Hip dysplasia is the most commonly inherited orthopedic disease is dog. It affects all dogs with some breeds more affected than others. Large and giant breeds seem to have more problems with hip dysplasia but we can and do see it in small and toy breeds as well as cats.
Hip dysplasia is the abnormal or faulty development of the hip. This causes excessive wear on the joint cartilage and eventually leads to the development of osteoarthritis (OA). There are multiple factors that lead to dysplasia including multiple genetic factors and environmental factors (ie. weight, age).
The clinical signs associated with hip dysplasia are the result of the formation of osteoarthritis(OA). The severe form of the disease can present as early as 5-12 months of age. There is overt pain, lameness, low exercise tolerance, reluctance to jump or climb stairs. You may hear a “click” when your pet is walking and muscle atrophy (decreased muscle mass) may be visible in the thigh muscles of the rear limbs. Clinical signs in the milder, chronic form of hip dysplasia develop later in life and may initially present as mild discomfort and stiffness. This can progress to more severe pain, difficulty getting up, hesitance with stairs and jumping and there is often a crepitus (a grating sound produced but the friction between bone and cartilage) and decreased range of motion in the hips.