Ear Infections
Flea & Tick
Heart Problems
Hot Spots
Shedding Control
Skin Irritation
Tear Stains
Urinary Infections
Weight Management
See All A-Z
Ear Infections
Flea & Tick
Heart Problems
Hot Spots
Shedding Control
Skin Irritation
Tear Stains
Urinary Infections
Weight Management
See All A-Z
Breath Fresheners
Chews & Treats
Rinses & Water Additives
Toothpaste & Toothbrushes
Ear Cleansers
Ear Infection Remedies
Ear Mite Treatments
Antibiotic Anti-Infective
Artificial Tears & Lubricants
Eye Inflammation
Tear Stain Removers
Flea & Tick Prevention
Heartworm & Flea Control
Home & Yard Treatments
Immediate Relief
Oral Flea Treatments
Tick & Flea Collars
Canned Pet Food
Dry Pet Food
Raw Pet Food
Adult Pet Food
Glucose Balance
Digestive Health & Support
Grain Free
Joint Support
Kitten Food
Puppy Food
Senior Pet Food
Skin Support
Small Breed Dog Food
Weight Loss & Management
Pet Food Storage
Joint Pain
Joint Supplements
Lifting Harness
Orthopedic Beds
Steps & Ramps for Mobility
Allergy Relief
Compound Medications
Cough Relief
Digestive Health & Enzymes
High Blood Pressure
Hormonal Endocrine
Insulin & Glucose Balance
Motion Sickness & Nausea
Seizure Disorder
Urinary Tract & Kidneys
Bowls & Elevated Feeders
Car Seats & Pet Carriers
Cat Litter
Cesar Millan Training Aids
Crates & Kennels
Drinking Fountains
First Aid
Furniture Protectors
Grooming Tools
Leashes & Harnesses
Outdoor Cat Pens
Pet Cams & Monitoring Systems
Pet Food Storage
Stain Removers
Steps & Ramps
Training Aids
Wireless Dog Fences
Fish Oils & Omega 3
Fly Control
Grooming Tools
Hairball Remedies
Itch Relief
Ringworm Treatments
Shedding Control
Skin Care Supplements
Skin Medications
Digestive Enzymes
Fish Oils & Omega 3
Liver Support
Senior Support
Whole Food Supplements
Arthritis Info
PetMeds Video: Managing Your Dog's Degenerative Joint Disease
Managing Your Dog's Degenerative Joint Disease
Arthritis Blog Topics
PetMeds Vet Blog with Dr. Dym Dr. Michael Dym
Holistic & Conventional Veterinarian
"Over 19 years of caring for the well-being of pets"
Visit his Ask the Vet blog.
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Understanding Hip Dysplasia in Dogs


What is Canine Hip Dysplasia?

The word "dysplasia" means abnormal growth or structure. If your dog has canine hip dysplasia, the leg bone and pelvic (hip) bone don't fit like a ball into a catcher's mitt because the cup formed by the pelvic bone is too shallow. The leg bone slides out of the pelvic socket and may dislocate. Painful arthritis can develop in your dog. Dysplasia can occur in one or both of your dog's hips. Dysplastic hips are one type of degenerative joint disease (DJD) in dogs.

Large breed dogs, such as Rottweilers, are at risk for hip dysplasia.
Key Facts of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
  • Canine hip dysplasia is a form of arthritis.
  • Overfeeding makes hip dysplasia worse.
  • Using joint supplements early in your dog's life can decrease the severity of hip dysplasia.
  • Once your dog has hip dysplasia, he or she should swim rather than run.



Which Dogs are Most at Risk for Hip Dysplasia?

Large breed dogs are prone to hip dysplasia, including St. Bernards, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Rottweilers. Genes, nutrition, and environment contribute to the development of canine hip dysplasia.

Anatomy of the Hip and Hip Arthritis

The hip, or coxofemoral joint (from coax for hip and femoral for the femur thigh bone), is where the spine and upper body meet the leg. Three bones fuse together to make the hip bone: the sacrum, which embraces the lower spine; the ilium which forms the portion we sit on; and the acetabulum, which forms the sides. The acetabulum has a deep groove like a catcher's mitt into which the top of the large thigh bone, the femur, sits. This is a ball and socket joint, and the head of the femur rotates like a ball within the hip (acetabular) socket. The femur is held in the socket by hip muscles and by the round ligament that directly attaches the femur to the acetabulum. The bones are covered with cartilage, bathed with synovial fluid, and sealed inside a synovial membrane. The cartilage and synovial fluid work to cushion movement so that the bones don't jar together when your dog runs or jumps.

Effect of Hip Dysplasia on Dogs

Canine hip dysplasia is a problem for dogs and their owners because it causes severe pain and immobility. If your dog has hip dysplasia, he or she will struggle to get up, to climb stairs, to get into a car, and to squat to urinate and defecate. Many dogs lose their good natures because of immobility and pain. The relationship you have with your dog deteriorates because your dog won't feel like playing, and it becomes an effort to do anything with your dog since he or she needs to be lifted and carried.

Genetic Predisposition to Hip Dysplasia

There are over 400 dog genetic diseases, and canine hip dysplasia is one of the most significant. It is a polygenetic disease, meaning more than one gene is involved. Some breeders certify their dogs have good genetics by submitting X-rays to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) or to the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Plan (Penn HIP). Dogs certified as good or excellent by OFA or Penn HIP are less likely to produce puppies carrying genes for hip dysplasia.

Do Cats Get Hip Dysplasia?

Cats don't develop hip dysplasia very often, but they frequently develop joint problems. The most common locations for joint problems in cats are the elbows and ankles.


Max's Tip: Consider trying a homeopathic remedy or giving a joint supplement, such as Super Joint Enhancer, before giving your dog pain medication.  


Prevention of Hip Dysplasia

Three things we can do to prevent canine hip dysplasia are:

1. Stop Breeding Dogs That Have Hip Dysplasia

Efforts to stop breeding dogs with hip dysplasia have benefited several breeds. In German Shepherds, for example, after five years of selection the incidence of hip dysplasia decreased from 55% to 24%. In Labrador Retrievers, the incidence decreased from 30% to 10%. These efforts have meant that fewer families will have the painful chore of caring for their beloved dog that aches so much her or she can hardly walk.

2. Do Not Overfeed Your Dog

Diet has a profound effect on hip dysplasia. In fact, diet is so important that major dog food manufacturers now market diets specifically for large-breed puppies most prone to develop dysplasia. These diets have fewer calories because research has proven that the less these puppies weigh, the less likely they are to develop dysplasia. Puppies fed 25% less than their littermates had markedly less hip dysplasia as adults; and those pups that eventually developed dysplasia did so at a later age. Thinner pups had more pain-free years than the chubby pups. Keeping your pet's weight on the light side so that the ribs can be felt helps prevent your dog from developing dysplasia, and helps him or her move more easily if it does develop.

Visit our Weight Loss Advice Section for other possible solutions to canine hip dysplasia.

3. Exercise Young Dogs with Moderation

Puppies can be predisposed to develop joint disease if they are asked to do more than they should, such as jumping high or running long distances. Don't have your puppy jump higher than his or her elbow until he or she is at least one year of age. If your puppy jumps on his or her own, do not panic, but do not encourage it either. Design training and agility equipment so that bars are at the level of the elbow until your puppy has adult bone and muscle structure. Because hip dysplasia develops in puppies, protecting them while they're young makes sense.

Swimming is one of the best exercises for dogs because it builds muscles without stressing joints.


Medical Terms for Hip Dysplasia in Dogs Medical terms for Hip Dysplasia: Canine hip dysplasia, dysplasia, dysplastic, degenerative joint disease (DJD), coxofemoral joint

More Information on Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Help / Customer Service
My Account
PetMeds® Sites
PetMeds® Programs
Our 100% Guarantee
About Us
Contact Us
PetMeds® Help
Privacy Policy
Printable Order Form
Site Map
Vet Directory
Request a Catalog

Email Preferences
Easy refill
Track my order
My Account Page
My pet has passed away
PetMeds® Blog
PetHealth 101®
PetMeds® Charitable Causes
1-800-PetMeds® Careers
PetMeds® Investor Relations
pet meds
Pet Meds Photos
Pet Meds News
Pet Health Articles
Affiliate Program
Shelter & Rescue Program
Join our Social Network
    PetMeds® on Facebook
    PetMeds® on Twitter
    PetMeds® on YouTube
    PetMeds® Google+
    PetMeds® LinkedIn
    PetMeds® on Instagram
Copyright © 2014 PetMed Express, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Vet-VIPPSVETERINARY-VERIFIED INTERNET PHARMACY PRACTICE SITES(CM) Online Veterinary Pharmacy Services has earned Veterinary-Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites(CM) (Vet-VIPPS(CM)) accreditation through the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy® (NABP®).
Verisign Secured Click for the BBB Business Review of this Pharmacies in Pompano Beach FL
Live Chat Share Website Feedback