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Prev Vet Med. 2012 Feb 1;103(2-3):219-27. doi: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2011.09.018. Epub 2011 Oct 6.

Risk factors for hip-related clinical signs in a prospective cohort study of four large dog breeds in Norway.

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Department of Companion Animal Clinical Sciences, Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, Oslo, Norway.


We conducted a prospective cohort study including privately owned dogs from the breeds Newfondland (NF), Labrador Retriever (LR), Leonberger (LEO), and Irish Wolfhound (IW) followed from birth until age 9 yrs. We wanted to investigate whether radiological hip dysplasia status given at approximately age 12-18 mos and other factors during growth influenced development of clinical signs due to hip-joint disease necessitating veterinary consultation. Whether or not such signs occurred due to hip dysplasia or due to secondary or primary DJD could not be distinguished, and we therefore used the term "owner-reported veterinary-diagnosed hip-related clinical signs" ("the event"). The included dogs were followed from birth to the event or until a maximum of 9 yrs of age. Our objectives were to describe breed differences in time to incidence and to evaluate potential risk factors for the time to event. We used Kaplan-Meier curves to describe time to incidence, and potential risk factors were assessed by use of a Cox proportional-hazards model. We enrolled 494 dogs from 103 litters, and 46 dogs were reported as having had the event during the observation period. We observed a significant time-varying effect (TVE): LR and LEO developed clinical signs later in life than NF. If the radiological hip status was either mild, moderate, or severe the hazard of experiencing the event was significantly increased. Access to off-leash exercise at age 12 mos decreased the hazard of the event, and the hazard varied by litter. The findings supported the hypothesis that radiological hip status at screening and exercise conditions during growth influenced the time to incidence of the event and that there were breed differences in time to the event.

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