What is canine hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is an abnormality in the hip joint that affects the ‘ball and socket’ nature of the joint and makes the hip more lax.
It’s a common condition, particularly in larger dogs, but can also affect small dog breeds and cats. The condition is mostly genetic, although external factors like obesity in puppyhood may have an effect on its development in later years.

What are the symptoms?

Hip dysplasia in dogs tends to be noticeable in symptoms relating to their hind legs. These can include:

  • Hind limb stiffness
  • Trouble exercising
  • Difficulty rising
  • Swaying when walking
  • Restlessness
  • Limping on hind legs

These symptoms usually develop when the dog is young and growing (the first year of their life) or during early adulthood. Hip dysplasia will often lead to arthritis.



The diagnosis

Examination – The first step of diagnosis may be a clinical examination. Your vet might have noticed an unusual gait, and wish to examine your pet further.

Advanced imaging – Our specialists might suggest your pet undergoes an MRI or CT scan, where they’ll be looked after by our caring nursing team.

Consultation – You’ll then have a consultation with one of our orthopaedic clinicians, who will be able to effective diagnose hip dysplasia and offer a proposed treatment route.

How do we treat hip dysplasia?

There are a range of treatment options that will depend on the severity of the condition. Your specialist will be able to advise on the best course of action for your pet.

Non surgical management – Non-surgical options focus on physiotherapy, body weight management and anti-inflammatory pain medication. This can be more suitable for younger dogs whose livelihood isn’t significantly impacted.

Total hip replacement – In the most severe cases, surgery is required. In this procedure, the ball and socket parts of the joint are replaced with metal and plastic implants. The success rate for a total hip replacement is very high.