Is hip dysplasia the end? Read more for tips on helping your dog.

hip dysplasia
dog hip pain

What is hip dysplasia?

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.  As time goes by, the joint wears down, causing more pain. Older dogs suffer with it more than puppies, but it can show up early in some cases.

What causes hip dysplasia?

It can be caused by several factors.  

– Genetics contribute to this condition.  If parents have it, they can pass it on to their pups. If you can, 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 hip dysplasia.

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

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


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.


Treatment 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 hip dysplasia.  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.  Read my post about CBD Oil for more. Since he was diagnosed a year 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 this disease is only completely curable with surgery, 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 about hip dysplasia.

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