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What You Should Know About Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Hip dysplasia in dogs
X ray of normal, healthy canine hip joints

Hip dysplasia in dogs is one of the more common joint health problems suffered by dogs of many different breeds and affecting animals of varying ages and activity levels. Hip dysplasia, when properly diagnosed, doesn't mean the end of your dog's active lifestyle but careful management and observing mobility factors is required. In this article we'll examine the impact of hip dysplasia and look at the various factors related to this chronic joint health condition.

Hip dysplasia in dogs

X ray of normal, healthy canine hip joints

In the early seventies, many young dogs were put to sleep after being diagnosed with hip dysplasia. It was practical choice in the old days and dog owners would agree with the decision from the veterinarian due to the understanding that “the dog would be crippled in time, for the rest of his life, or that he will not be able to hunt, track, or do obedience work because of his injured hips”, according to the doctor.

Not All Veterinarians Agreed With This Diagnosis

The truth is that every young dog with hip dysplasia has a good chance of leading a normal and functioning life if nothing is done for the hips except to let time elapse until he has fully reached his maturity stage. Because of this fact, many reputable veterinarians would not perform surgery on an immature dog.

There are no published and worthwhile statistics which show that young dogs subject to such surgery turn out better than those that were not operated. Moreover, those that were left alone are still eligible to compete in dog shows, tracking, and obedience trials. Not only does experience dispute the worth or need of surgery but severing tendon or muscle in the young dog doesn’t make any scientific sense. Its effect is to let the “ball” slide out of its “socket”, and this creates “hip dysplasia” artificially.

When done later in life on a dog with persistent hip pain, the operation can provide immediate relief of discomfort by altering the weight-bearing surface of the hip joint. However, no worthwhile statistics have been published to show the length of time that such relief will persist or the percentage of adult dogs that were improved by surgery.


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  1. Janice Moore

    April 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    My dog has hip dysplasia and she is currently on Cymalgex painkillers, half a tablet daily. Some days she limps and other days she is ok. We have noticed that on damp days, her condition is worse. I read above that sometimes the condition lessens after the acute stage. I hope this is the case with my dog. She is now two years of age. Her symptoms only showed in the new year. Any more information would be gratefully received.

  2. Janice Moore

    April 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    I forgot to mention, she also has cartilage injections periodically. Could she not have a steroid injection straight into the area of pain ?

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