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What Are The First Signs of Hip Dysplasia In Dogs?

What Are The First Signs of Hip Dysplasia In Dogs?

Hip dysplasia in dogs is a very common, painful orthopaedic condition, where the ball at the top of thigh bone (femur) doesn't sit well in socket of the hip joint. Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition. Although some breeds are more vulnerable to it than others - e.g. rapidly growing large breeds - any dog can develop it. 

Damage to your dog's hip joint(s) is thought to occur during a puppy’s most rapid growth at 14-26 weeks of age, however generally symptom onset and diagnosis occurs at 6-12 months of age. Some dogs, with a mild form of the condition, won’t show signs until they are much older however and have developed arthritis of the hips.

Symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs usually start while they are growing and can vary depending on severity of the condition.

The most common signs of hip dysplasia in dogs are:

  • Being reluctant to exercise, or a wobbly or swaying gait
  • A bunny-hopping gait (using both hind legs together)
  • Stiffness, lameness or limping, particularly in the hind legs
  • Difficulty in getting up or lying down, as well as difficulty in going up or down stairs or jumping
  • Skinny hips, a sign of a lack of muscle and weakness in the hindquarters
  • Pain or sensitivity in the hip area
  • Audible clicking or popping sounds in the hip joint

Another sign of hip dysplasia in your dog that you might notice is that they're standing with a more narrow stance than usual. Your dog may be standing with their back legs positioned closer together. It's not their normal way of standing.

This dog hip dysplasia stance is a compensatory method to reduce pressure and discomfort on the hip joints. Each individual dog will have their own pain tolerance, so just because you don't see the dog hip dysplasia stance doesn't meant that your dog doesn't have hip dysplasia.

Although symptoms of hip dysplasia can really differ, it does not usually present as acute pain. Your dog is unlikely to yelp for example. Pain is more likely to be the dull, continuous type although sharper pain can be experienced by your dog when tested using manual manipulation by your vet for example, or if osteoarthritis has developed as a secondary condition.

Read more about Dog Hip Dysplasia Causes, Prevention and How to Help at home 

Previous article Reasons Your Dog May Lose Hind Leg Mobility

What is Hip Dysplasia in Dogs? Causes, Prevention and How to Help

Hip dysplasia is a painful condition that causes the hip joint to develop abnormally

Read About Hip Dysplasia

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