Early Diagnosis and Intervention Are Critical to Treating Canine Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a genetic, inherited condition that can begin to develop as early as five months of age.  It is an improperly formed hip joint which is a ball and socket structure.  Although it can be found in any breed, it commonly affects large breeds such as German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Labradors.  It is much less prevalent in mixed breeds and small- and medium-sized  breeds.

Symptoms include:

  • Bunny hopping
  • Limping
  • Hesitation to exercise or climb stairs
  • Stiffness or soreness
  • Difficulty rising from a sitting or lying position

Early diagnosis is essential for either surgical or medical intervention as left untreated hip dysplasia causes crippling lameness, extreme pain, and arthritis of the joint.

Diagnosis includes a physical examination, radiographs, and manual manipulation of the hip joints.  Surgical intervention may include total hip replacement, triple pelvic osteotomy, and femoral head ostectomy.  Medical management of this condition may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, pain medications, joint supplements, weight management, acupuncture, moderate exercise, and swimming.  Your veterinarian or a veterinary surgeon can help you determine which form of treatment is best for your dog.

The sooner this condition is diagnosed—the more favorable the outcome will be for your dog’s long-term health.  When you are purchasing a breed that may be predisposed to hip dysplasia be sure to check with the breeder to see if the parent’s hips have been evaluated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.

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