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Keywords:

  • agreement;
  • canine;
  • hip dysplasia

Insufficient agreement on scoring hip quality might be caused by differences in the assessability of a radiograph (exposure, contrast, positioning, and diagnostic quality). We studied the agreement in assessability of standard ventrodorsal hip-extended radiographs by experienced (nine) and inexperienced (21) observers, using the standard subjective method of quality control, currently applied in screening programs. The effect of assessability on the agreement of scoring hip quality [dysplastic vs. nondysplastic and the final Federation Cinologique International (FCI) score] was also investigated. There was a significant difference (P<0.0001) in agreement on assessability between the experienced and inexperienced observers. In 68% of evaluations, experienced observers stated that the radiograph was assessable. Inexperienced observers evaluated the radiographs as being assessable in only 46.5% of evaluations. Increased interobserver agreement on assessability of a radiograph did not increase the overall interobserver agreement in the diagnosis of hip dysplasia, nor did it result in consistent scoring of the hip status from that radiograph, despite a significant (P<0.05) increase in agreement of FCI scoring with an increasing agreement on assessability at a one to five ratio in the experienced group. The inconsistent evaluation of radiographic quality, as well as the inconsistent evaluation of the hip quality, caused differences in diagnosing hip dysplasia and FCI scoring in the same dog ranging from excellent hips to moderate hip dysplasia. Therefore, the credibility of the FCI screening method for canine hip dysplasia, using the standard hip-extended radiographic view, as currently applied in most European countries, is questionable.