canine hip dysplasia in dogs

Canine Hip Dysplasia

What is it?

Canine Hip Dysplasia is a condition in which the hip joint of a dog does not develop correctly. This can happen as a result of genetics, growth rate, or nutrition. It can cause pain, decreased mobility, and other related complications.

How is it Treated?

It’s usually treated with medications, physical therapy, and weight control. In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to treat the condition.

Breed Predispositions

Labrador Retrievers
German shepherds
Golder retrievers
Doberman pinscher


Ever since adopting her lovable Great Dane, Jasper, Sophie had been enamored with his gentle nature and incredible size. As Jasper grew, however, she noticed that he appeared to have difficulty moving his hind legs, often showing signs of discomfort when getting up from a lying position. Concerned about her gentle giant’s well-being, Sophie consulted her veterinarian, who diagnosed Jasper with canine hip dysplasia—a common but potentially debilitating condition in dogs.

Hip dysplasia (HD) is a condition where the hip joint becomes out of place due to abnormal development of the hip socket and bone growth around the hip joint. It is one of the most common orthopedic diseases in dogs.

This condition can affect any dog, but it is especially prevalent in larger breeds such as German Shepherd Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, and Pit Bulls.

There are two types of hip dysplasia: degenerative and juvenile hip dysplasia.

Degenerative hip dysplasia occurs when the cartilage covering the ball and socket wears away. This is also called hip joint laxity. Degenerative hip dyplasia is most commonly seen in giant breed dogs, including Great Danes, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Saint Bernards, Mastiffs, Bullmastiffs, Boxers, Pit Bulls, and American Staffordshire Terriers. Most puppies develop some degree of HD at birth. However, only 1% of affected puppies develop severe symptoms. Most owners never notice any problems until their dog is older – usually after ten years of age.

Juvenile hip dysplasia happens earlier in life. During development, the young dog’s hip socket (acetabulum) is too shallow to cover the head of the thighbone (femoral head) to fit properly. Some dogs have a minor looseness in one or both of their hip joints. Juvenile hip dysplasia ranges in severity between mild and severe.

Causes of Canine Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a common condition in dogs that causes pain and lameness. It affects millions of dogs worldwide.

It occurs when the hip joint becomes misaligned due to abnormal growth of bone tissue. This results in painful arthritis and lameness.

This condition usually develops between 6 and 12 months old. However, it may develop later in life. The following contribute to the development of hip dysplasia:

  1. Genetics

    Genetics plays an important role in causing hip dysplasia in young dogs. If one parent has hip dysplasia, chances are 50% that the puppy will inherit the problem. However, if both parents have hip dysplasia, the chance of developing hip dysplasia is 100%. Puppies born to parents without hip dysplasia are called unaffected. It’s unlikely they’ll have any signs of hip dysplasia. Pups born to affected parents are called affected. They will likely develop hip dysplasia.

  2. Environmental Factors

    Environmental factors such as diet, exercise, and stress affect whether a dog develops hip dysplasia. A dog’s environment plays a big part in determining its health. For example, if a dog lives in a household with no pets, he won’t get much physical activity. He will grow up weak and unhealthy.
  3. On the other hand, if a dog lives with several active pets, he will be exposed to plenty of exercise and nutrition. His bones will become stronger, and his joints will be healthier. Stress is another factor that contributes to hip dysplasia. Puppies that live in homes with too much noise and chaos are stressed. They tend to eat poorly and lack proper sleep. They grow up weak and unhealthy, and their joints suffer.

  4. Diet

    What a dog eats influences his overall health. Poor diets lead to poor health. For instance, feeding a dog a high-carbohydrate diet often leads to rapid growth. But this growth comes at the expense of muscle mass. As a result, the young dog is usually weak and frail. He doesn’t have the strength needed to walk properly, and the puppy’s joints are prone to injury. Feeding a dog a protein-rich diet helps him grow strong and healthy. As a result, his muscles are well-developed. His joints are protected against injury. And his hips are sturdy and stable.

  5. Exercise

    Exercise is essential for growing healthy bones. Without regular exercise, a dog’s bones don’t receive adequate stimulation. As a result of inadequate exercise, his bones grow weak and brittle. These weak bones cause problems such as hip dysplasia when he gets older. Regular exercise prevents the development of hip dysplasia. It strengthens the bones and makes them resistant to injury.

  6. Stress

    Stress is another major contributor to hip dysplasia in pups. If a dog experiences excessive amounts of stress, he suffers from low immunity. His immune system isn’t working right. As a result, he is susceptible to illness. His bones aren’t receiving sufficient nutrients. And he lacks the energy needed to perform daily tasks. Although hip dysplasia is relatively rare in dogs, it does affect approximately 10% of the population.

Although hip dysplasia is relatively rare in dogs, it does affect approximately 10% of the population. People with hip dysplasia often have trouble walking and experience a degree of hip pain.

Some owners may notice signs of hip dysplasia early in life, but most cases go undetected until later in life. Early detection is important because treatments are available to help alleviate symptoms and prevent further damage.

canine hip dysplasia

Signs of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

There are several types of hip dysplasia, including juvenile and mature forms. Although there is some overlap between these two forms of the disease and they can occur at any age, there are differences. Some of these include:

Juvenile form

  1. Bunny hopping gait
  2. Rear-leg lameness (one or both limbs)
  3. Difficulty rising
  4. Clicking sound from hips when walking or standing
  5. Weight shifting to front limbs
  6. Lack of ability to exercise for long periods
  7. Young dogs rarely exhibit signs of hip dysfunction and get better. Improvement happens because the body produces fibrotic tissue to stabilize the loose joints. About 30 percent of dogs will require additional treatment later in life, but many can do well without treatment.

Mature form

  1. Progressive rear limb lameness
  2. Bunny hopping gait
  3. Lameness after exercise
  4. Muscle loss in one or both rear limbs
  5. Difficulty jumping or climbing stairs

Diagnosis of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

To diagnose hip dysplasia, veterinarians use x-rays to examine the bones in the joint between the thighbone (femur) and the pelvis (hip). The veterinarian looks for signs of joint laxity and bony outgrowths that form along the edge of the femur and the acetabulum (the socket where the ball of the foot fits). These growths cause inflammation and irritation, leading to pain.

Physical Examination

The veterinarian will also examine your dog’s joints and bones, including his hips, shoulders, elbows, knees, and ankles. He will also measure the length of your dog’s legs and compare those measurements to the average for healthy dogs.

The veterinarian determines if the dog has hip osteoarthritis based on the symptoms and the findings during the exam.


Radiographs are x-rays taken of bones, organs, and tissues. They’re used to diagnose hip dysplasia in dogs. X-ray machines use radiation to create pictures of internal structures. The amount of radiation exposure depends on the type of machine being used.

When taking a radiograph, the dog should be standing still and not moving during the procedure. This helps reduce movement artifacts, which distort the picture.

After the radiograph is taken, the veterinarian views the images on a screen or, if it’s film, through a lightbox to determine whether there are any abnormalities and to ensure proper positioning. If abnormalities are found, the veterinarian sends the film to a veterinary specialist who examines the film and makes a diagnosis based on his/her findings.

Treatment Options for Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Dogs with hip dysplasia often suffer pain and discomfort because of the condition. There are several ways to treat hip dysplasia in dogs, including surgery, physical therapy, medication, and dietary supplements.

Surgery is usually recommended when the dog shows signs of severe joint damage. If successful, only 30% of young dogs treated this way will need advanced therapies later in life. However, most dogs don’t live long enough to benefit from treatment. In addition, this option may not be suitable for every dog. Surgery requires anesthesia, recovery time, and possible complications.

Three surgeries are available for treating hip dysplasia: Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis, total hip replacement (THR), and osteotomy.

Treatment Options for Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis (JPS)

In the case of Pubic Symphysiodesis (JPS), this surgery is typically performed on young puppies up to 5 months old so that their hips can develop more normally and avoid potential problems later down the road. The pubis symphysis connects left side( pelvis) with right half; after it fuses permanently in puberty. This surgery prematurely seals the symphysis, resulting in the rotation of the developing hip sockets into a more normal alignment.

JPS can be performed at the same time as desexing. It is a relatively straightforward, inexpensive procedure with a good recovery and a low risk of complications.

Total Hip Replacement

If your dog has hip dysplasia, he needs total hip replacement surgery. Total hip replacement surgery replaces the damaged ball and socket joints with artificial ones made of metal and plastic.

This surgery is usually recommended after six months of age because the cartilage between the bone ends wears down over time. Your veterinarian will recommend this procedure based on your dog’s specific situation.

Your vet will perform the surgery under general anesthesia. He or she will remove the damaged parts of the joint and replace them with prosthetic implants. After the operation, your pet will need several weeks of rehabilitation to recover fully.

Femoral Head Osteotomy

Another treatment option is femoral head osteotomy surgery. According to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, on average, about 85% of cases will show some degree of improvement in lameness and comfort despite the progression of arthritis on X-rays after surgical treatment. Osteotomy involves removing the femoral head and the femoral neck along the end of the femur.

This procedure may be performed on puppies or adult dogs, and it’s performed during general anesthesia.

Conservative Treatment

Physical therapy involves strengthening exercises to help strengthen weak muscles and improve the range of motion. This type of exercise helps prevent future problems associated with hip dysplasia.

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical practice that has been used to treat a variety of conditions for centuries. Recently, it has been gaining popularity as a treatment for canine hip dysplasia.

Some scientific evidence supports using acupuncture to treat hip dysplasia in dogs. A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Medicine found that acupuncture effectively reduced pain and improved mobility in dogs with hip dysplasia.

If you are considering acupuncture as a treatment for your dog’s hip dysplasia, be sure to consult with a qualified veterinarian or acupuncturist.

Medication is sometimes used to relieve symptoms, especially when the dog is experiencing extreme pain. Medications can include pain medications, NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), joint supplements, corticosteroids, and opioids. Some medications can cause side effects, such as vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and drowsiness.

Supplemental feeding is another option for dogs suffering from hip dysplasia. Supplemental feeding aims to reduce weight gain and bone density loss. Supplemental feedings should only be considered after consulting with a veterinarian.

Many diets are available for dogs with hip dysplasia, including grain-free, gluten-free, and hypoallergenic diets. Grain-free diets contain fewer carbohydrates than regular diets, making them better choices for dogs who experience gastrointestinal issues. Gluten-free diets are typically made from rice, corn, potato starch, soy protein, and tapioca. Hypoallergenic diets contain wheat, barley, rye, oats, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame seeds.

Joint supplements. These supplements provide vital nutrients (usually glucosamine and chondroitin) that can help to support healthy joint function. They also help to reduce inflammation and pain associated with hip dysplasia.

Joint supplements are a safe and effective way to treat canine hip dysplasia.

Prevention for Canine Hip Dysplasia

Preventing hip dysplasia in dogs is simple. All dogs should receive regular exercise and proper nutrition. Puppies should be taken for walks every day until they reach four months of age. Older dogs should be walked daily. They should be fed a diet rich in protein and calcium. Adult dogs should eat a balanced diet containing adequate protein and calcium.

Another important factor is exercise. Exercise strengthens muscles and ligaments, helping keep joints healthy. Finally, be sure to give your dog plenty of quality time outside. Spending time outdoors provides your dog with fresh air and sunshine, which help stimulate his immune system.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if you notice any clinical signs of hip dysplasia in your pets. He or she may recommend x-rays to determine whether a treatment option is necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

The average price of fixing hip dysplasia in a dog ranges from $1,500-$3,000.

The average price of fixing hip Dysplasia in a dog varies depending on breed, age, and whether the dog was spayed/neutered. A dog under 6 months old generally costs around $1,500-$2,500. An older dog (over 12 years) typically costs more than $3,000.

Breed greatly affects how much it costs to fix hip dysplasia in a dog. Some breeds, like German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers, are expensive because they are larger breed dogs. Smaller breeds like Chihuahuas and Poodles are cheaper because their bones are thinner and easier to repair.

The average lifespan of a dog with either type of dysplasia ranges from 10 to 15 years. Some breeds are more likely to develop dysplasia than others. For example, German Shepherd Dogs are at risk for developing hip dysplasia. Other breeds include Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Boxers, Pugs, Dachshunds, Chihuahuas, Cocker Spaniels, and Yorkshire Terriers.

NO, exercise is one of the most effective ways to keep your dog healthy and happy. It helps them maintain their weight, strengthens their muscles, improves their mental health, and keeps them active. However, if you do too much exercise, it could lead to hip dysplasia in your dog. This condition occurs when the ball joint at the end of the femur (thigh bone) becomes dislocated. For example, a DI of.15 would mean that the hip socket is 15 percent defective (out of joint). The hip joint comprises three bones: the thighbone, pelvis, and leg. When this happens, the leg bone gets out of place and causes pain.

Hip Dysplasia is a common problem among large breed dogs such as Great Danes, St Bernards, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Bull Terriers, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers. In some cases, the symptoms are so mild that they go unnoticed until later in life. Other times, the symptoms are severe enough to require surgery. If left untreated, hip dysplasia can eventually cause arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Yes, they can! Stairs can cause hip dysplasia (HD) in dogs. This condition can lead to pain, lameness, arthritis, and even death when they fall on stairs and are left untreated. Knowing how to prevent HD in your dog before you start taking him up and down the stairs is important.

Make sure your dog doesn’t spend too much time sitting still. Dogs who sit for long periods of time are more likely to develop hip dysplasia because their hips don’t get enough movement. Make sure your dog spends some time playing outside. He’ll burn off energy while running around and jumping on toys.

You should also limit how often your dog goes up and down the stairs daily. Going up and down stairs multiple times a day increases the stress on his hips. Your dog’s excess weight affects whether or not he develops hip dysplasia. A large breed dog, especially one who weighs more than 50 pounds, is more prone to hip dysplasia.

Your dog might also benefit from getting regular physical exams. Veterinarians use x-rays to check for hip dysplasia. They look for changes in bone density, shape, and size. The vet will also examine your dog’s gait and listen to his joints to determine if he has any issues.

It’s important to note that hip dysplasia isn’t always painful. However, it can become painful if your dog continues to walk with a limp. If your dog shows clinical signs of discomfort, consult your veterinarian immediately.

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No, hip dysplasia does not happen suddenly. Hip dysplasia is a developmental disorder that occurs when the hip joint does not develop normally. It can occur in any dog breed but is more commonly seen in larger breeds such as German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers.

A dog can have hip dysplasia in one hip, but it is not always present at birth. Hip dysplasia is a condition that affects the joint between the thigh bone and the upper leg bone. When this joint does not fit properly, it can cause pain and instability in the hips. A dog with hip dysplasia may show signs of discomfort when walking or running and difficulty climbing stairs or getting up from a lying position quickly enough.

Dogs known for hip dysplasia typically have short, squat body types and sometimes have difficulty getting up after lying down. Hip dysplasia is a genetic disorder that can affect any dog breed, but it is most common in larger breeds such as labradors, golden retrievers, and German shepherds.

Most experts believe hip dysplasia can heal independently with proper therapy and care. If the dysplasia is severe or progresses rapidly, surgical intervention may be necessary to correct the problem.

The answer to this question is unclear, as it depends on the genes involved in canine hip dysplasia. In general, however, a dominant gene may influence the development of hip dysplasia more than a recessive gene.

The effects of hip dysplasia on a dog’s lifespan are highly variable. Some dogs with hip dysplasia may experience few or no symptoms and lead long and healthy lives, while others may demonstrate significant health problems that can ultimately shorten their lives. In general, it is prudent to obtain regular veterinary examinations and treatment for any signs of illness in a dog with hip Dysplasia to ensure its overall well-being.

Yes, some puppies do have hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the hind legs are not shaped properly and may not work as well as they should. This can make it difficult for the puppy to walk and run normally. Hip Dysplasia is usually detected during routine physical exams when puppies are very young (around 8-12 weeks old). If your veterinarian finds that your pup has hip dysplasia, he or she will recommend appropriate treatment to help prevent future problems.

Some dogs with hip dysplasia may find it difficult to sit down because their hips cannot move in a straight line. To help them sit, these dogs may need assistance from their owners or trainers. They might be placed on the floor and allowed to settle into a comfortable position before being supported by the person or object. Alternatively, they might be placed onto cushions to rest against something soft while still moving freely.

If your dog has hip dysplasia, it is important that they exercise regularly. This will help to keep their joints healthy and functioning properly. Some tips for ensuring your dog gets the most out of their workout include: providing plenty of chewable items for them to gnaw on during activity, mixing up the types and lengths of exercise so that each day is different, making sure they have ample water available throughout the session, and scheduling rest days within the week so as not to overwork them.

There is limited information on the long-term survival of dogs with hip dysplasia. However, based on available research, most affected dogs live relatively normal lives for a dog their age provided they are properly treated and have regular veterinary checkups. Some may experience minor problems related to their hip Dysplasia such as difficulty walking or running, but these should be manageable with appropriate treatment. Some owners opt to euthanize their pets because of these issues, but this is not typically necessary unless the animal’s health deteriorates significantly.

It is believed that the problem may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some breeds are more prone to developing hip dysplasia, but there is not yet a specific breed or mix of especially susceptible breeds. Exposure to toxins or other environmental factors (such as exposure to heavy metal ions) may also contribute to the development this condition in certain dog breeds.

What is hip laxity in dogs? Hip laxity is when the hip joint lies too far from the spine. This can cause pain and difficulty when walking or running. Hip laxity can cause dogs to suffer from orthopedic problems such as hip dysplasia, so it’s important to take proactive measures to keep your dog healthy. One way you can do this is by providing them with regular vet checkups and preventive care. 

Disclaimer: The information provided on this veterinary website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding the health and well-being of your pet. This website does not claim to cover every possible situation or provide exhaustive knowledge on the subjects presented. The owners and contributors of this website are not responsible for any harm or loss that may result from the use or misuse of the information provided herein.

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