Which Dogs Are at Risk of Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is mainly a hereditary condition, but growth problems, excessive exercise, and improper nutrition can increase a dog’s likelihood of suffering from the condition. Certain breeds are also at a greater risk of the ailment.
Most commonly, dogs who suffer from hip dysplasia fall into one or more of three basic risk groups:
How do vets diagnose hip dysplasia?
During your dog’s regular wellness exams, your veterinarian will check your dogs overall physical health as well as the condition of all your dogs joints.
Your vet may move your pet’s hind legs to check for any grinding sounds, signs of pain, or reduced range of motion. If your vet suspects that your pup may have hip dysplasia, blood tests may be recommended to look for signs of inflammation.
Your vet will also take a thorough medical history of your dog including a rundown of specific symptoms, and any previous injuries. Standard x-rays may also be helpful in diagnosing the severity of your dogs hip dysplasia, and to help determine the best treatment for your dog.
Hip Dysplasia Risk #3: Dogs Whose Parents Have the Disease
Since hip dysplasia is often hereditary, dogs with parents who suffered from hip dysplasia are more likely to develop it themselves someday.
Ethical breeders strive to weed hip issues out of their breeding lines through careful hip evaluations. Also referred to as hip scores, these exams are performed by the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals (OFA). If a dog does not score well, he or she isn’t including in breeding programs.
This genetic factor makes selecting the right breeder of the utmost importance if you’re interested in an at-risk breed or a big breed in general. Ask what testing they’ve had performed on their dogs, including hip and elbow scores. Reputable breeders of large, giant, and at-risk breeds will have them done regularly and make them available upon request.