Early Warning Signs of Hip Dysplasia


Canine hip dysplasia is a genetic problem that begins to appear between the ages of 4-12 months. The joints and hip begin to develop abnormally which hinder the dog's ability to walk. The head of the leg bone doesn't fit properly into the hip socket. The hip's ball and socket become loose and unstable, which causes inflammation, pain and weakness.

One way to tell if a puppy will develop hip dysplasia is to examine how it moves around. If the puppy is slow to perform certain tasks (such as (such as popping up on all fours, taking the stairs or jumping) this may be a sign of possible joint problems. Some pugs do not show any characteristics of dysplasia until the problem is already well advanced.

The most reliable way of diagnosing whether your pug suffers from this disease is through an xray, which usually requires the dog to be heavily sedated or anesthetized.

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia

The symptoms are usually less evident when the disease begins to develop and becomes more intense and obvious as the dog ages.

The symptoms include - Inactivity - Refusal to play, climb stairs, run and jump - Limping or difficulty moving the rear legs - Walking with the hind legs together with small "bunny hopping" or swinging motions motions - Stiffness in the hip and back legs - Pain when touched about the pelvis or hips - Atrophy of the muscles of the hind legs - Difficulty rising, especially in the morning and after a long rest - Curved back because the dog tries to support its weight on the front legs.

These symptoms may be constant or intermittent. They also tend to worsen after exercise or playtime.

Causes of Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a complex disease caused by several components, both genetic and environmental. There are many many factors that affect the development of the hip or exacerbate the symptoms, including rapid development, weight gain, excessive exercise and injury to the legs.

Treatment of Hip Dysplasia

Although there isn't a cure for hip dysplasia, there are treatments that allow better mobility and relief from pain, including both surgical and non-surgical options. T decide what treatment to follow, consider the dog's age, size, general health status and degree of damage to the hip.

Temperature can play a significant role in your pet''s comfort, as the cold weather does not help the mobility of the bones. Place a hot water bottle or a heating blanket on the dog's hind legs to relax the muscle.

Therapeutic massage is also ideal for animals. It soothes and stretches the muscles and alleviates pain. Use circular motions, pressing gently with fingertips. If well tolerated, give the dog a massage for ten minutes on each side.

Keep in mind; if hip dysplasia is not treated, the dog will suffer and will probably become incapacitated. For dogs that reach very advanced degrees of hip dysplasia, surgery will be the most probable resolution.

Prevention and Precautions

Since hip dysplasia is typically inherited from the parents of the dog, the only way to avoid the disease is with good breeding.

Before purchasing your pug, it's best to check pedigrees through the OFA and PennHip. You can evaluate prior health problems of the parents and get an idea of whether your pug has the gene for hip dysplasia. Ideally, you can also access the ptes and grandparents.


lulu12 (over 4 years ago)

My 2 yr old LuLu drags her rear really bad. Went to vet twice in one month, anal glan was expressed, told it wasn't bad, but she contines dragging her rear. Told it could be an allergy so I gave her allergy meds and that didn't help. Treated her with Prep H, she is still dragging her butt.