What is it?

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition in which the ligaments and joint capsule that stabilise the hip become loose. This leads to the hip’s ball and socket joint developing abnormally. All dogs with hip dysplasia will unfortunately also develop osteoarthritis in the affected joint.


Who is affected?

This is a disease is common in larger and heavier dogs, such as Labradors and rottweilers, however it is also common in springer spaniels and cocker spaniels. It is most commonly diagnosed in young dogs at 6-12 months old. Obesity, genetic predisposition, and nutrition can be a factor in this condition.


What are the signs?

Some signs of hip dysplasia include lameness, difficulty getting up and down, reduction in the amount of exercise they want to undertake, stiffness, trouble climbing steps and jumping, unusual gait, reduced hip flexion, pain and guarding their hip.


What can I do?

Your veterinary surgeon can diagnose hip dysplasia by taking X-rays, and CT scanning or MRI if needed. After diagnosis, conservative or surgical management can then be discussed with your vet. After they have recovered from surgery or if you have chosen to treat them with conservative methods, physiotherapy and hydrotherapy is very important to increase joint range of motion, reduce stiffness and muscle tension, prevent contracture, and increase muscle mass and endurance.

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