of it. I ordered 4 tests that would of cost me normally $250.00 for $125.00. A week later I received my test kit.

The test kit came with instructions, submission form, pen and paper for me.

The submission form that had all my information on it that I needed to sign.

The instructions.

Helpful tips.

The time has come to collect the samples from Riggs.

Collect samples??? Is this going to hurt???

Riggs is not dead, he is just playing dead.

Riggs really isn’t playing dead, he must of thought this was going to be painful so he laid down when I was collecting the samples. There were three swabs that I needed to insert into his mouth against his cheek cavity and twirl around for 30 seconds.

Put sample swabs into the hazard bag.

After the sample was collected you put it back into the package to dry then into the hazard bag that came with the kit.

Put hazard bag into the pre paid mailer.

Once you put the swabs into the hazard bag you can then put it into the pre paid mailer.

Off it goes into the mail box.

I sent the samples off on July 21, 2017, I then got a email that Paw Print Genetics received the samples on July 24th.

You can go on their site and track your order.

You can go onto Paw Print Genetics website to track your order and to view your results. I got a email on August 4, 2017 that my order was complete and gave me a link to view Riggs results.

My account to check on the tests being run.

Riggs result page.

The report page.

On your account you can add a breeder profile so people can look your breed up and see your results.

Create a breeder profile.

You can add a description on your kennel and add a profile picture.

Sand Spring Chesapeakes breeder profile.

You can also add a my pedigree on your dog.

Adding information on Riggs and a photo of him.

Riggs pedigree of tests.

The test results when printed off.

About Paw Print Genetics: ~website~

Highest Industry Standards and Accuracy

Our laboratory is staffed with expertly trained geneticists, veterinarians, and technicians. We are equipped with the latest testing technology and analyze each mutation with two independent methods to provide you the highest accuracy in the industry.

  • All mutations offered are based on the published, medical literature
  • Board-certified geneticist by the American Board of Medical Genetics on staff
  • Each mutation is tested twice, with two independent methods
  • All results are reviewed and reported by both a PhD geneticist and a veterinarian
  • Majority of test results accepted by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
  • Diagnostic-grade DNA extracted from a variety of accepted sample types

Paw Print Genetics is an approved genetic laboratory with OFA (Orthopedic Foundation For Animals) so the tests results can be entered into OFA’s genetic database for a fee, then anyone can look up your dogs clearances and see them as well as the parents and siblings information if submitted.

I was very please with my experience with Paw Print Genetics, I will definitely be using them in the future.

~I was not asked to share my experience with Paw Print Genetics, I was happy with my experience so wanted to share with others, I was not compensated on sharing my experience~


Canine Blood Donor – Be A Canine Hero

The first step in becoming a Canine Blood Donor.

One day I was browsing the WVRC (Wisconsin Veterinary Referral Center) website and came across their blood donor program. I read about the program and thought to myself Gambler is my hero he can do this and be someone else’s hero. Since he has his AKC Master Hunter and UKC Hunting Retriever Champion titles I thought he needed another job to do and what a wonderful job this would be. From doing therapy work with him I thought he would be perfect for blood draws since the kids dress him up and he just sits there. I know he is in good health and shape so I filled out the blood donor program application, awaited a phone call and this past Thursday the ball got rolling to see if Gambler could be a canine blood donor.

Let the testing begin.

During our first appointment, Gambler was weighed, a nice technician Kaylee took his TPR (Temperature, pulse and respiration), during this time he was standing still and giving her kisses when she wasn’t listening to his heart and lungs.

Getting his vitals checked.

Once that was done Dr. Johnson the head of the blood donor program came in and introduced himself to us, he then did a complete physical exam on Gambler. Next we laid him down on his side and extended his head and neck to check out his jugular vein (this is where the blood collection will be taken), he then held his head in that position for a little bit to see how Gambler would react. The blood donation take about 7 minutes to collect 1 canine unit which is 450ml. Gambler did excellent at laying still. Dr. Johnson commented on how calm he was as most of the Chessies that come into the clinic are pretty hyper.

Dr. Johnson promised I would get a cookie after blood donating.

Once Dr. Johnson was done checking out Gamblers jugular vein he then collected blood for the pre- screening tests. 4 tubes of blood were collected while Gambler laid still the whole time. After the blood draw I walked Gambler outside to collect a urine sample as a urinalysis is part of the pre-screening tests. The blood and urine will be sent out to an outside laboratory to have all the testing done. Some tests will come back in a couple days and the blood typing will take a bit longer, we should have results in 3-4 weeks.

Collecting blood for blood typing and testing.

Hopefully Gambler will come back with normal test results and with the blood typing of a universal donor so he can enter the program.

From the WVRC website:

Blood Donor Requirements – Canine

To be considered for admission into the blood donor program at the Wisconsin
Veterinary Referral Center (WVRC), you must agree to the following:
– Allow your dog to donate blood 6 to 12 times per year (once every 1 to 2
– Remain in the program for at least 2 years.
– Be available for emergency donations.
– Allow pictures of your dog in various advertisements and on the WVRC website.

Your dog will need to have certain physical characteristics and meet certain
requirements to be considered for the blood donor program. Requirements of a
canine blood donor:
– Good disposition and tolerate venipuncture and restraint.
– Weigh at least 50 pounds (22 kilograms).
– Male or spayed nulliparous (never pregnant) female.
– No previous blood transfusions.
– Should be 1 to 8 years of age.
– Current on vaccinations for rabies, distemper, adenovirus 2, parvovirus,
parainfluenza and leptospirosis.
– On heartworm preventive.
– Should not be taking any medications that could pose a problem for a recipient.
– Have a normal physical exam on initial evaluation by one of the veterinarians at
the WVRC.
If your dog meets the above criteria, various laboratory tests will be performed to
ensure his/her health status and the safety of the blood donor pool. These tests will
be done at no cost to you. Some of these tests will be repeated yearly while a
member of the donor program. Laboratory evaluation:
– Universal donor (negative for the blood groups DEA 1.1, 1.2 and 7).
– Normal complete blood count, biochemical profile and urinalysis.
– Negative result for the following infectious diseases: Brucellosis, Babesia,
Heartworm Disease, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasma, and (Trypanosomiasis and
Leishmania based on breed and travel history).

If abnormalities are found on examination or on laboratory tests, recommendations
may be made for further evaluation, diagnostics and/or treatment. Any and all
associated costs will be your responsibility and should be done with your primary
care veterinarian or with the Emergency Service of the WVRC.

If your dog is approved and admitted to the blood donor program we will arrange for
him/her to begin donations. We will try to establish a schedule, but alternate days
and times may sometimes be needed. We will confirm your donation day and time 3
to 4 days before via a telephone call and e-mail. If there are problems with the
timing or with your dog’s health please let us know then.

What happens on a donation day?
– Please be on time.
– A complete physical exam will be done to make sure there are no problems that
would prevent donation that day.
– If there are problems then we will arrange for donation on a different day.
– You will sign an authorization and consent for blood donation form.
– You may leave your dog if needed based on your schedule, or you may wait in
the lobby. Donations take 1 to 2 hours.
– A small amount of blood will be obtained for a PCV and total protein.
– A small area of fur will be shaved from the neck and the skin prepped as if for a
– Blood will be obtained from the jugular vein using a sterile needle and collection
– About 450 ml of blood will be collected.
– A bandage will be applied after the donation to allow proper clotting to occur.
– Water will be offered after the collection to replace volume.

If abnormalities are found the donation will be cancelled and rescheduled if possible.
Recommendations may be made for further evaluation, diagnostics and/or treatment.
Any and all associated costs will be your responsibility and should be done with your
primary care veterinarian or with the Emergency Service of the WVRC.

Resources: AKC Canine Health Foundation – for more information on Canine Blood Donation

Not The Donation Gambler Things It Is

Are they going to take more of my kids?

It’s funny what dogs remember, in this case Gambler has a great memory as he must of liked his visits to Veterinary Village last year for his semen collection and freezing. This isn’t VV but it is another clinic and Gambler only had one thing on his mind. We went last Thursday to WVRC to do our pre screening tests for becoming a blood donor. Gambler sat by the door in the exam room and started lifting his butt up and down against the door. I’ve figured out that this is him being a obvious masturbater. He has no shame at all and I don’t for putting it out there for everyone to see!!

After all it is Hump Day!

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Sand Spring Lethal Weapon AKA Riggs turned 2 years old on 7/11/17. Now that he is 2 years old he can have his hips evaluated with OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals). OFA requires you to wait to submit films for hips and elbows until after the dog turns 2 years of age. Since I was going to submit Riggs radiographs to OFA I decided to do something new in certification for the Sand Spring dogs. I decided with Riggs I would also do a PennHIP procedure which is a procedure to test laxity in the joint. The orthopedic surgeon (Orchard Road Veterinary Surgery)  that comes to our clinic (Harmony Pet Clinic) to do our procedures is certified in doing PennHIP so I had her do the procedure on Riggs. You can read about PennHIP below and see the radiographs we took of Riggs. Once I have both results I will let you know.

Welcome Riggs to HPC

Riggs was a good boy at the clinic. He did need to be sedated to do the PennHIP procedure so he was really well behaved for that.

Let’s get this show on the road.

OFA Hips:


General Overview

Radiographs submitted to the OFA should follow the American Veterinary Medical Association recommendations for positioning. This view is accepted world wide for detection and assessment of hip joint irregularities and secondary arthritic hip joint changes. To obtain this view, the animal must be placed on its back in dorsal recumbency with the rear limbs extended and parallel to each other. The knees (stifles) are rotated internally and the pelvis is symmetric. Chemical restraint (anesthesia) to the point of relaxation is recommended. For elbows, the animal is placed on its side and the respective elbow is placed in an extreme flexed position.

The radiograph film must be permanently identified with the animal’s registration number or name, date the radiograph was taken, and the veterinarian’s name or hospital name. If this required information is illegible or missing, the OFA cannot accept the film for registration purposes. The owner should complete and sign the OFA application. It is important to record on the OFA application the animal’s tattoo or microchip number in order for the OFA to submit results to the AKC. Sire and dam information should also be present.

OFA and Penn Hip positing of hips

Radiograph of hips

OFA Elbows:


The Three Faces of Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is a general term used to identify an inherited polygenic disease in the elbow of dogs. Three specific etiologies make up this disease and they can occur independently or in conjunction with one another. These etiologies include:

  1. Pathology involving the medial coronoid of the ulna (FCP)
  2. Osteochondritis of the medial humeral condyle in the elbow joint (OCD)
  3. Ununited anconeal process (UAP)

Studies have shown the inherited polygenic traits causing these etiologies are independent of one another. Clinical signs involve lameness which may remain subtle for long periods of time. No one can predict at what age lameness will occur in a dog due to a large number of genetic and environmental factors such as degree of severity of changes, rate of weight gain, amount of exercise, etc. Subtle changes in gait may be characterized by excessive inward deviation of the paw which raises the outside of the paw so that it receives less weight and distributes more mechanical weight on the outside (lateral) aspect of the elbow joint away from the lesions located on the inside of the joint. Range of motion in the elbow is also

Elbow positing

Radiograph of left elbow

Radiograph of right elbow


The AIS PennHIP method has strong scientific foundation as the most effective hip screening tool available for dogs.

AIS PennHIP testing is accurate in puppies as young as 16 weeks of age. It gives an estimate of the risk for painful osteoarthritis (OA) of canine hip dysplasia (CHD) later in life. With this information, preventive and palliative strategies can be recommended by the PennHIP-trained veterinarian.

All dogs can benefit from PennHIP testing. For pet dogs found to be at risk, early intervention can help prevent or lessen the severity of CHD. For working/service dogs, identifying a dog with healthy hips can extend the working life of the dog. For breeding dogs, early detection of at-risk hips can allow the breeder to make early, informed decisions as to which dogs to keep in breeding programs. PennHIP

OFA and PennHIP positing

PennHIP is a multifaceted radiographic screening method for hip evaluation. The technique assesses the quality of the canine hip and quantitatively measures canine hip joint laxity. The PennHIP method of evaluation is more accurate than the current standard in its ability to predict the onset of osteoarthritis (OA). Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD), is the hallmark of hip dysplasia (HD). PennHIP

Compression Radiograph

The PennHIP method is a novel way to assess, measure and interpret hip joint laxity. It consists of three separate radiographs: the distraction view, the compression view and the hip-extended view. The distraction view and compression view are used to obtain accurate and precise measurements of joint laxity and congruity. The hip-extended view is used to obtain supplementary information regarding the existence of osteoarthritis (OA)  of the hip joint. (The hip-extended view is the conventional radiographic view used to evaluate the integrity of the canine hip joint.) The PennHIP technique is more accurate than the current standard, and it has been shown to be a better predictor for the onset of OA. PennHIP

Checking positing for distraction  view

The PennHIP method is a novel way to assess, measure and interpret hip joint laxity. It consists of three separate radiographs: the distraction view, the compression view and the hip-extended view. The distraction view and compression view are used to obtain accurate and precise measurements of joint laxity and congruity. The hip-extended view is used to obtain supplementary information regarding the existence of osteoarthritis (OA)  of the hip joint. (The hip-extended view is the conventional radiographic view used to evaluate the integrity of the canine hip joint.) The PennHIP technique is more accurate than the current standard, and it has been shown to be a better predictor for the onset of OA. PennHIP

Distraction positing

Fast Facts – Behind the PennHIP Research

Distraction radiograph

How Does This Benefit Me as an Owner or Breeder of Dogs?


Researchers have been able to demonstrate that the PennHIP method surpasses other diagnostic methods in its ability to accurately predict susceptibility to developing DJD. This finding has been corroborated recently by an independent laboratory. The PennHIP method can be performed on dogs as young as sixteen weeks of age compared with two years using the standard technique. The ability to receive an early estimate of a dog’s hip integrity is important whether the dog’s intended purpose will be for breeding, for working or as a family pet. The data amassed and analyzed by PennHIP will allow breeders to confidently identify the members of their breeding stock with the tightest hips. The PennHIP evaluation will also permit breeders to assess the progress they are making with their breeding program as they strive to reduce the amount of hip laxity in their dogs. Pet owners are able to assess their pet’s risk of developing DJD. This enables them to make lifestyle adjustments for their dogs and, if necessary, to enhance the quality of their pet’s life.

I must say I haven’t ever done a PennHIP on my dogs because from the way it sounded to get the radiographs needed you really had to “crank” on the hips and try to “pop” them out of their sockets. I couldn’t of been more wrong on that and the procedure was not what I thought and was not any worse than doing an OFA radiograph. On the compression view I had to press the two bottles together while the doctor rotated the hips. On the Distraction view I needed to put steady pressure on the distraction bar while the doctor rotated the hips. It was quite interesting and hopefully all will be good in the end and we will get some good results.
Once PennHIP receives the radiographs they will get a report back to you within 72 hours, with OFA it could take 3 or more weeks to get results. PennHIP can also be done as early as 16 weeks so you can know about future breeding stock way earlier.
Cost: PennHIP does cost more than OFA. With OFA you need one pelvis radiograph, +/- sedation, +/- hospitalization charge and the cost of sending the films to OFA is less at $35.00. At my clinic the cost of OFA with sedation and hospitalization would be around $165 plus the $35.00 to OFA. The PennHIP you need to take 2 more views of radiographs so a total of 3 radiographs, you do need sedation, =/- hospitalization and the fee to submitting the films to PennHIP is $91.50. The cost of PennHIP at my clinic was $200 plus the $91.50 to PennHIP. I did the both on the same day so there was only one sedation and hospitalization charge. It cost a bit more to have the PennHIP hip procedure done but I think it is well worth for the piece of mind that the laxity in the hips will be what it is now and in the future. As my doctor explained to me this is a more accurate way of testing for hip dysplasia as they are mimicking as best as they can the laxity of the joint with the weight of the dog on the joints.