Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is a misunderstood but painful and
crippling disease that results in a weakened hip joint in
dogs that causes painful inflammation and decreased flexibility.
Canines have historically been given NSAID treatment for this
condition, but many vets are now recommending glucosamine
for this condition instead. The purpose of
this article is to provide you with a basic understanding
of Canine Hip Dysplasia and give you insight into its causes.
The word dysplasia means improper growth.
Canine Hip Dysplasia literally means improper growth of the
canine hip. This improper growth makes the hip loose and wobbly,
leading to increased movement of the hip. This will result
over time in arthritis and lameness of the animal if left
untreated. CHD is a condition that while progressive, is a
disease that may manifest in vastly different levels of severity
in different animals. Large breeds are the most susceptible
to Canine Hip Dysplasia, as up to 50% may have evidence of
CHD but many small and medium sized animals go on to develop
CHD. Even felines are at risk for a similar condition known
as Feline Hip Dysplasia.
Many animals afflicted with hip dysplasia
will likely have problems walking up stairs, slowness in rising,
lameness after exercise and they may exhibit personality changes
due to their ever present pain. Animals with hip dysplasia
are at greater risk of injury through strenuous activity. It is entirely possible for a
dog to have CHD but show no symptoms (yet) or a dog to have
severe crippling symptoms. The only way to tell for sure that
your pet has CHD is via a radiographic (X-ray) exam.
Normally your vet will identify your dog's x-ray themselves
but there is also a specific organization known as the Orthopedic
Foundation for Animals that is comprised of specially trained
groups of veterinatians that know how to correctly identify
hip dysplasia in pets. They are available as a second opinion
The interaction between genes and the environment
plays a large part in determining if a dog will develop hip
dysplasia. While poor breeding does not always mean the animal
will surely be afflicted with hip dysplasia, there is a genetic
predisposition for hip dysplasia, especially in larger breeds.
If during puppyhood the animal is malnurished, excessivly
exercised or simply has the genetic precursors to hip dysplasia,
there is a greater chance that he or she will go on to develop
hip dysplasia later in life.
Canine Hip Dysplasia Facts
The hip joint is not the only area of the
dog that is affected. Knee, shoulder and spinal joints also
can show evidence of changes. The gradual loss of cartilage,
joint inflammation, bone spurs and pain can all result from
osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia.
Because the parents of your pet
did not ever develop hip dysplasia, it does not mean that
your pet will not develop hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia can
result from genetic mutations or simply from masked hidden
genes that can skip one or more generations.
Labs, Golden Retreivers, Bloodhounds, St.
Bernards, Boxers and Rottweilers are some of the more common
candidates for hip displasia but not every large breed dog
is likely to get hip dysplasia. Siberian Huskies and Dobermans
tend to be at a lower risk for CHD.
Diet can also contribute to hip dysplasia.
Feeding puppies a leaner diet during their formative years
may help mitigate the risk of hip dysplasia and make them
less susceptible to developing CHD later in life. By reducing
the amount of food that has been given to puppies by 25%,
it has been shown to reduce the rate that hip dysplasia occurs.
|For smaller dogs, yowling or grumbling when lifted or
|A lack of motivation to move
|Increased sensitivity to touch
|A marked change of behavior
|A faint popping sound coming from the back legs with
|Difficulty getting up from a lying or sitting position
|While moving, moving both rear legs in unison
|Difficulty climbing stairs
|A painful or violent reaction to an extension of their
|Play or exercise taking more of a toll than it used
|Reluctance to walk, climb stairs, jump, or play
|Hiding or disappearing from sight
|Whining or making noises for no other reason
Be sure to visit the Glucosamine
Product Guide for a review of commercially available glucosamine