Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: What You Should Know

10 August 2020
 Categories: , Blog


Many dog owners assume that their dog will be fit and healthy at all times. And while this is hopefully true, dogs like any other creatures, suffer from various health conditions. One condition common in many breeds of dog is hip dysplasia. Learn some of the important facts about hip dysplasia in dogs so you can be prepared if your dog ever develops this condition.

What Is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the hip joint is deformed. It occurs as a dog grows. Essentially, the hip is made up of a ball (the top of the leg bone) and a socket (in the pelvic bone). These two are meant to fit together perfectly. However, in dogs with hip dysplasia, the ball and socket do not fit correctly. Instead of a smooth coming together of these two elements, the bones can grind against one another. The joint is also considered "loose" in hip dysplasia because the two bones do not fit properly. Hip dysplasia leads to two conditions. One is osteoarthritis, which is an inflammatory condition. The other is a degenerative joint disease which leads to the breakdown of the hip joint. 

What Causes Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?

Hip dysplasia is a condition that develops while your dog grows and is largely genetic. Large and giant breed dogs are much more prone to the condition than smaller dogs (though smaller dogs can still develop the condition). One way to help potentially prevent hip dysplasia from developing in a dog that may be at risk for developing the condition is by watching their weight. Overweight dogs, especially those overweight as puppies, are more likely to develop hip dysplasia. 

How Can You Tell If Your Dog Has Hip Dysplasia?

When it comes to diagnosing hip dysplasia, there are several signs to watch out for. If your dog has an extreme sway in their back hips when walking, they could have hip dysplasia. They may also suddenly become lethargic or even have lameness in their back legs and be unable to support themselves or walk well. Dogs with hip dysplasia may have trouble climbing stairs or jumping as well. Additionally, they may just seem to be particularly stiff after laying down and could show signs of pain like whimpering or whining. 

How Is Hip Dysplasia Treated?

Hip dysplasia can be treated by an animal hospital. The first thing the veterinarian may have you try is to get your dog's weight under control if they happen to be overweight. A special diet may be prescribed. Supplements for joint health can also be used to help reduce pain and discomfort. Veterinarians may also prescribe medications if they suspect arthritis has developed in the hip joint. These include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or even steroids. Physical therapy is also an option. 

If these options do not help with your dog's hip dysplasia, surgery may also be an option to try to get the joint to fit together better. They can even do a total hip replacement if necessary. 

Now that you know a few of the facts about hip dysplasia in dogs, you can be sure to get your dog to the animal hospital right away if you suspect this condition in your dog.