Hip & Elbow Dysplasia -Patellar Subluxation

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a malformation in the hip joint and is a multi-genetic inherited trait.   Dogs affected by this condition will lead to eventual deterioration of the hip.   Arthritis develops and reduces function and mobility for the dog, and can be very painful.  It is one of the most common health occurrences in dogs, with the large and giant breeds being thought to be the most affected.  However, smaller breeds are not immune when affected, and tend to show less obvious signs.  Hip dysplasia can be found in the Lagotto and therefore, responsible breeders make sure that they get hip radiographs (x-rays) on any dog in their breeding program and only breed dogs with passing scores.  Two different methods are used/acceptable:  OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) and PennHip.  More information can be found on their websites:

Elbow Dysplasia

Another type of degenerative joint disease is elbow dysplasia.  It is an inherited polygenic disease in the formation of the elbow.  While some breeders may choose to have elbow x-rays done at the same time as hips, there have not been significant numbers of elbow dysplasia found in the breed and is therefore not a required test for LRCA member breeders.  According to the OFA database, dated December 2014, 100% of the Lagotto Romagnolo’s tested have been normal.  However, only 67 dogs have been entered into the public database.  Foreign countries are also beginning to track elbow results along with hips and patella and more data should be available as more dogs are entered into these databases.


Subluxation of the Patella (Knee)

The luxating knee is one that “pops out of place” and can follow genetic lines.  According to the data on the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website and the limited number of dogs tested, about 3% have patellar luxation.  It is generally most common in toy, miniature, large and giant breeds.  In the Lagotto, it may or may not be a heredity issue, but one that most Lagotto breed clubs throughout the world are monitoring and encouraging testing for.  For more information on patellar luxation, please see the link to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals website:  http://www.offa.org/pl_overview.html

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