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What is Hip Dysplasia in Dogs? Causes and Treatment

Hip dysplasia is a condition in dogs that affects the shape of their hip bones, which can cause difficulty walking and eventually lead to arthritis. Hip dysplasia is caused by a combination of genetics and environment and can often be corrected with surgery.

What is canine hip dysplasia?

In general, Canine Hip Dysplasia is a degenerative disease that affects the ball and socket of the hip joint. It is caused by defects in the development of the hip joint cartilage. CDH occurs when there is a problem with the growth or maturation of the Hip Joint Socket Bone (Pelvic Bone). The disease can cause pain, difficulty moving around, and lameness in dogs.

What are the causes of canine hip dysplasia?

The causes of canine hip dysplasia are complex. Before we look at the causes of Canine hip dysplasia, it is essential to understand the basic anatomy of your dog's hip.

The hip joint is located in the pelvis, just above the femur. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint, which allows for a great range of motion. The ball is the acetabulum, and the socket is the femoral head. As your dog matures, the ball and socket need to develop at the same rate, but this does not happen in dogs with dysplasia.

Hip dysplasia is usually hereditary, but factors outside genetics may cause your dog to develop dysplasia.

  • Poor nutrition: Hip dysplasia is a common problem in dogs, particularly those who are obese. Obese dogs are heavy on their limbs, putting extra pressure on the hips.
  • Too much exercise or repetitive motion on forming joints (when puppies are not yet 1 yr old)
  • Injury or ligament tears at an early age.
  • Premature neutering
  • Too much exercise
What are the symptoms of canine hip dysplasia?

Symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs are relatively easy to notice. The most common symptoms include the following.

  • Decreased activity
  • Lameness in the hind legs
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Wobbly, swaying, "bunny hop" gait
  • Loss of thigh muscle mass
  • Stiffness or limping
  • Difficulty or reluctance to stand up, jump, run, or climb stairs
  • Noticeable enlargement of the shoulder muscle
  • Grating in the joint during movement
  • Narrow stance
How is hip dysplasia treated in dogs?

There are many treatments for hip dysplasia, but the easiest and most successful are usually done in younger dogs. This is because the cartilage that forms the hip joint in puppies and young dogs is more malleable and can be repaired more easily than in older dogs. Other treatment options include:

  • Joint supplements
  • Physical therapy
  • Joint fluid modifiers
  • Weight reduction 
  • Non-steroidal drugs
  • Special exercise to stimulate the joint cartilage
How can I prevent my dog from getting hip dysplasia?

The preventive measures pet parents can take to reduce hip dysplasia, and this can include weight reduction, regular and appropriate exercise, proper diet, and early intervention at any sign of dysplasia symptoms.

If you think your dog has hip dysplasia, it's essential to seek veterinary care immediately. Your vet can determine your dog's risk of developing the condition and recommend treatment options. 


At Murray Hill Veterinary Hospital, we're here to help you keep your pets in tip-top shape.

 If you're looking for a place to take your pet, look no further than Murray Hill Pet Hospital. We offer a wide variety of pet wellness care. Our services include diagnostics, pet surgery and orthopedics, as well as pet dental care. We use the latest equipment and technology to ensure that your pet is in good hands when we're treating them. Our staff is committed to helping your pets live long, healthy lives. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your pet!


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