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Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia almost exclusively occurs in the larger breeds of dogs weighing over 35 pounds, and is the most common cause of rear-end lameness.
What the cause of Hip dysplasia is, is the structure of the hip joint.  Normally, there is, in the healthy dog, a broad pelvis with a rounded cup into which the ball of the femur fits solidly.  The ligaments and good musculature hold the ball in place while allowing free motion of the femur.  Genetics play the largest role in whether or not a dog will develop hip dysplasia.  Other factors include environmental (including weight and nutrition) and under what conditions the puppy is raised, also training methods and rearing practices.
        Even dogs with normal hips can produce dysplastic puppies.
The first signs often appear at four to nine months of age.  Some of the signs of hip dysplasia at this age are: walking with a limp or swaying gait, bunny hopping when at a run and exhibiting difficulty in getting up.  If the dog is rolled onto its back, the rear legs resist being spread into a "frog-leg" position.
It is important that a veterinarian is consulted to aleviate pain and improve function.  Treatment can be most effective for dogs with mild to moderate symptoms that exercise and remain active.  There are several surgical treatments available to dogs with more severe symptoms.  Again, consultation with your veterianrian is imperative.


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