Hip joint laxity was evaluated in Golden Retriever (n = 60), Labrador Retriever (n = 23), and Labrador/ Golden Retriever mix (n = 24) puppies. Ortolani and Bardens maneuvers, four radiographic measurement indices and three dynamic ultrasonographic measurements were used. Each puppy was evaluated twice; at 6.5 to 9 and 43 to 79 weeks of age. These nine methods were compared for accuracy in predicting the development of canine hip dysplasia with or without degenerative joint disease by a median age of 16 months.
The Bardens maneuver was a significant predictor of canine hip dysplasia/±degenerative joint disease for Golden Retriever puppies, however, it was not a reliable predictor for the other two breeds. Norberg angle measurements taken with femurs in a neutral position with hips distracted (PennHip position) was a significant predictor of degenerative joint disease in two breeds, but not in Golden Retriever puppies. Ultrasound measurement was a reliable predictor of hip canine hip dysplasia//±degenerative joint disease for Labrador/Golden Retriever mix puppies, but was not reliable for the other two breeds. Palpation, radiographic, and ultrasonographic methods of evaluating hip joint laxity in puppies at 6.5 to 9 weeks of age were not consistently reliable for all three breeds in predicting hip dysplasia with or without degenerative joint disease at one year of age. A strong association was found between Norberg angle and degenerative joint disease occurrence, as well as between distraction index (PennHip) and degenerative joint disease occurrence when measured at 52 to 79 weeks of age, but not when measured at 6.5 to 9 weeks of age in these breeds. These results emphasize the difficulty of early detection of mild hip dysplasia in the dog.