Hip Dysplasia in Dogs | Symptoms and Signs
PetWave | Dog & Cat Information

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Effects of Hip Dysplasia – From the Dog’s Point of View

Hip dysplasia is one of the most common skeletal disorders in dogs. Affected animals usually start out being mildly uncomfortable in one or both of their hind legs (unilateral versus bilateral hip dysplasia). Their discomfort progresses to pain, lameness, limping and abnormal rear movement as their condition worsens. Dogs with hip dysplasia eventually may have trouble standing up and be intolerant of long walks or prolonged exercise. Their hip joints may click when they rise or move, and they may shift their weight back and forth from front to rear to try and relieve some of the discomfort. Older dogs with adult-onset hip dysplasia will suffer many of the same effects, except their lameness will probably worsen more rapidly than that of younger animals.

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs – What the Owner Sees

It is important for owners to recognize the symptoms of hip dysplasia so that management and treatment options can be pursued as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always easy, because hip dysplasia can mimic a number of other degenerative musculoskeletal disorders. Owners of dogs with hip dysplasia may notice one or more of the following signs:

  • Hind limb lameness or limping in one or both hind legs
  • Abnormal “bunny-hopping” gait
  • Weakness in one or both hind legs
  • Pain in the hip and pelvis area when touched, manipulated or stretched
  • Reluctance to rise (difficulty standing up after rest)
  • Stiffness
  • Reduced activity level; exercise intolerance
  • Reluctance to run, jump, play, climb stairs, get into the car, jump on furniture or engage in other normal activities
  • Audible clicking sound coming from the hip area during motion (“crepitus”)
  • Narrow hind-end stance
  • Poor rear conformation and musculature
  • Shrinking or wasting of hind-end muscles from disuse (“atrophy”)
  • Enlargement of shoulder muscles from overuse (“hypertrophy”)
  • Arched or roached back and extended hocks from shifting weight to the forelimbs

These signs may be intermittent or persistent and tend to worsen after exercise. Affected dogs may seem fine most of the time but will be especially stiff in the morning or after getting up from a nap.

Dogs at Increased Risk

Large and giant-breed dogs have the highest incidence of hip dysplasia; these include Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, Mastiffs, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Rottweilers, among others. Small breeds can also be affected but are less likely to show signs of the disease. Both sexes are equally at risk, and symptoms tend to show up either very early (by 12 months of age), or much later in life. The discomfort associated with hip dysplasia can be exacerbated by obesity, rapid weight gain and accelerated growth from excessive calorie intake. Trauma to the hips or pelvic area can also contribute to or worsen the symptoms of hip dysplasia.

Source: PetWave


Allergies in Dogs

Allergies in Dogs: Learn about Allergies, including how they affect your dog, and what options...

Dog Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety in Dogs: Learn about Separation Anxiety, including how it can affect your dog,...

Hypoglycemia (Low Glucose) in Dogs

Hypoglycemia in Dogs: Learn about Hypoglycemia, including how it can affect your dog, and what...

Kennel Cough in Dogs

Kennel Cough in Dogs: Learn about Kennel Cough, including how it can affect your dog,...

Heart Murmurs in Dogs



Dog Health Dog Health
Learn about the most common diseases affecting dogs
Puppy Training Getting a Puppy
A new puppy in the house can cause quite a whirlwind of excitement
Dog Breeds List of Dog Breeds
Comprehensive list of dog breeds with specific breed information

Find a Dog Breed?

With so many dog breeds to choose from, sometime it's easier to seach based on certain characterisitcs.

Caring for your Dog?

There is more to caring for your dog than just feeding it. Find out all you need to know to make sure your pet stays healthy.

Training your Dog?

A dog's behavior plays a key role in making a great pet. Training your dog makes a happier dog, and you will be happier too.

Ask a vet?

Have a question?
Ask a Vet Online NowSM

Ask a Vet

About Us | Review Board | Badges | Tell a Friend | Bookmark this Page | Submit Feedback | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
Dog Breeds | Cat Breeds | Dog Health | Cat Health | Dog Training | Cat Training | Dog Care | Cat Care | Dog Adoption | Cat Food & Diet

Advertise on petwave.com - A Pet360 Media Network Partner

Become a Fan of Petwave.com on Facebook Become a Fan on Facebook Follow PetWave.com on Twitter Follow PetWave.com on Twitter Email Friend about Petwave.com Tell your friends about PetWave

© 2015 PetWave Corporation. All rights reserved
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian. PetWave disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
For more information view our Terms of Service.