Orthopedic Health
Hip Dysplasia

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Office location:
1332 S. Plano Road, Suite 106
Richardson, TX
Phone: (972) 699-7387

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Hip Dysplasia

 Hip dysplasia is the abnormal development or degeneration of the hip joint due to an abnormal pelvis or femur size or shape. The problem frequently coincides with Osteoarthritis. Most often, pet owners don’t notice the subtle differences in their pet’s hips because they appear normal, while internally, they develop differently.

Being one of the most common skeletal diseases among dogs, hip dysplasia usually affects large and giant breeds. Though it is less common in cats, hip dysplasia is more common among Persian cats and Maine Coons. It can affect both male and female and is believed to be a genetically inherited disease. For this reason, we do not recommend breeding pets that have been positively diagnosed with hip dysplasia, nor do we recommend breeding any parent whose offspring has received a positive diagnosis, as the disease is likely to reoccur within each litter. Many responsible breeders will have their breeding animals certified by a veterinarian against hip dysplasia before breeding them, so look for this if you are considering adopting a puppy in which this condition is common. Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Great Danes, and other large and giant breed dogs are particularly at risk.

Symptoms of hip dysplasia: 

  Bunny hops when running or climbing stairs. 

  Clicking noise coming from hips during movement. 

  Narrow stance of hind legs. 

  Hip area is sensitive to touch. 

  Reluctant to get up. 

  Scoots across floors. 

  Stiffness when standing up from a resting position, or increased stiffness in the morning and after naps.

  Sways when walking. 

  Walks with a limp.

Pets that grow at a rapid pace or are of predisposed breeds are at an increased risk for hip dysplasia. We would like owners to pay special attention to these pets, especially during their early and elderly years.

How is hip dysplasia diagnosed?

If you suspect your pet might have hip dysplasia, you should first schedule an evaluation with our veterinarians. During the exam, the veterinarian will perform a comprehensive physical examination and orthopedic evaluation. X-rays are also performed to accurately diagnose the disease. An exact diagnosis requires precise positioning of the hips, so most dogs will require a light sedation to allow us to position them properly without causing any stress or discomfort.

After a positive diagnosis, the veterinarian will discuss appropriate treatment options with you. While hip dysplasia is not curable, there are surgical and non-surgical treatment methods that can help reduce patient discomfort and improve quality of life.

Treating hip dysplasia

Both surgical and non-surgical treatment methods for hip dysplasia are intended to lessen the discomfort caused by hip dysplasia.

Non-surgical: Some non-surgical treatment options include weight management, nutritional supplements, and anti-inflammatories. Often, obese hip dysplasia sufferers have increased pressure placed on their joints due to excess weight. After restricting food and implementing light exercise, weight loss can reduce the burden placed on the joints, allowing some relief. Our veterinarians can recommend supplements to help a dog’s cartilage and relieve pain, and prescribe anti-inflammatories and pain medications if needed. Your pet will require regular check-up exams to monitor their weight, level of comfort, and response to medications.

Surgical: There are several femur and hip modification surgeries that can be recommended for severe cases of hip dysplasia, including femoral head and neck ostectomy or even a total hip replacement. Our veterinarians can consult with you on whether these options may be best in your dog’s particular case.


If you have any questions about hip dysplasia or the various treatments we offer, please contact our office.