Hip dysplasia is a common skeletal developmental problem generally found in larger dogs and, in particular, in working and sporting dog breeds. CHD occurs because the upper ball portion of the dog’s hind legs doesn't fit properly into the hip socket, causing instability within the ball-and-socket joint, which in turn eventually causes the hip bone to tear apart.
At this point in time, no one knows exactly what causes Hip Dysplasia, but most vets now agree that CHD is probably an inherited condition. They also agree that the condition probably isn’t influenced by a dog's diet, although CHD is aggravated by excessive weight and obesity problems. They suspect that the animal's overall weight and/or very rapid growth during puppyhood may be contributing factors.
While some dogs with CHD have no apparent symptoms, others, however, have varying degrees of lameness and arthritic pain. In the most severe cases, CHD can cause joint deterioration, limiting the dog's mobility. As the condition evolves, CHD becomes quite painful and may be more pronounced on cold, damp days. Typical symptoms include: lameness, especially after prolonged exercise, a waddling or swaying gait, difficulty in rising or climbing stairs, reluctance to move, changes in temperament, pain when hips move, poorly developed musculature in the hind quarters and the weight-carrying legs.
Fortunately, there are many treatment options available to help dogs suffering from CHD, ranging from drug therapy to relieve pain to total hip replacement. The use of these options will depend on the dog's weight, age, and severity of the disease. Your veterinarian will help you decide which option may be best suited for your dog.