Hip Dysplasia is the result of birth defects and growing deformities of the pelvis and hip joints. It is inherited. The “ball and socket” of the hip joint fit poorly causing abnormal movement of the involved legs and pain.


The dog may show no signs, even though severe hip lesions are present, or it can be totally crippled and disabled by the condition. Signs vary considerably but may include:

  • Lameness in one or both of the rear legs
  • Reluctance or difficulty in getting up after lying down
  • Reluctance to run
  • Reluctance to jump
  • Swaying appearance to the rear legs when viewed from behind. 


This is done by x-ray examination. Sedation is usually necessary to restrain the dog for proper film exposure. A dog cannot be confirmed “free” of dysplasia until two years of age, due to the changes that may occur in the pelvis during any stage of the growth process. Unfortunately there is no way to predict how it will develop in each individual or how severe the signs will be. 


Although there is no cure for hip dysplasia there are certain things we can do to make it easier for your pet. It is important for pets to maintain proper weight, diets, and exercise to prevent the symptoms from getting worse. Our doctors may recommend medication for pain and stiffness. Our doctors may also recommend surgical removal of the hip joint allowing a “false” joint to form in sever cases.


Since the disease is hereditary, affected dogs should NOT be used for breeding.

Want to learn even more? Here are some veterinary approved resources: