Adobe Animal Hospital

7712 E. Indian School Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85251



I have been told that my dog has hip dysplasia but there is no lameness. 

Can the diagnosis be correct?Hip dysplasia is a deformity of the hip, which occursduring growth. The hip joint is a "ball and socket" joint.During growth both the ball (the head of the femur orthighbone) and the acetabulum (the socket in thepelvis) must grow at equal rates.In hip dysplasia this uniform growth does not occur.The result is laxity of the joint followed by degene-rative joint disease or arthritis, which is the body'sattempt to stabilize the loose hip joint.The degree of lameness that occurs is dependenton the extent of these arthritic changes and may notbe correlated with the appearance of the hip joint onx-rays. Some pets with significant signs of hip dysplasiaon x-rays may not exhibit any clinical signs while otherswith minimal changes may experience severe pain andlameness.

What causes it?
There are two primary causes of hip dysplasia, genetic and diet. The genes involved have not been conclusively identified, but it is believed to involve more than one gene. New advances in nutritional research reveal that diet plays an important role in the development of hip dysplasia. Large breed puppies should be fed a special diet during the first year of life to reduce this risk.

If it is hereditary, are certain breeds affected more than others?
Yes, although any dog can be affected, it is predominantly seen in larger dogs such as German Shepherds, St Bernard's, , Labrador Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs and Bulldogs. Mixed-breed large dogs are also at risk for developing hip dysplasia and should also be fed a special large breed growth diet the first year.

What symptoms should I look for?
Weakness and pain in the hindlegs are the usual clinical signs. The dog appears wobbly and is reluctant to rise from a sitting or lying position. This can be seen in puppies a few months old but is most common in dogs one to two years of age.Dogs with mild hip dysplasia on x-ray may develop minimal arthritis without clinical signs until they are older.

How is it diagnosed?A hip radiograph is the preferred method for diagnosing hip dysplasia.Clinical signs and palpable joint laxity may also indicate hip dysplasia.Any pet suspected of having hip dysplasia should be radiographed assoon as possible.

What is the treatment?
This depends upon the pet's clinical signs and amount of discomfort.There are very effective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs) that have minimal side effects. The choice of medication ismade on an individual basis and various drugs may be tried beforefinding the most effective one.

What if NSAIDs don't help?The alternative to NSAID therapy is surgery. There are several surgical procedures available to treat hip dysplasia. The two most surgical techniques for hip dysplasia are total hip replacement and femoral head ostectomy (FHO). The choice of surgery will be determined by your pet's condition and lifestyle.I originally intended to breed my dog.
What should I do?
Hip dysplasia is a genetic or inherited disease. We do not recommend that any pet showing any signs of hip dysplasia be bred.What else can I do to reduce the risk of hip dysplasia?Large breed or at-risk puppies should be fed a special large breeds growth diet their first year of life. We will give you specific feeding guidelines to ensure that you are providing the best care for your dog.

Is there anything else I ought to know?f you decide to purchase a large breed puppy, make sure that the parents are certified not to have hip dysplasia. Dogs can be certified by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA). If both parents of the large breed puppy you are interested in aren't OFA-certified, we recommend choosing another breeder.For more information on selecting a large breed puppy or hip dysplasia, feel free to contact us at any time.