Hip dysplasia in dogs: symptoms, treatment and prevention


Saint-Bernard, Rottweiler, Labrador, German Shepherd… there are quite a few breeds that can be affected by hip dysplasia. This disease resulting from a deformation of the joint claims many victims, especially in large dogs. What are the causes, consequences and how to treat it?

Hip dysplasia: definition

Hip dysplasia is a malformation that occurs in the joint and is manifested by an asymmetry of the head of the femur with the cavity of the pelvic bone that should normally accommodate it. In principle, the femur and this cavity must be united by a fibrous capsule including a ligament and a joint.

Dysplasia appears following a relaxation of this ligament. The deformation takes place gradually until it becomes disabling and particularly painful for the animal, especially if it has aged and also develops osteoarthritis. Dysplasia is not a congenital condition, but there are just breeds that have genetic predispositions. It will be formed little by little and it has several causes.

What are the causes of this pathology?

Countless factors will cause the appearance of this hip-femoral laxity. The first being obesity or very rapid growth. It is very important to pay attention to the puppy’s diet. When he consumes foods that are too high in calories, he grows too fast and this will promote the onset of the disease.

Overweight is another danger that predisposes the animal to dysplasia. As another factor, we can also cite inappropriate exercises. Of course, puppies need to be active, but when they are done too much before the end of their growth, the chances of the disease appearing are high. Finally, this deformation of the joint can quite simply be the result of more or less serious falls.

Symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs

A dog with dysplasia will exhibit a number of symptoms. He may have an abnormal gait, refuse to exercise, run or jump, have protruding hip bones, and quite marked lameness. Atrophy, limp, curved shoulder, audible bone click, inactivity are other associated symptoms which may be intermittent or constant.

How to treat her?

There are two types of treatment to be carried out to treat this pathology. The first does not require surgery and will consist of performing care almost similar to those practiced for osteoarthritis: analgesic and anti-inflammatory, physiotherapy, weight control, chondroprotectors, nutritional supplements.

This kind of treatment is only done if the dysplasia has been diagnosed early on. When the disease has developed, surgical management will then be necessary. The veterinarian carries out the fitting of a hip prosthesis, a denervation of the hip, a pelvic or pelvic osteotomy or even carries out the implantation of gold balls which will avoid the use of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Breeds predisposed to dysplasia problems

It is important to specify that dysplasia generally affects large or giant dogs to name only the Naples Mastiff, the Belgian Malinois Shepherd, the German Shepherd, the Bernese Mountain Dog, the Saint-Bernard, the Golden Retriever. or the Whippet. So that children do not suffer from this joint problem, they should not do extensive exercise before their first year and must receive quality nutrition.

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