hip dysplasia
Dog health

Hip dysplasia; how can you help your dog?

hip dysplasia
Hip dysplasia! Not a term you want to hear in regard to your dog. But it can be managed.

What is this dreaded disease?

Hip dysplasia is a dreaded term for dog owners. It’s a painful skeletal disease for your canine friend.  The hip joint is a ball and socket configuration. If it’s malformed, the joint doesn’t move like it’s supposed to.  As time goes by, the joint wears down, causing more pain. Older dogs suffer from it more than puppies, but it can show up early in some cases. If your dog is limping, this could be a cause. Read my post for more information.

hip dysplasia

This condition can be caused by several factors.  

– Genetics contribute to this painful issue.  If parents have it, they can pass it on to their pups. If possible, you’ll want to discuss this with the breeder if you’re getting a pup. A good breeder will have the parents’ hips x-rayed to make sure they’re not a problem.

– Size matters. Big dogs are more likely than smaller dogs to have this condition.

– Arthritis or injury can also lead to difficulties, especially in older dogs.

In any of these situations, factors like rapid growth, nutrition, weight, and activity can make the problem worse.

Diagnosing hip dysplasia

Your vet will probably want to do x-rays since joint issues like this can be seen pretty well.  They may also want to do blood work since that can show inflammation.  And they’ll do a physical exam to see how the joint moves.  You’ll want to tell them about observations you’ve made, too, as well as anything you’ve tried and how it has worked.

hip dysplasia
This is a diagnosis that dog owners fear.


Treatment of hip dysplasia is mostly about pain relief and maintenance of function. Depending on the severity of your dog’s condition, lots of potential options are out there. If it’s less severe, approaches like

– activity modification

– low impact exercise

– massage

– strengthening and physical therapy

– weight control

– appropriate diet so puppies don’t grow too quickly

– anti-inflammatory drugs

– joint supplements

– cold laser

For more severe cases, surgery may be a consideration.  It can be pretty costly but has shown good results.

If you’re open to it, you can try some alternative medicine options too. Things like CBD oil, Reiki, magnets, herbal treatments, therapeutic touch, …….. the list goes on.  For the most part, the potential for harm is very low. 

Some methods are more costly than others to try, but these things can decrease pain and inflammation, so your dog feels better. You’ll want to check with your vet about any considerations or recommendations they have.

Living with hip dysplasia

One of our rescue dogs, Lincoln, has been diagnosed with this condition.  We’ve been treating him with ani-inflammatories, joint supplements, CBD oil, and cold laser, as well as making sure he gets plenty of low impact exercise and watching his diet.  Since he was diagnosed a couple of years ago, he has become much more energetic and seems to be really enjoying life. 

For now, that’s working.  We’ll see how it goes.  Since the only cure for this disease is surgery, which is not always successful and has its own problems, management is the key.

Have you had a dog with hip dysplasia? Tell me about it in the comments below.

For more, read my post Dog Hydrotherapy to help your dog. Or check out the AKC post for more information.

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