What is Dog Hip Dysplasia?
Dog Hip Dysplasia (CHD, canine hip dysplasia) occurs when the hip joint, which is a 'ball and socket' joint fits loosely together. The disorder is due to a laxity of the ligaments, muscles, and connective tissue, which holds a dog's hip in place.
The end of the femur (the thigh bone) ends in a 'ball' and should fit snugly into the 'socket' of the pelvic bone. In dogs with hip dysplasia, the bones fit together loosely. When the hip forms abnormally, the cartilage that holds the joint together wears prematurely. The laxity in the joint leads to the onset of a form of arthritis called degenerative joint disease (DJD) or osteoarthritis.
Treatment methods include hip replacement, triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO) and Juvenile Pelvic Symphysiodesis (JPS.)
Hip dysplasia is a developmental disease. It isn't present when your dog is born, but develops later in life. It is rarely seen in dogs under five months of age and often does not result in clinical signs or symptoms until age 3 to 5 years old.
It is a genetic dog hip problem with some breeds having a higher incidence than others. The disorder is widespread, with 25% to 30% of dogs suffering from the condition.
Dog Hip Dysplasia Video
This video featuring Dr. Anthony Cambridge, who is board-certified in veterinary surgery, provides a complete overview in this dog hip dysplasia video including a dog walking that has the disease.
Breeds and Hip Dysplasia
Large and giant breed dogs are most at risk for dog hip dysplasia. Smaller breeds can also get the dog hip disorder. Breeds include:
- French Bulldogs
- German Shepherds
- Bernese Mountain Dogs
- Bavarian and Hanover Hound
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Golden Retrievers
- Labrador Retrievers
- Chesapeake Bay retrievers
- Saint Bernards
- English Mastiffs
If you have a dog who is particularly susceptible to hip dysplasia, have the dog checked before breeding.
Canine Hip Dysplasia Symptoms
Note How This Dog with Hip Dysplasia Keeps Both Legs Close Together and Then Will "Bunny Hop" with Legs Together Up the Stairs
Some dogs have no symptoms of canine hip dysplasia even though they have the condition. Most dogs with the disease do not display symptoms until they are full grown. Symptoms often appear like signs of arthritis. Both rear legs may appear to be painful.
Canine hip dysplasia symptoms include:
- When the dog makes any noise or vocalizes when you handle your dog
- Shifting weight from one side to the other
- When a dog cannot stretch
- Reluctance to extend rear legs
- Odd gait or tight skirt with the legs moving together when running rather than alternating (looks like a bunny hop)
- During long walks frequent sitting
- Avoidance or reluctance to play (watch for this in puppies), jump, go up or down stairs, climb, or walk
- Difficulty getting up after lying down
- Early exhaustion
- You hear a clicking or the dog hip pops when walking (can also be a sign of meniscal injury. The meniscal is the cartilage disk at the end of a bone. Note that in some dogs clicking is often normal and of no significance.)
- Hips appear too wide (intertrochanteric width)
A veterinarian will examine the way your dog moves and then conduct a physical. Any observations will be confirmed with an X-Ray. Dogs need to be anesthetized for the x-rays because the muscles must be relaxed, and the hips must be positioned just so.
There are two ways the x-rays may be evaluated.
New diagnostic methods such as the PennHIP model can detect the potential for hip dysplasia as early as 16 weeks of age. The PennHIP model can also detect osteoarthritis. Other vets send x-rays to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for evaluation.
Hip Dysplasia in Dogs Treatment
Your veterinarian will recommend a treatment plan based on the condition and symptoms of your dog. It can be treated several ways, depending on the severity of the disease.
This can include:
- Controlling your dog's weight to take the pressure off of the joints
- Prolotherapy: A surgical alternative where vitamin B12 or Dextrose is combined with lidocaine into the tendons or ligaments. The approach stimulates the immune system to rebuild the tendon where the injection takes place
- Surgery: There is a limited window to correct developing canine hip
dysplasia. Cannot be used once cartilage is damaged. Best
results occur when lameness and other disease symptoms have not yet
appeared. Surgery will not be used if the veterinarian believes that it
will not prevent the onset of osteoarthritis:
Source: VSC Vets
How Much Does Dog Hip Dysplasia Surgery Cost?
Hip dysplasia in dogs surgery costs between $1,700 and $4,700. Here is an actual example provided by Embrace Pet Insurance:
Operating Room Charge
Patch for Pain Management
Anesthesia Gas (60 - 120)
Total Hip Replacement
Hospitalization (Larger dog)
Injection Bid 1
Hazardous Waste Disposal
Cephalexin and Deramaxx
Synovi G3 Soft Chews #240 and #180
Total Cost for Dog Hip Dysplasia Surgery
$4,691.60 ( in this case dog pet insurance covered $3,534.90 of cost if available)
The condition cannot be prevented since it is genetic. If diagnosed early in life, the progression of the disease can be altered. For example, early detection can help to prevent the onset of osteoarthritis triggered by the dysplasia.
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Further Reading and Free eBooks
eBbook PDF downloads:
Overview of what is dog hip dysplasia and surgical options such as Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO) and Juvenile Pubis Symphsiodesis.
Overview of canine total hip replacement surgery (THR.)
Overview of micro and nano total hip replacement surgery in dogs.
Dog Fancy Magazine
Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Hip Dysplasia
Cinica Veterinaria Vezzoni, Cremona, Italy