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Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition resulting from an improperly formed hip joint. Because the joint is loose, the dog's leg bone moves around too much, causing painful wear and tear.

How Can I Tell if My Dog Has Hip Dysplasia?

Some cases of hip dysplasia are so mild there are no symptoms, but if your dog seems stiff or sore in the hips when getting up, if he seems hesitant to exercise, stand on his hind legs or climb stairs, or if he's limping or bunny-hopping, a visit to the vet is in order.

When Do Dogs Develop Hip Dysplasia?

Each case is different, depending on the dog. Hip dysplasia can begin to develop in puppies of five months old and worsen as they age-or not show up at all until a dog has reached geriatric years. In many cases, though, the condition becomes visible in dogs in their middle or later years.

How Is Hip Dysplasia Diagnosed?

An evaluation for hip dysplasia will likely include a physical examination, radiographs and manual tests on your dog's hip.

Which Dogs Are Prone to Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia commonly affects larger breeds of dogs, including German shepherds, Rottweilers, retrievers, Great Danes and St. Bernards. However, dogs of all breeds and all sizes are susceptible to this inherited condition.

How Can Hip Dysplasia Be Treated?

Because hip dysplasia is caused by an inherited defect, there are no products that can prevent its development. There are several surgical options, including a complete hip replacement. However, a combination of healthy diet, maintaining a normal weight, exercise, massage, warm and dry sleeping areas, joint supplements, anti-inflammatories and pain-relieving medication can help manage the condition. Your vet will help you with a daily pain-relieving program that is right for your dog.