Hip Dysplasia and Golden Retrievers: Your All-in-One Guide

Roberto Manzotti

Hip dysplasia is one of the most common medical problems that Golden Retrievers face.

 

In fact, 8.5% of Golden Retrievers are known to suffer from this disease which is characterized by excessive laxity in the joint or excessive shallowness of the hip socket joint. This condition further leads to painful arthritis.

But, what exactly is dysplasia and why does it affect Golden Retrievers?

In this blog post, we will go through everything you need to know about dysplasia including it’s symptoms, onset, treatment, etc. In as much detail as possible to help you understand better.

So, let’s jump right into it, shall we?

 

 

 

What Exactly is Canine Hip Dysplasia?

Canine hip dysplasia is a skeletal condition often found in large dog breeds.

To understand the disease, you’ll have to understand your dog’s anatomy so, let’s take a quick lesson, shall we?

See, your Golden Retriever’s hip joint has two parts; the ball and the socket. Hip dysplasia happens when the genetic factors interact with the environmental factors. Do keep in mind that there’s a complicated pattern of inheritance for this disorder, because multiple genes involved.

Generally, hip dysplasia happens because your dog’s hip joints fail to develop normally and deteriorate gradually which leads to the loss of function of the hip joints.

In fact, hip dysplasia is easily one of the most common skeletal diseases in dogs.

The gender of the dog isn’t really a factor but, the breed of the dog usually is. The Great Dane, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, and Saint Bernard are a few large breeds affected by the disease.

In some rare cases, small breed dogs can also have the disease but, they don’t really have any clinical signs.

The disease begins while a dog is physically immature and the early onset begins after the age of four months. Dogs with later onset develop the condition because of osteoarthritis which causes the joint to inflammate.

 

What Causes Hip Dysplasia?

This is one of the most-asked questions about the disease. dog dysplasia

There are various factors that contribute to the development of hip dysplasia in dogs which usually starts from genetics. As I mentioned above, hip dysplasia is common in certain large breeds.

However, not all large dog breeds get it.

This is because environmental factors are just as important. These include:

  • Excessive growth

  • The dog’s weight

  • Exercise

  • The dog’s nutrition

 

Large breed puppies have special nutrition needs so this why they need a large breed puppy foods which are specially curated to their needs. These foods ensure that your dog doesn’t grow excessively---which is what leads to skeletal disorders like elbow and hip dysplasia.

So, it is a good idea to slow down the growth of these breeds as it gives time to their joints so they can develop without having strain on them and cause issues down the line.

However, hip dysplasia can also be seen in smaller dog breeds.

Improper nutrition and excessive or too little exercise can also lead your dog to have hip dysplasia. Obesity, too can cause the condition.

Talking to your vet about the ideal diet for your dog is the best option to help prevent the disease.

Here’s a list of common causes.

  • Genetic susceptibility for hip looseness or laxity

  • Rapid weight gain and obesity

  • Nutritional factors

  • Pelvic-muscle mass

 

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Golden Retrievers

The symptoms of canine dysplasia depend on the laxity of the joint, the duration of the disease, and the degree of inflammation.

If the disease has an early onset, the signs are usually related to the looseness of the joint whereas the signs of late onset are usually related to joint degeneration and osteoarthritis.

Following are some of the common symptoms of canine dysplasia in Golden Retrievers:

  • Decreased activity

  • Enlargement of shoulder muscles

  • Reluctance to run, jump, or climb stairs

  • Difficulty rising

  • Intermittent or persistent hind-limb lameness

  • Swaying gait

  • Pain in hip joints

  • Narrow stance in the hind limbs

  • Grating detected with joint movement

  • Decreased range of motion in the hip joints

  • Joint looseness or laxity

  • Loss of muscle mass in thigh muscles

 

If you see any of the symptoms, you should visit your vet as soon as possible.

 

Treating Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

The good things is that there are various treatment options available for treating hip dysplasia in dogs including lifestyle modifications for mild cases and surgery for severe cases.

The non-surgical approach to be used largely depends on your dog’s case and may include the following:

  • Exercise restriction

  • Weight reduction to take stress off of the hips

  • Physical therapy

  • Joint fluid modifiers

  • Anti-inflammatory medications

 

If your dog is a good candidate for surgery, there are a few options which include:

  • Double or triple pelvic osteotomy

  • Femoral head ostectomy

  • Total hip replacement

 

Your vet will determine which course of treatment is the best suited for your furry friend.

 

Prognosis

Dogs that suffer from hip dysplasia have lone and full lives once you seek treatment. You should visit your vet to figure out the best treatment options and lifestyle change to make for your Goldy that has canine dysplasia for him to have a long and pain-free life.

 

Summing Up: Hip Dysplasia and Golden Retrievers

Since Golden Retrievers are large-breed dogs, they are prone to getting hip dysplasia. In fact, studies suggest that 8.2% of Goldies develop this disease.

Hip dysplasia is basically a skeletal condition caused because the dog’s hip joints fail to develop normally and deteriorate gradually which leads to the loss of function of the hip joints which can be painful.

If the disease has an early onset, the signs are usually related to the looseness of the joint whereas the signs of late onset are usually related to joint degeneration and osteoarthritis.

Dogs that suffer from hip dysplasia have lone and full lives once you seek treatment.

 

Have questions? Leave them in the comments, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!

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