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Canine hip dysplasia: phenotypic scoring and the role of estimated breeding value analysis

Authors: Worth AJ, Soo M
Publication: New Zealand Veterinary Journal, Volume 63, Issue 2, pp 69-78, Mar 2015
Publisher: Taylor and Francis


Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a developmental orthopaedic disease of the coxofemoral joints with a multifactorial mode of inheritance. Multiple gene effects are influenced by environmental factors; therefore, it is unlikely that a simple genetic screening test with which to identify susceptible individuals will be developed in the near future. In the absence of feasible methods for objectively quantifying clinical CHD, radiographic techniques have been developed and widely used to identify dogs for breeding which are less affected by the disease. A hip-extended ventrodorsal view of the pelvis has been traditionally used to identify dogs with subluxation and/or osteoarthritis of the coxofemoral joints. More recently, there has been emphasis on the role of coxofemoral joint laxity as a determinant of CHD and methods have been developed to measure passive hip laxity. Though well-established worldwide, the effectiveness of traditional phenotypic scoring schemes in reducing the prevalence of CHD has been variable. The most successful implementation of traditional CHD scoring has occurred in countries or breeding colonies with mandatory scoring and open registries with access to pedigree records. Several commentators have recommended that for quantitative traits like CHD, selection of breeding stock should be based on estimated breeding values (EBV) rather than individual hip score/grade. The EBV is a reflection of the genetic superiority of an animal compared to its counterparts and is calculated from the phenotype of an individual and its relatives and their pedigree relationship. Selecting breeding stock on the basis of a dog's genetic merit, ideally based on a highly predictive phenotype, will confer the breeder with greater selection power, accelerate genetic improvement towards better hip conformation and thus more likely decrease the prevalence of CHD.

KEY WORDS: Canine hip dysplasia, phenotypic scoring, estimated breeding values, genetic improvement, hip scores, hip laxity
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