Time for hip shake-up
Shooting Times & Country|April 21, 2021
The current scoring scheme is the best health resource available but a few tweaks could make it more efficient, argues David Tomlinson
David Tomlinson

I WAS PLEASED TO read the response in Letters (31 March) from Daniella Dos Santos, senior vice-president of the British Veterinary Association (BVA), to my article on hip testing. The latter (So what’s the score?, 17 March) drew attention to the slow turnaround of hip scores by the BVA recently.

The BVA’s explanation was that “we were not fully set up for remote working at that time”, which, reading between the lines, suggested that it wasn’t set up at all for sending X-rays over the internet rather than by post.

However, as the postal service continued virtually as normal last year, I don’t really understand the problem. Every X-ray submitted to the BVA is, we are told, simultaneously scrutinised by two vets. There are 10 vets in all on the scrutineering panel.

Perhaps it is time for the BVA to reconsider the process. Is it necessary for two vets to study each X-ray? I’m not sure how much of the £127.20 fee for hip and elbow scoring the scrutineers receive, but it would presumably save on costs if only one vet was involved.

It would be interesting to learn from the BVA how often the scrutineering vets disagree on the scores they come up with and whether these disagreements are usually only a few points or something more significant. I presume the final score is an average of the two counts.

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