SAVA/KUSA Hip & Elbow Dysplasia Scheme

Posted in KUSA Canine Health Schemes

Veterinary guidelines for hip and elbow certification

Hip and elbow certification is used by dog breeders and veterinarians to assess the health of a dog’s hips and elbows. Many dog breeds, especially large breeds, are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, causing malformation of the joints and hip sockets.

To ensure that breeders do not breed with dogs who have problems with their hips and elbows, the SAVA & KUSA HD/ED Program is geared to determine and record the gradings of all breeding dogs according to FCI guidelines. KUSA works with the South African Veterinary Association (SAVA) to grade and record the radiographs taken by veterinarians across the country.

Hip dysplasia examinations and radiographs are done from the age of 12 months (including cats), except for large breeds. Large breeds must only be done from the age of 18 months.

Breeds considered as large breeds are

  • Bullmastiff and other mastiff types
  • Great Dane
  • Newfoundland
  • Pyrenean Mountain Dog
  • Saint Bernard
  • Rottweilers are also considered as a large breed.

Please note that the Boerboel can be radiographed from the age of 12 months.

Elbow dysplasia radiographs can be made at the same time, but these tests can be done from the age of 12 months in all breeds except for the Rottweiler for which the age is 18 months.

Positive Identification

All examined dogs must be identified by means of a microchip (KUSA requirement) or Tattoo.

All HD/ED radiographs must be identified by tattoo or microchip number, dog’s registered name and date of examination by being recorded in the film emulsion or digital image for permanent and accurate identification. Left and/or right markers must be included.

Accuracy of results

Radiographs have to be of a satisfactory quality with the correct exposure and processing. The use of a grid is compulsory (except if using DR digital system) in order to ensure that the image quality is acceptable.

Views/Positioning for Radiography

For hip dysplasia X-rays, flexed and extended views are required.

For the extended view, the whole pelvis and the patellae must be included in the image. Positioning must be optimal with symmetry of the pelvis (equally sized obturator foramina and ilial wings). For large breeds, this usually requires a 30 X 40 cm film.

Also for the extended view, the femurs must be parallel to each other, the angle between the femoral necks and femoral shafts must be 135° and the patellae must be located cranially (dorsally) on the femurs.

For the flexed views, the femoral shafts should form an angle of 45° to the caudal lumbar vertebrae.

To achieve the above, general anaesthesia or deep sedation is required.

For elbow dysplasia radiographs, a maximally flexed ML view, collimated to the elbow, is required. Both elbows can be included on one film. Do not use a grid.

Submitting Radiography Results

Once the radiographs have been taken successfully, the veterinarian forwards these as well as the signed application form with the declaration by the owner and veterinarian as well as a copy of the dog’s registration certificate to the scrutineer of choice with the appropriate fee.

Scrutineers send the results back to the veterinarian who forwards them to the owner. The owner must contact the submitting veterinarian for the results, not the scrutineer.

Copies or amendments to certificates will carry an extra fee.

Digital images can be submitted instead of hard copy films. A CD with DICOM images must be submitted by post and the CD must be clearly labelled providing the details of the patient(s).

The CD must include a manufacturer’s interpretation program to allow the radiologist to measure distance, to magnify and to manipulate contrast and brightness. DICOM images may also be uploaded onto a teleradiology server or similar system.

Please note that for digital submissions JPEG images are not acceptable.

All the requirements that apply for hard copy films must also be met for digital submissions:

  • Submission of declaration form
  • Optimal positioning
  • Positive identification on image:
  1. patient’s registration number
  2. registered name
  3. microchip number
  4. clinic name
  5. date of radiographs

Please note that no images will be accepted by e-mail.

Radiographs that do not meet the abovementioned criteria will be returned to the referring veterinarian with an explanation as to the reason for the images being returned.  An administrative fee will be charged for the returning of radiographs.

Please note that the radiographs remain the property of the practice that made them and have to be kept by that practice for 3 years. Digital images are also kept by the veterinarian for 3 years.

Application Forms

Application forms are available on the KUSA website by clicking here and SAVA websites under the members section or from the scrutineer used by the practice making the radiographs.

List of SAVA/KUSA HD & ED Scrutineers

Click here to view the list of SAVA & KUSA HD & ED Scrutineers

Appeals Process

Should the owner wish to appeal the result the guidelines can be found here.