Hip dysplasia is the abnormal growth or development of the hips. It is more common in large breed dogs such as Boxers, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers, but can occur in all sizes and breeds of dogs (even mixed breeds) and even some cats. Hip dysplasia is genetic, meaning it is passed down from the animal’s parents, but it can skip generations, making it hard to predict.
This condition occurs as the animal grows – the ‘ball and socket’ joint in the hip doesn’t grow properly, causing a flattened socket that is unable to hold the ball tightly in place, which causes some slipping.
It can sometimes be hard to determine if a pet has hip dysplasia because the pain caused by the condition can be mild or severe. Many pets don’t show symptoms until much later in life. Also, a pet’s weight makes a difference in if they display symptoms, as a lighter animal can more easily tolerate the malformed joint than an animal with more weight on its frame.
One of the main signs pet owners can look for when they suspect hip dysplasia is pain or limping, especially during or after exercise.
Hip dysplasia is treatable but this treatment can be very expensive. Total costs for the necessary x-rays, medication, and surgery can cost anywhere from $2,000 to over $7,000. Trupanion offers optional pet insurance coverage for hip dysplasia.
Heather Kalinowski lives in the Seattle area with her husband, newborn son, and two rescued pups – an Italian Greyhound named Ava and a Spaniel mix named Jackson. She enjoys reading, writing, spending time with her family, and volunteering with Italian Greyhound Rescue.