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PennHIP Evaluations 

Ensure your dog's hips are healthy

Belltowne Veterinary Center offers PennHIP evaluations for canines.

PennHIP is an assessment for the risk of development of hip dysplasia in dogs. The University of Pennsylvania developed the test as a more objective approach to improve breeding program selection and decrease the prevalence of hip dysplasia.

PennHIP evaluations will generate a number that can be compared objectively between others of the same breed rather than a subjective pass/fail scoring system used in other, similar evaluations. Tighter hip measurements are the best predictor of future dysplasia for young dogs, rather than just the current presence/absence of hip disease at two years old. Some breed club requirements request specific tests, so it is important to review what is currently accepted by your club and its members for testing your breed.  

For PennHIP, dogs as young as 16 weeks old can be assessed and receive a distraction index (DI) measurement representing their risk for dysplasia throughout life. For this reason, many breeders and owners opt for PennHIP to better assess at a young age, when making decisions about which puppy would be a good candidate to retain in a breeding program.


PennHIP testing requires sedation or general anesthesia to allow the dog to be relaxed for proper laxity measurements. The sedation used for routine PennHIP testing at our hospital is reversible, and patients leave immediately following their appointment for x-rays. Three types of x-rays are involved, and submission is performed directly from our hospital. Results usually are returned within one week of your PennHIP appointment.

In addition to applications for breeding dogs, PennHIP scores are utilized by the working and sport dog communities to understand better which dogs can work or perform at their best. Investments in these types of canine occupations can be significant, so dogs with minimal hip dysplasia risk based on PennHIP scores are sometimes selected before training investments are made.

If planning an appointment for PennHIP for your dog, please bring any registration documents (AKC, UKC, etc.) that you would like to associate with your dog’s scores. A microchip is required; If this dog does not yet have a microchip, one can be placed at the time of the appointment. Please do not feed your dog before his or her appointment due to sedation, which is required for this procedure.

For more information, visit the PennHIP website:

Schedule a Consultation Today

Please call us at (360) 277-3800 if you have any questions about PennHIP evaluations, or if you would like to schedule a consultation for your dog.

PennHIP Evaluations 

Belltowne Veterinary Center