Hip Dysplasia
Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a birth defect of the hip joint found most often in large breed dogs. The hip is a ball-n-socket type joint. With dysplasia, the head of the femur (thigh bone) is flattened and fits poorly into the socket (the acetabulum). Abnormal motion of the hip results causing excessive "wear and tear" on the joint. The scraping of the cartilage (the "square peg in a round hole syndrome") also causes varying degrees of pain.

Hind leg lameness, swaying or staggering, discomfort upon rising and reluctance to run and jump are all symptoms of hip dysplasia. X-ray examination is the only way to accurately diagnose dysplasia. Mild cases may not show up on x-rays until the age of two years. Therefore, a "dysplasia free" certification cannot be given until that age. Unfortunately, there is no way to accurately diagnose this condition in the very young puppy. Hip dysplasia can be mild (without symptoms), slightly disabling, or severe (causing crippling lameness and arthritis). It is impossible to predict how the condition will progress.

There is no cure for hip dysplasia. Prevention through conscientious breeding is the "key" (OFA certification is helpful). Therapy is designed to ease the symptoms and provide your pet a more active and comfortable life.

Treatment may consists of any of the following:

  1. Medication ---------------- for stiffness and pain (see Arthritis information)
  2. Weight control --------------as important as medication for the dog with bad hips
  3. Muscle/Tendon release surgery -- for pain relief if excessive muscle tightness exists
  4. Acupuncture --------------- for pain relief if conventional therapy is not helping
  5. Hip Joint Reconstruction -------surgery (pelvic bone rotation, artificial hip, etc.)
  6. Hip Joint Removal ----------- surgery to remove the painful bone and allow a "false joint" to form.


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