The information on this page has been provided by my vet Mr.Niall Taylor of Orchard Vets at Glastonbury, quoted from an email he sent me copied and pasted for my website to make sure th einformation is correct, l ask him to provide it, he is a professional Vet who genuinely cares about animals, to which l say he would not be my vet otherwise he is caring and kind as all his staff are.
So l thank Niall and his staff for helping me provide acurate medical information for my site.
The BVA hip (and, in some breeds, elbow) score schemes are a way of accurately and objectively measuring various bits of the joint then combining the measurements to give a 'score' of how luxated or otherwise the dog's hips are. 'Luxation' just means a looseness - the socket may be shallow, the 'ball' part a bit square or too far out of the socket; this can lead to arthritis and debility later in life although a dog may appear clinically normal at a young age. Hips are given separate scores for left and right, the overall score is the sum of the two. A low score is good, a high score is bad and different breeds have different average scores published by the kennel club and BVA. If a dog has a high score the advice would be not to breed from that individual as the dysplasia could be passed on to pups genetically although other factors such as nutrition and the amount of early exercise are also thought to play a part in this complicated condition.In practice what is involved is taking a precisely positioned x-ray under sedation or anaesthetic some time after 12 months of age. These x-rays are sent to a central panel of specially trained scrutineers for measuring and scoring. This panel meets only once a month so results can be delayed for up to 6 weeks following the x-rays.The eye score is similar but involves taking the dog to one of a number of registered eye specialists where they will be assesed visually for various genetic eye problems such as cataracts and retinal problems. Again, if lesions are present, the advice would be not to breed from affected individuals.The main limitation with many of the eye schemes is that often the defect isn't visible until a few years of age, by which time a dog or bitch may have produced a litter or two already so, if they are carriers of the gene, it will already be present in the pups. The recently developed gene screening programmes (such as OptiGen) get around the need for physically identifying lesions in the eye by screening for the actual gene that causes the abnormality. That way problems in pups can be identified as young as you like, long before actual problems arise, and be excluded from a breeding programme well in advance. There are other genetic screens available such as the CLAD gene in setters, these things are being developed all the time - ain't science grrrreat!Written by Niall T
Niall T Taylor BVM&S, GPCert(SAM), MRCVS Orchard Veterinary Group Wirrall Park Rd Glastonbury Somerset BA6 9XE