Ask the Vet | Canine hip dysplasia treatment

Canine hip dysplasia treatment consists of surgical and non-surgical remedies. Hip dysplasia is a progressive disease that is primarily inherited through genetics. Rapid growth and weight gain may exacerbate the disease. Dogs may be asymptomatic at birth but develop the disease as they mature. The main signs of hip dysplasia are lameness, a «bunny-hop» gait, and crying out when joints hurt.

Hip dysplasia defined

Hip dysplasia’s defining feature is joint laxity, which causes increasing malformation of the hip joint as the dog repeatedly puts weight on it. One or both of the hip’s ball joints begin to rub painfully against the hip sockets-eventually shallowing the socket, eroding cartilage, stretching ligaments and forming bone spurs, resulting in painful arthritis.

Surgical treatments

Surgical treatment consists of three options:

  • Reconstruction to stabilise the hip joint, which halts worsening joint laxity. Most effective in early stages.
  • Removal of the femoral head, which effectively ends the ball colliding with the socket. A less-effective, less-expensive alternative to hip replacement, but beneficial to many dogs.
  • Total hip replacement, which replaces natural bones with artificial ones to totally restore hip function and has a 91% success rate. Most effective with heavier, older dogs.

Non-surgical treatments

These non-surgical treatments may benefit your dog whether surgery is performed or not:

  • Phenylbutazone, glycosaminoglycosans and corticosteroids, prescribed and monitored by a vet. Do not give your dog even plain aspirin without your vet’s approval.
  • Moderate exercise, which builds strong muscles that support weak bones. Choose walking, swimming, jogging. Avoid acrobatic exercise, like playing frisbee and jumping. 
  • Sensible diet.
  • Warm, soft bed.
  • Hot water bottles, placed on hurting hips. Do not use heating pads due to burn hazards.
  • Laser therapy in hospital is very effective with pain and inflammatory bone conditions. By Dr Ruan Du Toit Bester

Hope this info helps

Till next week

Dr Ruan Bester

Ask the Vet: Royal Veterinary Centre

Tel: +853 28501099, +853 28523678

Emergency: +853 62662268


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