Veterinary guidelines for hip and elbow certification
The SAVA together with KUSA runs a national hip/elbow dysplasia certifying scheme according to guidelines set up by the FCI and the International Elbow Working Group.
The grading of a dogs hips and elbows according to international standards gives breeders an idea of the hip and elbow status of their dogs which should be considered when breeding these animals. Several dog breeds have specific minimum grading requirements before the dog or bitch may be bred.
The radiographs taken by your veterinarian are sent to a veterinary radiologist, one of a group, appointed by the SAVA. These are veterinarians who are recognised as specialist radiologists by the SA Veterinary Council and some of them are also recognised as specialists by the European Association of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging. These radiologists give an opinion as individuals but an appeal process is in place for those owners who wish to do so. KUSA will only accept HD & ED certificates from the members of the panel. The panel of radiologists appoints a chief scrutineer who acts as the liaison person between the radiologists, the SAVA and KUSA.
The criteria for making and submitting radiographs are very strict and are in accordance with the guidelines laid down by the international bodies.
Hip dysplasia examinations and radiographs are done from the age of 12 months except for large breeds. Large breeds must only be radiographed from the age of 18 months.
Breeds considered as large breeds are
- Bullmastiff and other mastiff types
- Great Dane
- Pyrenean Mountain Dog
- Saint Bernard
- Rottweilers are also considered as a large breed.
Elbow dysplasia radiographs can be done at the same time as Hip dysplasia radiographs, from the age of 12 months in all breeds except for the Rottweiler which should only be done from the age of 18 months.
All examined dogs must be identified by means of a microchip.
All HD/ED radiographs must include the following in the metadata of digital images as permanent and accurate identification: microchip number, dog’s registered name, date of examination and name of Veterinary Clinic. Left and/or right markers must be included in the collimated area of the image.
Accuracy of results
Radiographs have to be of a satisfactory quality with the correct exposure and processing.
Views/Positioning for Radiography
For hip dysplasia X-rays, standard 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, the following 2 views of the elbow, collimated to the elbow is required: - 100-120º ML-Extended view and Pronated CrCd view. The two views can be placed on one image/ cassette.
Digital image submission:
Once the radiographs have been taken, the veterinarian forwards them together with the application form including the signed declaration of the owner and veterinarian and copy of the dog’s registration certificate, to the scrutineer of choice with the applicable fee.
A CD with DICOM images can be submitted by post or courier. The CD must be clearly labelled providing the details of the patient. DICOM images may also be uploaded onto a Teleradiology server or using a large file transfer system. Please note that for digital submissions JPEG images are not acceptable. All requirements that apply to hard copy films, apply to digital submissions. No images will be accepted by e-mail.
Scrutineers send the results back to the veterinarian who in turn will inform the owner. The owner must contact the submitting veterinarian for the results, not the scrutineer. Requests for copies or amendments to certificates will carry an extra fee.
Radiographs that do not meet 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.
List of SAVA/KUSA HD & ED Scrutineers
Click here to view the list of SAVA & KUSA HD & ED Scrutineers
The owner has the right to appeal the result of a HD or ED grade given by a scrutineer. A second opinion may only be attained if specific conditions are met. Click here to download the appeals procedure guidelines.