Hip Dysplasia (HD) is known within the Lagotto Romagnolo breed. Ethical breeders test their breeding dogs and use dogs with appropriately low scores in their breeding program. The breed average for Lagotto hip scores in Australia has improved over the short time the dogs have been in the country because of this testing.
Testing involves taking x-rays of the hip area while under general anaesthetic. The x-rays are then sent on to a specialist who will read, assess and score the different parts of the hip joint resulting in a total number somewhere between a perfect 0 and the worst outcome of 106. Sometimes these numbers are also expressed in the International grading of A, B, C etc.
At the same time, elbows are x-rayed for Elbow Dysplasia and these are scored by the specialist also, with a score of zero for each elbow being the best outcome.
Using the information on the health of the hips and elbows assists in minimising the incidence of producing puppies with HD. However, environmental factors such as allowing puppies to run down stairs or jump from furniture can also play a part, as can keeping your dog in an unhealthy weight range.