[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Hip dysplasia (HD) is characterized by abnormal formation of the hip joint, resulting in degradation of the cartilage in the joint and leading to damage, inflammation, and pain.

The hip joint is comprised of two main parts, the caput, or head of the femur, which is shaped like a ball, and the acetabulum, a concave socket located in the pelvis. The head fits into the socket and, in unaffected animals, the fit is snug and both parts of the joint are covered in cartilage, allowing for a smooth and wide range of motions.

Hip Dysplasia Gait

A dog standing with its hind legs together to compensate for hip dysplasia.

In animals affected by HD, however, hip joints are loose fitting or misshapen, causing damage to the cartilage through excessive wear and tear, eventually leading to inflammation and pain. While cartilage is continually being replaced by the body, the process is slow and the degradation of the cartilage results in a reduced ability to fix the damage.1[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Causes” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Droid%20Sans%3Aregular%2C700|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]The cause of hip dysplasia is thought to be a combination of genetics and environment. Though the condition can affect dogs (and some cats) of all breeds or sizes, HD typically affects large-breed dogs, due to their weight, and certain breeds. Breeds more commonly affected by HD include Labrador retrievers, Rottweilers, Newfoundlands, Mastiffs, Bernese Mountain dogs, Boxers, St. Bernards, and Welsh Corgis.2[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Symptoms” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Droid%20Sans%3Aregular%2C700|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Symptoms of canine hip dysplasia include abnormal gait (how a dog walks, such as straight or normal versus wobbly or erratic), stiffness, lameness, difficulty when rising from a sitting or resting position, or a reluctance to go up stairs or engage in strenuous activity. Due to the wide range of variation between dogs and daily habits, not all symptoms of HD may be present. Some dogs may also have higher pain tolerances than others, allowing them to cope with the condition, masking its presence.3[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Diagnosis” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Droid%20Sans%3Aregular%2C700|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Diagnosis of hip dysplasia is generally done through x-rays and radiographs, along with physical examinations. X-rays are important in determining the state of the joint and the level of cartilage damage, if any, present. Other conditions that can mimic symptoms of HD include lower back problems, torn ligaments, or elbow dysplasia.3[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Treatment” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Droid%20Sans%3Aregular%2C700|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Methods of treatment for hip dysplasia include both surgical and non-surgical means, depending on how far the disease has progressed. In early or less-severe cases, non-surgical methods can be enough to alleviate or even prevent further progression of HD. Three important factors in non-surgical treatment are weight, exercise, and medication.

Weight control is considered the most important factor in preventing HD. Excessive weight contributes unnecessary force on hip joints, leading to increased joint damage. This is generally why large breed dogs are more susceptible to the condition than smaller dogs.

Reasonable exercise can be beneficial in promoting cartilage growth and prevent muscle loss in the hind legs, though excessively long running sessions or jumping should be avoided.

Pain medication and anti-inflammatories can be used to alleviate pain and discomfort and prevent damage from inflammation. Supplements can also be used to promote cartilage growth and repair. Mobility devices such as harnesses or carts can also help to reduce stress and pressure on joints and can be used in conjunction with other methods.

In more severe cases of HD, surgery may be the only option, including hip repair or full hip replacement.4[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Canine Hip Dysplasia Statistics5” font_container=”tag:h3|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Droid%20Sans%3Aregular%2C700|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Below are statistics of hip dysplasia in dogs from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals between January 1974 through December 2013.[/vc_column_text][vc_tta_accordion active_section=”9″][vc_tta_section title=”Reveal Breed Statistics” tab_id=”1476385874693-f1ce91e3-1c13d2cf-6134″][vc_column_text]

BreedEvaluationsPercent Dysplastic
Dogue De Bordeaux46356.8
St. Bernard214546.9
Neapolitan Mastiff15846.8
Clumber Spaniel92844.0
Black Russian Terrier56043.2
Sussex Spaniel27339.9
Cane Corso87639.0
Argentine Dogo21038.1
Basset Hound20137.3
Perro De Presa Canario19934.7
Norfolk Terrier30132.9
American Bulldog182532.9
Boykin Spaniel328332.4
Glen Of Imaal Terrier17430.5
Fila Brasileiro59930.1
French Bulldog118028.6
Spanish Water Dog12628.6
Lagotto Romagnolo15127.8
American Staffordshire Terrier302026.0
Maine Coon Cat111024.4
American Pit Bull Terrier77524.3
Berger Picard11124.3
Louisiana Catahoula Leopard58421.6
English Shepherd37821.4
Cardigan Welsh Corgi199720.4
Chesapeake Bay Retriever1294720.2
Golden Retriever13640819.5
Norwegian Elkhound388419.4
Shih Tzu63119.3
Chow Chow535319.2
German Shepherd Dog10769819.0
Gordon Setter615419.0
Pembroke Welsh Corgi1129818.8
Pyrenean Shepherd13518.5
Old English Sheepdog1077918.4
Icelandic Sheepdog30318.2
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog280418.0
Field Spaniel106617.8
Giant Schnauzer443117.7
Shiloh Shepherd83417.0
Staffordshire Bull Terrier60117.0
Welsh Terrier11516.5
Havana Silk Dog19616.3
English Setter1059015.9
Spinone Italiano122415.9
Epagneul Breton15915.7
Bernese Mountain Dog1818015.7
Australian Cattle Dog364215.4
Polish Lowland Sheepdog51315.2
Curly-Coated Retriever117615.1
Bouvier Des Flandres827115.0
Tibetan Mastiff98414.8
Black And Tan Coonhound71014.4
Chinese Shar-Pei965413.2
Norwich Terrier87313.1
English Springer Spaniel1516512.8
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel657512.5
Portuguese Water Dog818712.5
Great Dane1292712.0
Smooth Fox Terrier35311.9
West Highland White Terrier33611.9
Irish Setter1141511.8
Irish Water Spaniel134611.7
Labrador Retriever23301211.7
Boston Terrier22211.7
Alaskan Malamute1400611.4
Airedale Terrier603211.3
Welsh Springer Spaniel205011.3
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen72610.9
Border Collie1153910.6
Finnish Lapphund18510.3
Anatolian Shepherd185710.2
Tibetan Spaniel3459.9
Wirehaired Vizsla1319.9
Swedish Vallhund2519.6
Akbash Dog5449.6
American Eskimo Dog10369.6
Norwegian Buhund2039.4
Cairn Terrier1089.3
Great Pyrenees60089.1
German Wirehaired Pointer41789.0
Dutch Shepherd2349.0
Coton De Tulear7538.9
Australian Kelpie1268.7
Standard Schnauzer42838.4
Small Munsterlander1578.3
Mini American/Mini Australian15638.1
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon21048.0
American Water Spaniel7667.6
French Spaniel1817.2
Bichon Frise36137.1
Yorkshire Terrier1036.8
Bull Terrier1066.6
Cocker Spaniel132646.5
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Ret.19876.4
Lhasa Apso8146.4
Doberman Pinscher157616.1
Bearded Collie45425.9
Australian Shepherd328435.8
Afghan Hound67995.7
English Cocker Spaniel70395.7
Finnish Spitz3315.7
Shiba Inu31675.6
Tibetan Terrier40435.6
Kerry Blue Terrier15775.5
Belgian Malinois27675.3
North American Shepherd3365.1
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier61285.0
Rhodesian Ridgeback114164.8
Irish Wolfhound18294.7
Shetland Sheepdog203044.6
Irish Red & White Setter2504.4
Flat-Coated Retriever56184.3
German Shorthaired Pointer160264.1
Border Terrier27243.7
Parson Russell Terrier1103.6
Belgian Tervuren60063.5
Toy Australian Shepherd1193.4
Rat Terrier4943.0
Belgian Sheepdog41042.9
Pharaoh Hound4852.7
Ibizan Hound3672.5
Australian Terrier1862.2
Siberian Husky176562.0
German Pinscher3961.8
Italian Greyhound2390.0

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  1. The Dysplastic Hip Joint“. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. http://www.offa.org/hd_info.html. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  2. Hip Dysplasia“. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/hip-dysplasia. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  3. Canine Hip Dysplasia“. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Baker Institute for Animal Health. http://bakerinstitute.vet.cornell.edu/animalhealth/page.php?id=1104. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  4. Hip Dysplasia Treatment Options“. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. http://www.offa.org/hd_treatment.html. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  5. Hip Dysplasia Statistics“. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. http://www.offa.org/stats_hip.html. Retrieved 2014-03-14.