Hip dysplasia is a genetically inherited problem of the hip joints. Dogs with hip dysplasia are born with hips that don’t fit together correctly.
Puppies born with hip dysplasia walk normally from the very start. Even though the hips are abnormal from birth, usually symptoms don’t show up until the joints become arthritic, which, depending on the severity of the malformation, can be as early as six months of age but is often not until the animal reaches six or more years of age.
With hip dysplasia, early detection is the most important point. If the disease is identified before arthritis begins, then you have more treatment options. Therapies range from nutritional and exercise control to medications or even surgery.
The incidence of hip dysplasia can be reduced through responsible breeding. Only dogs that have been x-rayed and shown to have good hips should be used for breeding. Unfortunately this is no guarantee of success. Even dogs with good hips might carry the gene for bad hips. But selective breeding is the best prevention tool we have.
So here is the sum of what people need to know about hip dysplasia:
• Hip dysplasia is usually seen in larger breeds, but any breed can be affected.
• Early diagnosis is critical in order to have the most treatment options.
• Have your vet examine the hips of your new puppy right away, and if necessary take x-rays.
• If purchasing a purebred dog, buy only from a reputable breeder and ask to see certification that the parent’s hips are good.