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Signs (Symptoms) of Hip Dysplasia

Firstly it is important to understand that there are many degrees of dysplasia, and therefore there are many degrees of signs your dog may show to alert you if something is wrong. Also, even more importantly is that many dogs don't show any signs that their owners notice for many years. For this reason, if you are considering breeding from your dog, it is important to wait until the dog is mature (around 2 years old) and have both the sire and dam hip scored first.

The dog may often be noticed:

  • standing with his legs too close together
  • movement that reminds you of 'bunny hopping'
  • walking like Marilyn Monroe
  • limping may be noticed as often one side of the hip is more affected than the other
  • walking slowly and cautiously especially on slippery surfaces
  • difficulty in rising from a lying position
  • reluctance to navigate stairs
  • reluctance to play with other animals

Most of the signs described in the list above are actually your dog attempting to AVOID pain and discomfort. Standing in certain positions brings some relief from the body weight being held by sore joint areas. Walking in certain ways prevents too much pain as does limping where the dog is attempting not to put his full body weight on the worst hip side, and the final signs are purely avoidance tactics for activities that have been painful previously.

This means that they are not actually true symptoms but behaviours and motor patterns the dog is developing as a result of the disorder in an attempt to self-manage the situation.

Probably it is easiest to watch this video and see some of these for yourself

Links to article sections for Canine Hip Dysplasia:

Introduction What is canine hip dysplasia?
Normal hips description and xray image of normal dog hips
Abnormal / dysplastic hips understand what it means to say hips are abnormal or dysplastic
Symptoms of dysplasia signs to watch for in your dog
Diagnosing dysplasia how canine hip dysplasia is diagnosed
Interventions and management what are the treatment options for canine hip dysplasia?
Genetics of dysplasia is canine hip dysplasia inherited or caused by environment?
Breeding decisions how do I know if I should breed my dogs?
The AVA/ANKC hip dysplasia scoring scheme an explanation of how this scoring scheme is used
PennHIP® method an explanation of the PennHIP radiographic method

male maremma playing with his pups displaying the loving nature of these livestock guardian dogs

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