Hip Dysplasia in Your Dog

hip dysplasia dogHip dysplasia in dogs is a genetic disease that results in improper functioning of the hip joint, causing it to grind together instead of slide into place. Hip dysplasia can be painful and cause your dog to limp. Hip dysplasia is one of the most common conditions of the canine skeletal system. It occurs more often in larger dogs than smaller dogs and certain breeds are more prone to canine hip dysplasia than others. These breeds include: German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, Saint Bernards, Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands, Mastiffs, Bulldogs, Alaskan Malamutes and even some smaller breeds including Pugs and French Bulldogs.  

Canine hip dysplasia can have an early onset starting in the first few months of a dog’s life. Early onset hip dysplasia is associated with looseness or laxity in the hip joint, which is genetically determined. Latter onset is oftentimes associated with arthritis or autoimmune disease in which there is degeneration of joint cartilage. Dogs that have suffered injuries in their youth such as a torn ACL may also develop hip dysplasia in latter years. Early onset of canine hip dysplasia can result in arthritis in latter years, as well.

Causes of canine hip dysplasia include: obesity, genetics, arthritis, injuries, malnutrition and the condition of pelvic muscle mass. Preventing canine hip dysplasia includes caring for your dog’s health from puppyhood through adulthood.

Hip Dysplasia in Your Dog

Look out for symptoms of hip dysplasia in your dog:

  • Limping
  • Difficulty getting up after laying or sitting down
  • Obvious pain in the hip area
  • Decreased activity
  • Reluctance to run, jump or use stairs
  • Shortened stance (legs stand closer together)
  • Uneven gait or ”bunny hopping” their hind legs

Hip Dysplasia Treatment

hip dysplasia treatmentIf you suspect hip dysplasia in your dog, take them to your vet for a proper diagnosis. Get the full picture of what is going on with your dog and ask as many questions as you can think of since treatment for hip dysplasia is not a simple fix. Canine hip dysplasia is a complex disease involving many approaches to treatment from pain management to controlling inflammation. If your dog has already been diagnosed with arthritis or autoimmune disease, treatment and life management for hip dysplasia will be similar. Depending on the severity of your dog’s condition, your vet will propose a possible treatment plan and how they can help--oftentimes with surgery or drug treatment.

However, there are also natural treatment options for hip dysplasia in dogs and actually much of canine hip dysplasia treatment falls on your shoulders as the dog owner. You should explore several treatment avenues that will support your dog’s health and condition. Physical therapy, ensuring proper rest and weight control will be your ongoing responsibility to your dog with hip dysplasia. Ensure your dog is getting adequate nutrition by incorporating good dog food, supplements, oils and hemp biscuits into their daily diet. A well-rounded, holistic approach to treatment should be adopted for treating hip dysplasia in your dog.

Although it is frequently recommended, surgery is typically the last resort for treatment. Depending on many factors including the severity of your dog’s condition, age and life goals, your vet may decide to recommend surgery.

Hip Dysplasia Surgery

hip dysplasia surgeryFrom the least to most invasive, types of surgery for hip dysplasia in dogs include juvenile pubic symphysiodesis, triple pelvic osteotomy and total hip replacement. Make sure to get as much information as you can from your vet before undergoing surgery, including knowing the cost and risks involved, how to prepare for surgery and what to expect afterward. Concerns about surgery and dog anesthesia are common and your vet will hopefully be able to minimize those concerns for you. While surgery is the most extreme measure, it is sometimes completely necessary for the best chance at recovery and life management for hip dysplasia in your dog.


While the unfortunate reality of canine hip dysplasia is common among our furry friends, we are lucky to have plenty of support available for managing it.


Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information contained or made available through the ColoradoDog website is not intended to constitute or substitute for legal advice or veterinary advice.


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