Hip dysplasia is a congenital disease that, in its more severe form, can eventually cause lameness and painful arthritis of the joints.

It is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors and occurs most commonly with larger dog breeds but can be found in many animals and in rare cases humans.

In the normal anatomy of the hip joint, the thigh bone (femur) joins the hip at the hip joint, specifically the caput ossis femoris. The almost spherical end of the femur fits with the hip bone acetabulum, a partly cartilaginous mold. Hip dysplasia is associated with abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the joint. As joint laxity develops, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other.This is called subluxation. It is this subluxation and the remodeling of the hip that leads to Hip Dysplasia.

Be On The Alert For Symptoms

Dogs of all ages are subject to hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis which comes as a result. It can appear in puppies as young as 5 months, but doesn’t usually occur until the middle or later years in the dog’s life.

  • Dogs often walk or run with an altered gait.
  • They may resist movements that require full extension or flexion of the rear legs.
  • Their run my be “hoppy” instead of smooth.
  • They will show stiffness and pain in the rear legs after exercise or first thing in the morning.
  • They may also have difficulty climbing stairs.
  • In milder cases dogs after a period of movement and exercise, the stiffness will go away.
  • Some dogs will limp.
  • Many dogs will participate less in normal daily activities.
  • As the condition progresses, most dogs will lose muscle tone and may even need assistance in getting up.

Hip Dysplasia Treatments

There are a variety of options available to treat Hip Dyplasia including:
  • Surgery
  • Diet

  • Exercise
  • Physical therapy

  • Weight management
  • Massage

Please call one of the vets in our Santa Cruz office to have your pet examined if you suspect Hip Dysplasia. We will prescribe the right course of action to assure your pet the happiest and most comfortable life possible.
If you think your pet is suffering from hip dysplasia, seek veterinary care at Companion Animal Hospital today.