Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a condition where the ball and socket of the hip joint develop abnormally leading to the ball not sitting properly within the socket.  Changes to the hip joint can begin to occur at a young age and worsen over time.  In the worst cases, they can lead to severe osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease and be incredibly painful.  Large breeds are most at risk for hip dysplasia with German Shepherds, Labradors and Golden Retrievers particularly affected, however, any breed can potentially suffer from it. 

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition, so breeding must be carefully monitored to reduce the risk of it occurring.  The Kennel Club and British Veterinary Association produce Estimated Breeding Values and hip scores to help select breeding stock that is less likely to suffer from hip dysplasia. 

Treatment options include supportive, cushioned bedding, appropriate exercise and good weight management. There are also some surgical procedures such as hip replacements and femoral head osteotomies (removal of the head and neck of the femur).  Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent long-term arthritis caused by the condition.

Although the only way to confirm that a dog has hip dysplasia is by x-ray, owners can look out for some common signs:

  • Bunny hopping
  • Difficulty jumping on and off items or into/out of cars
  • Difficulty climbing stairs
  • Sitting abnormally
  • Lameness

For more support and advice, please email ask@oaktreeanimals.org.uk 

Hip Dysplasia

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