Hip Dysplasia (HD) is a degenerative condition where the ball and socket joint becomes malformed, and instead of functions smoothly, they grind against each other, leading to skeletal degeneration and severe inflammation
As one of the most common skeletal diseases, HD affects a vast
majority of the most common breeds, like the Labrador, German
Shepherd and Saint Bernard. While larger dog breeds are most
susceptible to HD, smaller breeds can also fall prey to this
condition, where both genetic and environmental factors play a
factor in the onset and progression. The most straightforward
method to detect and track the progression of HD is through
frequent x-rays, which might actually end up being detrimental to
Despite being one of the most prevalent, HD is still one of the
most misunderstood conditions. Malformation in the hip and ball
socket leads the animal’s body to produce additional bone-line
fragments in the region which restricts movement. It is an
extremely painful condition, where over a prolonged period,
muscle in a particular region deteriorates and the animal
experiences trouble getting up/sitting down before losing hind
function entirely. While a genetic predisposition plays a large
factor in the onset of the disease, modulating environmental
factors like physical activity, diet and supplementary
nutritional intake can arrest the disease in its early stages.
The most concerning factor of this condition is that is mostly
diagnosed only in its later stages when pain management and
avoiding further deterioration is the only solution.
Recognizing signs of early onset is key to staving off this
chronic condition, which eventually leads to a lack of complete
hind mobility. While a thorough physical, along with a blood
profile and urine analysis can help your veterinarian diagnose
Dysplasia before it sets in, knowing your pet’s parental history
can help highlight the need for early intervention. Genetics
plays a significant role in the development and progression of
this condition, where a history of canine arthritis and
osteopenia, along with previous instances of Dysplasia in the
gene pool makes your puppy prone to the disease. Environmental
conditions, such as the lack of adequate exercise and obesity
also aggravates this condition.
Common symptoms of this condition include, but are not limited
? Inflammation and tenderness in the hip
? Persistent lax mobility in the hind legs.
? Swaying gait.
? Restricted range of motion in the hip.
? Disproportionate muscle development (where
shoulder muscles are enlarged to compensate for extra weight
which the canine exerts on the front legs in trying to avoid
putting pressure on hind limbs).
? Reluctance to engage in physical activities
like running, jumping, or climbing stairs.
It is crucial to monitor your dog’s everyday activity to look out
for these signs as most small breeds do not exhibit and cynical
symptoms until severe progression and large canines might not
exhibit cynical symptoms early.
While there are surgical procedures, like pubic symphysiodesis
surgery, where parts of the pelvic bone are fused together to
increase mobility, it is only effective in dogs that are younger
than six months. Excision arthroplasty is another, much more
invasive procedure where the hip and ball joints are removed and
muscles surrogate their function. This is however only effective
in dogs that weigh less than 44 pounds and exhibit favourable
muscle growth in the region. Surgical interventions for older
dogs are still limited, where a diagnosis usually leads to
outpatient treatments, with anti-inflammatory and painkiller
prescriptions to manage the severe pain that accompanies this
condition. Physiotherapy is often prescribed to stall the
progression of the disease, along with strict daily dietary and
The staggering costs of these procedures are only secondary to
the rapidly degrading quality of life for your canine companion.
As many large breeds are meant to be working dogs, in farms or
other industries, Dysplasia takes a severe toll on their
productivity. While catching the disease early is critical to
stall the progression of the disease, monitoring environmental
conditions can prevent triggering the condition even with the
presence of a genetic disposition.
? Ensuring that your pet gets adequate physical
exercise, especially in the early phases of muscular and skeletal
growth, along with regular calcium and multivitamin to supplement
a healthy diet can warrant great physiological integrity.
Swimming is one of the most beneficial cardiovascular activities
for canines, which exerts minimum pressure on their joints and
promotes even muscle tissue growth and repair.
? Avoiding slippery surfaces that might lead to
misalignment is also imperative to ensure healthy skeletal and
muscle growth. Prolonged safe cardio activity like swimming,
helps prevents obesity, which is one of the primary causes of
this condition. Osteoarthritis, another triggering condition can
also be avoided in older dogs, through regular exercise and by
monitoring their daily calorie intake.
Larger breeds like the Saint Bernard and Labrador, who are the
most prone to Dysplasia are infamous for being prone to both
rapid weight gain and other degenerative bone conditions like
osteoarthritis. Consulting with your vet early on can help you
customize a diet and exercise plan that suits both your puppy’s
needs and your own financial and time constraints.
You should also be well-informed about where you bring your puppy
home from. Puppy mills which are rampant as the primary source
for pedigree pups are notorious for their severely exploitative
treatment of their breeding herds. They often breed their animals
in decrepit conditions, with minimal nutrition and next to no
physical activity, which compromises their immune system, that is
passed on to the pups.
Research has proven that your puppy’s immune system is entirely
reliant on its mother’s immune health in the early months of
development where external vaccines are avoided. Additionally,
puppy mills are infamous for in-breeding their animals, which
leads to a severe shrinking of the gene pool resulting in genetic
predispositions to a host of diseases, including various forms of
Dysplasia. Avoiding this industry by not purchasing your dogs
from puppy mills not only ensure that you bring a healthy puppy
home, but also dissuades sinister breeders from abusing their own
What You Should Know About Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
If you’re the owner of a giant breed, or even a moderately big
breed, there are certain medical conditions that you might want
to pay attention to. In this particular case, we’re referring to
hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a medical condition that mostly
affects larger breeds and it is necessary to keep yourself
informed about the condition.Of course, there’s no reason to
panic. Veterinary science has come a long way and we now have a
range of treatment and management options that ensure your dog
continues to enjoy, more or less, the same quality of life.Let’s
take a closer look at what hip dysplasia is and what your options
A Brief Overview
Hip dysplasia is a skeletal disease, wherein, a dog’s hip joints
undergo improper development. The end result of this is that your
dog’s hips become partially dislocated. Needless to say, the
condition does cause pain and extreme wear and tear. It also
compromises your dog’s ability to move normally.Now, the disease
itself is a genetic condition. However, dietary and environmental
factors do play a role. For instance, rapid weight gain or
obesity can aggravate the condition by placing excessive stress
on the joints.Other than that, you also have poor nutrition as a
major contributor.Some of the most common breeds that develop
this condition include St. Bernards, Golden Retrievers, Labrador
Retrievers, and Great Danes. As stated earlier, it’s mostly
larger breeds. However, even small and medium-sized breeds are
susceptible to the condition.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The symptoms of hip dysplasia are very similar to that of
arthritis – the joints become painful and stiff, while movement
becomes limited. One of the first signs is the weakening of the
hind limbs. Other signs to look for are pain (when the pelvis or
hip is touched), weakness of the hind legs (one or both), and an
improper gait (bunny-hopping).You may also notice behavioral
changes, such as less enthusiasm, an unwillingness to participate
in activities, difficulty in rising, and intolerance to
exercise.If you spot these signs or symptoms, it would be wise to
get your dog checked by the vet immediately. Your vet will order
an x-ray and carry out other physical assessments to determine
whether or not your dog has hip dysplasia.
There are multiple treatment options for hip dysplasia. They
typically range from lifestyle changes to surgery. For instance,
if the condition isn’t severe, your vet will recommend
non-surgical options, such as weight reduction to ease stress,
exercise restriction, physical therapy, Nonsteroidal
Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS), Aspirin, joint fluid modifiers,
and anti-inflammatory medications etc.Surgical options include
double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO/TPO), femoral head
ostectomy (FHO) and total hip replacement (THR).We suggest you
talk to your vet to know more.