Pup staying at Happy Dog Inn

Hip dysplasia is a common deformity found in many dog breeds, though particularly so in larger dog breeds.  While all dogs are born with healthy, normal hips, as puppies grow a genetically inherited hip deformity – hip dysplasia – may present itself.  Though most cases of hip dysplasia can be attributed to genetics, it can also be developed from overeating while still a puppy. PetMD elaborates on what exactly canine hip dysplasia is, “The hip joint is composed of the ball and the socket. The development of hip dysplasia is determined by an interaction of genetic and environmental factors, though there is a complicated pattern of inheritance for this disorder, with multiple genes involved. Hip dysplasia is the failure of the hip joints to develop normally (known as malformation), gradually deteriorating and leading to loss of function of the hip joints….Gender does not seem to be a factor, but some breeds are more likely to have the genetic predisposition for hip dysplasia than other breeds. Large and giant breeds are most commonly affected, including the Great Dane, Saint Bernard, Labrador Retriever, and German Shepherd…Hip dysplasia often begins while a dog is still young and physically immature. Early onset usually develops after four months of age. There are also cases of later onset, where hip dysplasia develops later due to osteoarthritis, a form of joint inflammation (arthritis) that is characterized by chronic deterioration, or degeneration of the joint cartilage.”  Understanding canine hip dysplasia, and knowing what signs and symptoms to watch for can help you improve the health and quality of life for your dog moving forward.  There are many ways to treat hip dysplasia that will depend on the severity of your specific dog’s symptoms but treatment includes physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, joint supplements, and exercise restrictions.

Signs and Symptoms of Dog Hip Dysplasia:

  • Hind legs appear weak
  • Dog struggles to rise up from a seated or lying down position
  • Dog appears wobbly while rising up or standing
  • Dog has difficulty jumping, running or climbing stairs
  • “Bunny hopping” gait
  • Loss of thigh muscle mass
  • Decreased activity
  • Narrow stance
  • Joint laxity or looseness
  • Enlargement of shoulder muscle mass
  • Swaying gait
  • Dog displays pain or winces when touches
  • Sitting in the frog position with hind legs splayed out behind them