Veterinary surgeon at Veterinary Specialists of Connecticut, Steven Leshem, DVM, is responsible for the hospital’s neurosurgery and orthopedic surgery cases. With over 10 years of experience, Steven Leshem has earned several certifications, including PennHIP credentials. Steve Leshem earned his DVM from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program, or PennHIP, was developed to serve as a new method for diagnosing canine hip dysplasia. The program is made up of three main parts, the first of which is radiography technology that is used to screen canine hips for osteoarthritis. The program also comprises trained veterinarians around the world who are able to complete the procedure for osteoarthritis screening and a database to keep record of trends in osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia.

The innovative method used by the PennHIP to interpret and measure how susceptible dogs are to hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis makes use of a compression, distraction, and hip-extended radiograph views. Through the compression and distraction view, veterinarians are able to measure the congruity and laxity of the hip joint. The hip-extended radiograph view helps veterinarians determine whether the dog shows degenerative joint disease. Through the interpretation of the three radiographs, determining an accurate assessment and measurement of hip joint laxity is possible.

Compared to other methods for diagnosing the laxity of each dog’s hip joint, PennHIP is able to predict degenerative joint disease and measure laxity at a much higher level of accuracy. Using the PennHIP method, doctors can accurately test dogs as young as 16 weeks. Traditional methods cannot be used until the dog is two years old. Through the PennHIP’s thorough certification process, only veternarians who have received the proper training and demonstrated the required expertise are allowed to perform the procedure.