BVA/KC Elbow Dysplasia Scheme

British Veterinary Association & The Kennel Club

The current BVA/KC scoring scheme for elbow dysplasia (ED) was launched in 1998. Dysplasia means abnormal development, and the degree of elbow dysplasia present is indicated by a grade assigned to each elbow on a scale of 0 to 3 (0 being the best and 3 being the most severe). Only the highest grade of the two elbows is taken as the elbow grade for that dog. The minimum age for elbow grading is one year, and each dog is only ever graded once under the scheme. Advice to breeders is to use only those dogs with grades of 0, wherever possible.

Which breeds are screened under the Scheme?

Any breed may be screened under the scheme, but there are a number of breeds which have been shown to have a higher incidence of elbow dysplasia. These breeds include: Basset Hounds, Bernese Mountain Dogs, English Mastiffs, German Shepherd Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands and Rottweilers.

For information on the health testing recommendations for these, and all other breeds, please visit the kennel clubs Breed Information Centre.

How do I get my dog graded under the Scheme?

Owners should make an appointment with their vet who can take the required X-rays of the dog's elbows. The vet then sends the X-rays to the British Veterinary Association where they are examined and "graded" by a panel of experts. Once the X-rays have been graded, the result is returned to the vet, who relates it to the owner, and a copy is sent to the Kennel Club for recording on the registration database and publication in the KC Breed Records Supplement. There is a time limit of 45 days and a set procedure for appealing against results under the Scheme.

What are the costs involved?

In addition to the charges levied by the vet for anaesthetic and X-raying, the cost of having one dog graded under the scheme is currently £50.00 (inc VAT). If an owner submits 5 or more dogs at the same time, the cost falls to £45.00 (inc VAT) per dog. There is a reduced fee when radiographs are submitted simultaneously to the KC/BVA Hip and Elbow Dysplasia Schemes. The charge for joint Hip and Elbow submissions is currently £90.00 (inc VAT) per dog.


Number of dogs

Charge per dog

(inc VAT)

1-4 dogs



5 or more dogs (same owner)



Re-scoring/Re-grading under appeal



Duplicate copy of certificate


£37.50 per copy

Joint Hip & Elbow