Hip dysplasia is an abnormality in the development of the hip joint. It creates laxity (excessive movement) within the joint which causes abnormal wear, arthritis and pain. Hip dysplasia is most common in large breed dogs such as Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Labradors and Retrievers. The causes of hip dysplasia are complex. Certainly genetics (breeding) is involved but nutrition can also be a factor in the development of the disease. There are a wide variety of treatments available, and the most appropriate treatment depends on the age of the dog and the severity of the problem. Treatment ranges from exercise, diet and anti-arthritic drugs, right through to total hip replacement surgery. Of course prevention is the best cure! So how can you prevent hip dysplasia?
This advice is only really applicable to high-risk breeds:
- If possible, when buying a puppy, ask to see hip score reports of the parents.
- Restrict food intake to young dogs of susceptible breeds (to approx. 80% of what they'd normally eat) and switch from puppy to adult food when they reach 80% of their adult body weight.
- Ask to have your dog assessed for hip dysplasia at 5 months of age when they are being desexed (including manipulation of the hips and X-rays). Hip dysplasia can sometimes be corrected if surgery is done at this early age.
- Don't breed from dogs with hip dysplasia. Have your dog hip scored before deciding to proceed with breeding.
If you have any other questions about hip dysplasia, please speak to one of our vets.