The Basics

  • Seen in young dogs, usually medium and large breeds are affected.  Puppies are normal at birth but abnormal development of the hip (usually both) during the growth phase results in instability and ultimately osteoarthritis.
  • Diagnosed by palpation and x-ray of the pelvis and hips.
  • Can be caused by genetics, diet and rapid growth rate.  Onset may be delayed in susceptible puppies by limiting calories vs overfeeding
  • Rate of progression can vary significantly between individual dogs and can be difficult to predict.

Our Patients with Hip Dysplasia

  • Young newly diagnosed dogs with mild to moderate lameness and pain.  May have difficulty rising, decreased activity level, loss of muscle mass or a “bunny hopping” gait.  Signs at this stage may be subtle or affecting quality of life.
  • Adult dogs with lameness, pain and muscle atrophy due to osteoarthritis in one or both hips.
  • Young dogs who have had a preventive surgical procedure:  double pelvic osteostomy (DPO), triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO) or juvenile pubic symphysiodesis (JPS).  These procedures change the alignment of the joint, improve joint stability and slow down the progression of osteoarthritis.
  • Postoperative total hip replacement (THR) which replaces both the “ball” and “socket” with an implant to reproduce mechanics of a normal hip joint.
  • Postoperative femoral head ostectomy patients of any age who have had a section of the femur removed to move pressure to the pelvis from the leg with a goal of eliminating pain.

How Does Rehabilitation Help?

  • Hindlimb strengthening is the focus for all of our hip dysplasia patients.  The patient’s weight bearing status, degree of muscle atrophy, stage of healing and stage of disease all influence the intensity of a program.
  • Proprioception and balance may need to be addressed after surgery or in older patients.
  • Focal muscle atrophy can be identified, treated and monitored.
  • By setting goals and assessing outcomes patients can meet criteria required for movement into the next phase of recovery.
  • Timeline for starting and finishing therapy depends on the severity of disease and treatment selected.
  • Development of multi modal pain management plan.