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Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a defect of the hip joint found most often in giant and large breed dogs. The normal hip is a ball and socket type joint. The socket is part of the pelvis. The ball is at the upper end, or head, of the femur (thigh) bone. With dysplasia, the normally rounded head of the femur is flattened and fits poorly into the socket and/or the socket may be abnormally shallow.

Common signs include:
  • hind leg lameness
  • swaying or staggering
  • discomfort upon rising
  • reluctance to run and jump

Excess body weight or concurrent injuries can worsen existing hip dysplasia. The disease ranges from mild and only slightly uncomfortable to severe and chronically painful. Cases of extensive disease can cause progressive, crippling arthritis.

Diagnosis is based on symptoms, examination findings and x-rays. Treatment is based on the severity of the disease.

Maintenance of proper body weight is important for all dysplastic pets. Weight control and anti-inflammatory medications may be adequate for mild to moderate cases. A modified exercise plan may be helpful as well. Serious cases can require surgery. Although a complete cure is unlikely, proper treatment can give most dysplastic pets a useful and comfortable life.


  • Use all medications as prescribed by your veterinarian.
  • Be sure to discuss the options and outlook for your pet with your veterinarian.
  • Monitor your pet's progress carefully and have him or her rechecked as directed by your veterinarian.

If you have questions about this or any medical topic, please contact your Banfield hospital today.