It’s like VHS over Betamax, the US standard microchips vs. the world’s ISO, the PC’s dominance over the Macs’ operating system, the Kwerty keyboard over other more intuitive models… Though you may disagree with me on some of the above examples, the history of technological standards is littered with ways in which arguably far better models lost out over their lesser rivals. And it usually comes down to marketing. Sometimes it means getting government to buy into one standard over the other, distributing your model at a low cost to a high-use industry (reference porn and VHS) or shouldering out competitors with disingenuous practices (á la AVID microchips). Sometimes it’s just a matter of marketing-dedicated dollars and a nimble marketing arm (Microsoft vs. Mac). Where am I going with this? For those of you whose breeds are predisposed to hip dysplasia, you might know that the  OFA  (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) and  PennHIP  models represent rival technologies for assessing dog hips. You should also know that I consider the PennHIP model superior. No, it’s not because I went to the University of Pennsylvania and had this method drummed into me (indeed, they did almost no chest-beating on this issue while I was there). And it’s not because Dr. Gail Smith, the veterinary surgeon originator of the PennHIP approach, was a popular prof there. Nope. It’s because I believe that any rational person who would compare the two technologies would be hard-pressed to side with the OFA method. Here’s why: 1. Objectivity PennHIP patients’ X-rays are assessed via objective measurements while the OFA X-rays are graded by a small panel of radiologists based on subjective impressions of the dogs’ individual hip conformation.  2. Evidence-based PennHIP requires any veterinarian who undertakes this method to have his or her X-rays included in a database of cases, regardless of hip quality. This improves not only the value of the database but its value to dogs at large for its more accurate representation of the real incidence of hip disease. Result accuracy for individual dogs are continually refined as more enter the database. The OFA’s approach effectively allows veterinarians to select the best images or decline to submit poor quality hips for evaluation, thus skewing their database towards better hips. This selection bias renders this database somewhat useless. 3. Early prediction of future disease The OFA method does not purport to accurately predict future disease. Moreover, it cannot be undertaken until an animal is two years old and well into its breeding years. This means that many dogs will enter the show ring before its hips are evaluated, thus increasing the chance that poor hips will enter the genetic pool through award-based incentives. PennHIP can be employed as early as 16 weeks for an accurate prediction of future changes to the hips. Therein lies its most valuable asset: its ability to eliminate hip dysplasia entirely from the genetic pool if everyone used this method on their pre-pubescent dogs.  But PennHIP does have some downsides and detractions. Here’s a run-down of these: 1. Access OFA can be used by any veterinarian with an X-ray machine while PennHIP vets must be certified after completing a one to two day course. In my area (Miami) only one vet is certified. I counted about 25 PennHIP veterinarians in the whole state of Florida. 2. Expense OFA requires a simple fee for evaluation and certification on one X-ray. If the hips are judged obviously poor by the general practitioner veterinarian taking the X-ray, many elect not to send in the film and incur an additional expense. Many vets don’t sedate or anesthetize for this X-ray (though I do). PennHIP requires the dog’s owner to commit to the entire service: anesthesia, three X-rays and the evaluation fee. Tack on any additional fees to reimburse the veterinarian for his or her certification status and you’ve got a pricier procedure, sometimes two to three times what OFA costs. 3. Anesthesia I’ve already mentioned this one but it deserves a special mention for those who choose to limit their dogs’ anesthetic experiences. While I would not undertake OFA X-rays without anesthesia or sedation, many vets do. Dog owners unwilling to have their dogs anesthetized can usually find veterinarians to perform drug-free OFA X-rays. Not so for PennHIP.  4. Pain OFA says PennHIP causes pain while the animal’s limbs are submitted to the more natural weight-bearing position required for these X-rays. But PennHIP denies this, citing only a handful of cases where patients were more than minimally lame for a day or more (with no lasting discomfort for any). I can’t vouch for this, but I will attest to having some OFA patients experience some discomfort after their X-rays if their hips were poor. (To check out what the different styles of X-ray positioning looks like, check out this previous  post  of mine.) For me, it seems the OFA procedure is so inferior a method that if we were comparing treatment regimens instead of diagnostics, there would be little doubt that the newer, pricier model would have been overwhelmingly accepted years ago as the ideal alternative. But it’s not. Hip replacements over FHOs, TPLOs over extra-capsular repairs, cyclosporine instead of perianal fistula surgery, hyposensitization over serial steroid therapy… These are some off-the-top-of-my-head examples of where more expensive therapeutic regimens won out in favor of far less effective methods. In fact, it would be fair to say that NOT offering the more effective choice in these cases could be construed as malpractice…or at least as depriving clients of their right to informed consent. Not so with PennHIP. The minimal access clients have to this superior diagnostic tool (at least in my area) means that veterinarians are justified in ignoring its clear superiority in favor of the more accessible, less expensive alternative. If I were to give Dr. Gail Smith some unsolicited advice for his PennHIP program, from one marketing-minded veterinarian to another, I’d… 1. ...infuse his not-for-profit program with enough emergency donor cash to increase the marketing and distribution of his course. 2. ...reduce the barriers to entry for veterinarians (like me) who want to play but find few opportunities to do so at my local conferences. 3. ...minimize the evaluation cost for each patient submission. 4. ...market my method to savvy pet health insurance providers who have incentives to better understand the hip risk each patient faces. 5. ...make sure every veterinary student left vet school knowing which method was best. After all, when even Penn vets like me leave school with a fuzzy idea as to whether PennHIP is really superior or not, you can’t expect veterinary graduates of other programs to know any better. 6. ...enlist breed clubs, have a presence at major dog shows and write articles for pet owner publications (and blogs like this one) to raise demand for the service at it's source: responsible dog owners. These are just a few broad ideas. Sounds to me as if Dr. Smith could use a few students from across the street at Wharton to help bang out his plan. Maybe one of these days he’ll take some serious steps to keep PennHIP from going the way of the Betamax. I really wish he would. Our dogs deserve better. OK, so PennHIP vs. OFA…what do you do? https://www.petmd.com/blogs/fullyvetted/2009/january/pennhip-vs-ofa-better-medicine-vs-better-marketing-6680 … How to microchip your pet   How to Microchip Your Pet—And Why It's Important BY KIRSTIN FAWCETT AUGUST 15, 2016 When it comes to finding a lost pet, microchips—implantable computer chips that are encoded with a unique ID number and placed under your pet’s skin—are way more effective than a standard nametag. In fact, one 2009 study shows that dogs with microchips were   returned to their homes 74.1 percent of the time —compared to just 13 percent of all stray or missing dogs. To remind pet owners to have their pets microchipped (and to keep the registration information up-to-date), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) designated Monday, August 15,   as Check the Chip Day . Don’t know much about the procedure?   mental_floss   spoke with Dallas Harsa, director of sales and business development at   AKC Reunite , a division of the American Kennel Club that promotes microchipping. She provides more details on the practice, and tells you what to do to ensure a lost pet returns safely home. 1. YOU CAN GET YOUR PET MICROCHIPPED THROUGH A LOCAL VET, ANIMAL SHELTER, OR RESCUE GROUP. “Most vet clinics will microchip a pet,” Harsa says. “You can call up your favorite vet and see if they have a special day that they will microchip, and your local city shelter, animal shelter, or rescue groups often have microchipping clinics that they offer to the community as a way of giving back. You can get discounted rates, but your veterinarian is usually the best place to go. They can do it during a spay/neuter procedure, they can do it during an exam, and they can also do it as a walk-in." Don't worry—a microchip's insertion won't hurt Fluffy or Fido. "It's a simple procedure—the microchip is injected right between the shoulder blades," Harsa says. "The technician uses a bigger needle than what you or I would get for a regular shot because it’s not pushing through liquid; the chip is actually the size of a grain of rice. But the process is virtually painless.” 2. IMMEDIATELY ENROLL YOUR PET'S MICROCHIP IN A NATIONAL DATABASE. After your pet gets microchipped, immediately register the chip with your contact information, and submit it to the chip manufacturer, distributor, or another established national pet recovery service. Your vet or clinic may provide you with an enrollment form or phone number, or you can use the   Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool   provided by the AAHA. There, you can enter a microchip code and find participating microchip registries associated with the chip’s number and manufacturer. This step is vital, as the company or organization you register the chip with will call, email, or text you if someone finds your pet and contacts them. (Often, they’ll do so by calling an 800 number provided on the animal's tag.) But pet owners occasionally forget to register the chip, or they mistakenly don’t register the pet in a reputable database, Harsa says. “Sometimes a pet has a microchip, but there's absolutely no information tied to it,” Harsa explains. “Or they could have enrolled with a service that’s not a registry that's been around for a long time, so people might not even know about it." 3. DON'T FORGET TO INCLUDE EMERGENCY CONTACTS IN YOUR REGISTRATION DATA. “Some vet clinics will enroll the pet’s microchip to make sure that first step has been done, but they'll only take basic information,” Harsa says. “They won’t have all the emergency contacts or additional information—so, if for some reason you’re out of town and can’t be reached or your cell phone inbox is full, you want to make sure you have another number in your record.” Also, keep in mind that it’s handy to have a disaster plan. “In the case of a natural disaster, it's good to have a point of contact that's outside of your immediate area,” Harsa says. "If something happens and you’re displaced from your home or you’re away from your phone, they can help you get your pet back.” 4. TAKE THE TIME TO PERIODICALLY UPDATE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION. According to AKC Reunite’s data, 58 percent of pets’ microchips aren’t linked to the correct owner information—mostly because their human companions have moved, gotten rid of their landline phones, or switched jobs and forgot to update their pets’ microchip data. When undergoing these kinds of major life changes, don’t forget that they also affect your furry companions, and adjust your registration info accordingly, Harsa advises. 5. MICROCHIPS ARE GREAT—BUT GET A COLLAR TAG FOR YOUR PET, TOO. “While we recommend that all pets be microchipped, the collar tag is equally—if not more—important,” Harsa says. “If a pet is lost and wandering and visual identification is not recognizable, people will think it's a stray, and may not be as likely to approach it or try to help it. Granted, there’s animal control, and animals will end up in a shelter or some sort of rescue organization, but neighbors often find pets. If they don't recognize the pet, they’ll know to give it back to somebody if there’s a collar and tag on it.” … L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria is a debilitating and life-threatening disease of the metabolic system identified by elevated levels of hydroxy glutaric acid, classified as an autosomal recessive disease through inheritance. The parents do not have to exhibit any symptoms in order to pass it on to their offspring. Genetic testing is the only way to determine this. The test is an inexpensive and simple cheek swab which can be obtained from several labs around the world. Results are determined in a short time so there is no excuse not to test! Please see our health testing pages or the PDF below to find laboratory options to get your Staffords tested. Get your tissues ready and… Anesthesia induction: Propofol or gas only. Maintenance anesthesia: Isoflurane or Sevoflurane only. Postop medication: Nux Vomica 30c immediately after extubation followed 15 minutes later by Arnica 30c then one dose Arnica 30c every 4-6 hours for 3 days as needed for pain. Directions for giving a liquid homeopathic remedy: Succuss or hit bottle twice against...From my love of Bull and Terriers every thing unfolds. When talking about improving the physical condition of the dog, we must also take into account its mental condition. The activity you use must also be fun for both you and the dog. In doing this we can achieve soundness of limb, peak fitness and...Barring medical complications, minimal human interference is the best thing you can do for the dam and litter. Today’s fanciers are conditioned to believe that the species would become extinct were it not for our helping hands. Actually, the domestic canine is in some danger but it is due to genetic manipulation and distortions of instincts...Our L2-HGA journey began in 2011. I took Willow to the vets on a couple of occasions as I’d noticed her walking on tiptoes and kicking her hind legs out and a curved spine. Our first vet diagnosed this as a pulled muscle but unhappy with his diagnosis, I felt there as more to the ...