What are the Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?
Abnormal hips cause an abnormal gait so that dogs with hip dysplasia often "bunny hop" or use both back legs simultaneously to hop when they run. Canine hip dysplasia symptoms can include difficulty getting up from a sitting position, climbing stairs, and squatting to urinate or defecate. Dogs with hip dysplasia tend to have a narrow stance, that is, stand with their back legs close together.
Some dogs actually have mildly dysplastic hips when they're young (noted on X-ray), but won't have canine hip dysplasia symptoms until they're older. Older dogs tend to have less muscle mass to hold their bones correctly, so that's when dysplasia is obvious, even though it existed for several years. Dogs with severe hip dysplasia have obvious problems when they're young.
Your veterinarian can diagnose canine hip dysplasia with a physical exam for increased joint laxity, limited range of motion, creaking, and wasting (atrophy) of the thigh muscles. Your veterinarian will also take X-rays to diagnose canine hip dysplasia. Because some dogs have radiographic evidence of disease but no symptoms, and other dogs have no radiographic evidence of disease but have symptoms, the diagnosis is often made based on the physical exam and your dog's symptoms.