Before we address what to look for with regard to signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia is dogs, it helps to know exactly what hip dysplasia or canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is. Hip dysplasia is a condition where the formation of the hip socket is abnormal or malformed (ball and socket joint do not properly work together). The condition, which is common in many dog breeds (especially large breeds) can eventually cause crippling and painful arthritis of the joints. It is a genetic trait that can be affected by environmental factors. Certain breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, German Shepherds, Newfoundlands and Saint Bernards tend to be more affected than other breeds. Environmental factors for increasing the likelihood of developing CHD can include excessive growth, joint injury, excessive weight and improper nutrition. It is also believed that neutering a dog prior to reaching adulthood can increase the chances of developing the condition.
Signs and Symptoms of CHD
Signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs can start to occur as early as 18 months. Symptoms may be mild at first but will likely get worse over time. Here are some signs to look for:
- Lameness in the hind end
- Looseness in the joint
- Grating in the joint during movement
- Apparent pain and stiffness
- Decreased in activity
- Decrease in range of motion
- Difficulty or reluctance to sitting up, jumping, running, or climbing stairs
- Narrow stance
- Swaying, “bunny hopping” gait
- Loss of thigh muscle mass
- Noticeable enlargement of the shoulder muscles (over compensation)
If you begin to notice symptoms of Canine Dysplasia in your dog, go see your Vet to have your dog checked out. There are treatment options available which can help manage the condition.