Canine Hip Dysplasia

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What is Canine Hip Dysplasia?

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a condition that begins as puppies grow and develop. If the hip joint does not form properly, it results in excessive joint laxity (loose joint rather than a normal tight joint). Loose or unstable joints will cause excess wear and tear on the hip joint, which will lead to painful arthritis inflammation. As the condition progresses, so will pain and discomfort.


Arthritis is not related to age. It’s actually the body’s attempt to better stabilize the hip joint.

Is Your Puppy At-Risk?

  • Large breed dogs (over 35 lbs) like labradors, German shepherds, mastiffs, and golden retrievers are more likely to have the genetic predisposition for hip dysplasia than other breeds. However, this condition has been diagnosed in small breed dogs as well.
  • While genetics play a huge role in this condition, young dogs that grow or gain weight too quickly are also at-risk.

Often times, symptoms of hip dysplasia go unnoticed. Some indications that a visit to the vet is in order include:

  • Unwillingness to jump or climb stairs
  • Hesitant to exercise or play
  • Bunny hopping or abnormal hind end gait
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Prevention & Treatment

Why Hip Screen?

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For the Family Pet

Identify your pet's risk for developing hip dysplasia early in life. By choosing to hip screen your pet, you can implement changes to improve your companion's overall quality of life.

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For the Breeder

Reduce the prevalence of canine hip dysplasia by identifying which dogs are suitable for your breeding program.

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For the Working Dog

Whether your dog is used for service, herding or hunting, their work span can be shortened due to hip dysplasia. Determine if the career choice and training program will be the best fit.

PennHIP Method

The PennHIP method is a screening tool that was developed by the University of Pennsylvania's College of Veterinary Medicine. It's performed in puppies as young as 16 weeks of age to determine their risk of developing hip dysplasia. Risk is determined by measuring the hip laxity, or in other words how "loose" the hips are. The radiographs and report findings reveal the hip laxity for the dog, as well as where the individual lies in the breed as a whole. Once results are obtained, any necessary diet and lifestyle changes can be implemented to help prolong the onset of clinical signs.

OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals)

At 2 years of age or older, radiographs of your dog's hips can be submitted the OFA for a hip dysplasia evaluation. Board certified radiologists will evaluate and grade your dog's hips for their OFA certification. OFA is the traditional means of hip evaluation and this subjective radiographic examination will reveal your dog's overall score of excellent, good, fair or dysplastic.