Canine Hip Dysplasia Information – K9 Carts

Hip dysplasia (HD) is characterized by abnormal formation of the hip joint, resulting in degradation of the cartilage in the joint and leading to damage, inflammation, and pain.

The hip joint is comprised of two main parts, the caput, or head of the femur, which is shaped like a ball, and the acetabulum, a concave socket located in the pelvis. The head fits into the socket and, in unaffected animals, the fit is snug and both parts of the joint are covered in cartilage, allowing for a smooth and wide range of motions.

Hip Dysplasia Gait

A dog standing with its hind legs together to compensate for hip dysplasia.

In animals affected by HD, however, hip joints are loose fitting or misshapen, causing damage to the cartilage through excessive wear and tear, eventually leading to inflammation and pain. While cartilage is continually being replaced by the body, the process is slow and the degradation of the cartilage results in a reduced ability to fix the damage.1

Causes

The cause of hip dysplasia is thought to be a combination of genetics and environment. Though the condition can affect dogs (and some cats) of all breeds or sizes, HD typically affects large-breed dogs, due to their weight, and certain breeds. Breeds more commonly affected by HD include Labrador retrievers, Rottweilers, Newfoundlands, Mastiffs, Bernese Mountain dogs, Boxers, St. Bernards, and Welsh Corgis.2

Symptoms

Symptoms of canine hip dysplasia include abnormal gait (how a dog walks, such as straight or normal versus wobbly or erratic), stiffness, lameness, difficulty when rising from a sitting or resting position, or a reluctance to go up stairs or engage in strenuous activity. Due to the wide range of variation between dogs and daily habits, not all symptoms of HD may be present. Some dogs may also have higher pain tolerances than others, allowing them to cope with the condition, masking its presence.3

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of hip dysplasia is generally done through x-rays and radiographs, along with physical examinations. X-rays are important in determining the state of the joint and the level of cartilage damage, if any, present. Other conditions that can mimic symptoms of HD include lower back problems, torn ligaments, or elbow dysplasia.3

Treatment

Methods of treatment for hip dysplasia include both surgical and non-surgical means, depending on how far the disease has progressed. In early or less-severe cases, non-surgical methods can be enough to alleviate or even prevent further progression of HD. Three important factors in non-surgical treatment are weight, exercise, and medication.

Weight control is considered the most important factor in preventing HD. Excessive weight contributes unnecessary force on hip joints, leading to increased joint damage. This is generally why large breed dogs are more susceptible to the condition than smaller dogs.

Reasonable exercise can be beneficial in promoting cartilage growth and prevent muscle loss in the hind legs, though excessively long running sessions or jumping should be avoided.

Pain medication and anti-inflammatories can be used to alleviate pain and discomfort and prevent damage from inflammation. Supplements can also be used to promote cartilage growth and repair. Mobility devices such as harnesses or carts can also help to reduce stress and pressure on joints and can be used in conjunction with other methods.

In more severe cases of HD, surgery may be the only option, including hip repair or full hip replacement.4

Canine Hip Dysplasia Statistics5

Below are statistics of hip dysplasia in dogs from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals between January 1974 through December 2013.

Breed Evaluations Percent Dysplastic
Bulldog 564 71.6
Pug 527 68.1
Dogue De Bordeaux 463 56.8
Otterhound 409 50.1
Boerboel 147 47.6
St. Bernard 2145 46.9
Neapolitan Mastiff 158 46.8
Clumber Spaniel 928 44.0
Black Russian Terrier 560 43.2
Sussex Spaniel 273 39.9
Cane Corso 876 39.0
Argentine Dogo 210 38.1
Basset Hound 201 37.3
Perro De Presa Canario 199 34.7
Norfolk Terrier 301 32.9
American Bulldog 1825 32.9
Boykin Spaniel 3283 32.4
Glen Of Imaal Terrier 174 30.5
Fila Brasileiro 599 30.1
French Bulldog 1180 28.6
Spanish Water Dog 126 28.6
Lagotto Romagnolo 151 27.8
American Staffordshire Terrier 3020 26.0
Bloodhound 2875 25.6
Newfoundland 15501 25.0
Maine Coon Cat 1110 24.4
American Pit Bull Terrier 775 24.3
Berger Picard 111 24.3
Bullmastiff 5654 24.2
Louisiana Catahoula Leopard 584 21.6
English Shepherd 378 21.4
Cardigan Welsh Corgi 1997 20.4
Rottweiler 94253 20.2
Chesapeake Bay Retriever 12947 20.2
Golden Retriever 136408 19.5
Mastiff 11016 19.4
Norwegian Elkhound 3884 19.4
Shih Tzu 631 19.3
Chow Chow 5353 19.2
German Shepherd Dog 107698 19.0
Gordon Setter 6154 19.0
Pembroke Welsh Corgi 11298 18.8
Pyrenean Shepherd 135 18.5
Old English Sheepdog 10779 18.4
Icelandic Sheepdog 303 18.2
Hybrid 1522 18.0
Greater Swiss Mountain Dog 2804 18.0
Field Spaniel 1066 17.8
Kuvasz 1774 17.8
Beagle 919 17.8
Giant Schnauzer 4431 17.7
Chinook 688 17.3
Shiloh Shepherd 834 17.0
Staffordshire Bull Terrier 601 17.0
Affenpinscher 315 16.8
Welsh Terrier 115 16.5
Havana Silk Dog 196 16.3
English Setter 10590 15.9
Spinone Italiano 1224 15.9
Epagneul Breton 159 15.7
Bernese Mountain Dog 18180 15.7
Entlebucher 321 15.6
Australian Cattle Dog 3642 15.4
Polish Lowland Sheepdog 513 15.2
Curly-Coated Retriever 1176 15.1
Bouvier Des Flandres 8271 15.0
Harrier 331 14.8
Tibetan Mastiff 984 14.8
Brittany 18524 14.4
Black And Tan Coonhound 710 14.4
Leonberger 1778 14.2
Labradoodle 288 14.2
Briard 2462 14.1
Beauceron 411 13.4
Chinese Shar-Pei 9654 13.2
Norwich Terrier 873 13.1
Akita 16404 12.8
English Springer Spaniel 15165 12.8
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel 6575 12.5
Portuguese Water Dog 8187 12.5
Komondor 983 12.3
Great Dane 12927 12.0
Smooth Fox Terrier 353 11.9
Pudelpointer 437 11.9
Poodle 23702 11.9
West Highland White Terrier 336 11.9
Irish Setter 11415 11.8
Irish Water Spaniel 1346 11.7
Labrador Retriever 233012 11.7
Boston Terrier 222 11.7
Alaskan Malamute 14006 11.4
Airedale Terrier 6032 11.3
Welsh Springer Spaniel 2050 11.3
Boxer 5537 11.0
Samoyed 16230 10.9
Pomeranian 101 10.9
Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen 726 10.9
Border Collie 11539 10.6
Finnish Lapphund 185 10.3
Puli 1766 10.2
Anatolian Shepherd 1857 10.2
Havanese 3419 10.0
Tibetan Spaniel 345 9.9
Wirehaired Vizsla 131 9.9
Swedish Vallhund 251 9.6
Akbash Dog 544 9.6
American Eskimo Dog 1036 9.6
Norwegian Buhund 203 9.4
Cairn Terrier 108 9.3
Great Pyrenees 6008 9.1
German Wirehaired Pointer 4178 9.0
Dutch Shepherd 234 9.0
Coton De Tulear 753 8.9
Australian Kelpie 126 8.7
Weimaraner 12184 8.4
Standard Schnauzer 4283 8.4
Small Munsterlander 157 8.3
Mini American/Mini Australian 1563 8.1
Wirehaired Pointing Griffon 2104 8.0
Dachshund 100 8.0
Pointer 1615 7.8
American Water Spaniel 766 7.6
French Spaniel 181 7.2
Bichon Frise 3613 7.1
Vizsla 13985 6.9
Yorkshire Terrier 103 6.8
Schipperke 465 6.7
Bull Terrier 106 6.6
Cocker Spaniel 13264 6.5
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Ret. 1987 6.4
Lhasa Apso 814 6.4
Keeshond 4795 6.4
Doberman Pinscher 15761 6.1
Bearded Collie 4542 5.9
Australian Shepherd 32843 5.8
Afghan Hound 6799 5.7
English Cocker Spaniel 7039 5.7
Finnish Spitz 331 5.7
Shiba Inu 3167 5.6
Tibetan Terrier 4043 5.6
Kerry Blue Terrier 1577 5.5
Hovawart 148 5.4
Belgian Malinois 2767 5.3
North American Shepherd 336 5.1
Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier 6128 5.0
Rhodesian Ridgeback 11416 4.8
Irish Wolfhound 1829 4.7
Shetland Sheepdog 20304 4.6
Irish Red & White Setter 250 4.4
Dalmatian 3506 4.4
Flat-Coated Retriever 5618 4.3
German Shorthaired Pointer 16026 4.1
Eurasier 107 3.7
Border Terrier 2724 3.7
Parson Russell Terrier 110 3.6
Belgian Tervuren 6006 3.5
Basenji 2651 3.5
Toy Australian Shepherd 119 3.4
Rat Terrier 494 3.0
Belgian Sheepdog 4104 2.9
Collie 2973 2.8
Pharaoh Hound 485 2.7
Ibizan Hound 367 2.5
Greyhound 351 2.3
Canaan 450 2.2
Australian Terrier 186 2.2
Siberian Husky 17656 2.0
Borzoi 864 1.9
German Pinscher 396 1.8
Saluki 262 1.5
Whippet 169 1.2
Italian Greyhound 239 0.0

References

  1. The Dysplastic Hip Joint“. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. http://www.offa.org/hd_info.html. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  2. Hip Dysplasia“. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/hip-dysplasia. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  3. Canine Hip Dysplasia“. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Baker Institute for Animal Health. http://bakerinstitute.vet.cornell.edu/animalhealth/page.php?id=1104. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  4. Hip Dysplasia Treatment Options“. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. http://www.offa.org/hd_treatment.html. Retrieved 2014-03-14.
  5. Hip Dysplasia Statistics“. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. http://www.offa.org/stats_hip.html. Retrieved 2014-03-14.

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