Objectives: To determine the agreement between observers and to investigate the effect of observer experience in diagnosing canine hip dysplasia and providing final scoring of hips using the standard ventrodorsal hip-extended radiographic method. The agreement of the final scoring, with a presumed correct assessment based on the Norberg angle, is also investigated.
Methods: Thirty observers were requested to read 50 ventrodorsal hip-extended radiographs of 25 dogs according to Federation Cynologique International criteria. Groups of experienced (nine members) and inexperienced (21 members) observers were used.
Results: For providing the distinction between dysplastic versus non-dysplastic dogs, the average interobserver agreement was 72 per cent and was significantly higher (P<0·0001) than the score that could be expected by chance without any agreement between observers. For providing the final score (A, B, C, D or E), an average interobserver agreement of 43·6 per cent was found. In the experienced group, an agreement score of 76 per cent was found for the distinction between AB versus non-AB and an agreement score of 81 per cent was found for the distinction between C versus non-C. The agreement score was significantly higher (P<0·0001) for the experienced group than for the inexperienced group in all cases. Agreement between the presumed correct assessment based on the Norberg angle and the observer‘s evaluation was low (P=0·35), irrespective of whether the observers were experienced (71·8 per cent correct assessments) or inexperienced (69 per cent correct assessments).
Clinical Significance: Although interobserver agreement is low, observer experience increases agreement.