Hip Dysplasia in Golden Retrievers

The following information courtesy of Animal Aid - If you wish to print a PDF of this information please click on the this link Canine Hip Dysplasia PDF

Canine Hip Dysplasia

Why is Hip Dysplasia Important?
Hip dysplasia is a common developmental disorder in large and giant breeds such as the German Shepherd, Labrador, Rottweiler, Newfoundland, and Golden Retriever. Hip dysplasia is heritable, so breeding of affected dogs is not recommended.

What Is a Normal Hip Joint?

The hip joint consists of a ball (the femoral
head) in a socket (the acetabulum). Both surfaces are covered in a thin layer of cartilage that protects them from wearing out.

What is Hip Dysplasia?

• The femoral head is loose relative to the acetabulum. This results in abnormal force distribution across the joint.

• The protective cartilage wears away, leaving the
underlying bone exposed.

• The pain resulting from bone on bone contact causes lameness and a reluctance to run and jump.

• Once arthritis is present, it may be managed with
medications, but cannot be reversed.

How Do I know if My Dog has Bad Hips?
• Young dogs develop problems running and jumping.

• Older dogs become less willing to exercise and are slow to rise.

Your vet can do a physical examination, looking for pain, loose joints, and muscle disuse-atrophy.

• Radiographs (x-rays) can be used to determine the presence and severity of hip dysplasia.

Is There Any Preventative Surgery?
• Pubic symphysiodesis is a minimally invasive procedure that has been shown to eliminate the development of loose hips in very young pups. This procedure can only be done on dogs that still have open pelvic growth plates. In this procedure, the pubic symphyseal growth plate is surgically fused, which stops growth of this part of the pelvis. As the rest of the pelvis continues to grow, the fused symphysis increases the acetabular covering of the femoral head.

• It must be performed before 20 weeks of age to work.

• Screening of high risk breeds is recommended.

Other Procedures for Hip Dysplasia
• Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO) involves rotation of the acetabulum to improve coverage of the femoral head. It may only be performed on dogs tthat are in pain and have no radiographic evidence of arthritis. This usually means young dogs.
Hip Arthritis – A Consequence of Hip Dysplasia
If your dog has hip arthritis, there are medical and surgical options to allow him or her to lead a more comfortable life

Medical Management
• Weight control (excessive bodyweight means extra strain on the joints)
• Exercise moderation (frequent low-impact exercise is best)
• Strategic use of pain relief drugs (to make sure your pet is not suffering)
• Chondroprotective agents such as Cartrophen (acts to improve quality of joint fluid and cartilage in diseased joints)

• Dietary manipulation using fish oils etc. (Omega 3 supplements and glucosamines may help to decrease inflammation, and therefore arthritis and pain)

Surgical Options
- Coxofemoral neurectomy
(disabling the nerve which enables pain recognition in the hip joint)
- Femoral head and neck excision (removing the femoral head and neck to eliminate
boney contact by effectively removing hip joint)
- Total hip replacement (a prosthetic hip)