any particular signs of early hip dysplasia to look for in dogs?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by patandchickens, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    For those who may remember my sorta-recent posts on the subject, we are still looking for a dog. I check Petfinder every couple days, etc [​IMG] Because it needs to be seriously kidsafe/catsafe *and* because my husband is being a butthead [​IMG] about anything that doesn't look part-Lab, it's taking a while. But because he DOES want something medium-to-large and part-Lab, we are a little concerned about the whole hip dysplasia thing. His family's last Lab, in the '90s, ended up with about $10k worth of vet bills, largely involving hips and elbows. Of course we will do whatever our dog needs once we have a dog, but at the same time, I would also rather not PICK one with orthopedic problems already beginning, if it can be avoided, you know? Since we do have other high-vet-bill animals around already, whose needs have to be considered.

    We are only looking at dogs approx 2 yrs and older, if it matters.

    So, are there any sorts of subtle postural things to be looking for (like we've seen a couple dogs that seem to want to sit funny, always slouched to one side or the other, does that mean anything or not?), or is there any way of doing the dog version of a horse flexion test or something like that? Or is there really nothing much you can suspect til the dog starts actively limping or having trouble getting up or doing stairs?

    Thanks for any info,

  2. Amyable

    Amyable Songster 9 Years

    Dec 16, 2008
    Greenleaf, WI
    Hey Pat,

    We used to have a GSD mix, stout beefy guy, and the vet said it's a good sign when a dog has well-muscled hind legs. That means the dog has strong hindquarters and has no discomfort in them. The vet said that about our dog when he was about 2 years, incidentally. I think you can also have dogs tested for dysplasia, although that might not work well if you find one on Petfinder. Good luck with your search!
  3. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    As far as I know, x-rays are the only way to tell for certain and even then, they have to be taken after 2 years of age before they can be certified--that's how hard it is to diagnose early HD. The folks I bought my last GSD puppy from have it written right in their guarantee about HD x-rays at age 2 before they will guarantee the puppy free from HD. They do offer to repurchase if the pup turns out to be positive, but who is gonna give up a 2-year-old dog that they already love?!? What they DO guarantee is that both parents are free of HD as certified by x-ray through the national organization.

  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Yup, I know Xrays are required to *diagnose*, but what I'm wondering is what sorts of signs might make you really go Hmmmm?

    Amyable, thanks for the suggestion re: muscling, that makes total sense (applies to horses as well)

  5. chickendude

    chickendude Songster

    Jun 4, 2009
    Dutchess County NY
    I believe an x-ray can determine if hips are bad. I worry about my black lab. He is 9 months and seems to be okay with the hips. He is already 75 lbs and the larger the dog the more problems they may have. My vet believes he will probably be 90-100 lbs when mature his sire was 100 lbs. One thing we do is keep him very fit and active. He has free run of our property and enjoys every minute of it. Another thing we do is no snacks between meals. Well the only snacks he does get is milk bones but only 3 or 4 a day. Our vet told us to make sure he keeps his hourglass shape. you know big chest and hips and narrower in between the ribs and hips. Good luck in your search and I say go for a lab. Ours is a great dog!
  6. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    Yup, I know Xrays are required to *diagnose*, but what I'm wondering is what sorts of signs might make you really go Hmmmm?

    I have twice now had to retire a dog from competition because of HD. There were no outward signs until we got to the over-the-barricade exercises. Then I started noticing some stiffness. The OFA x-rays showed mild HD and the vet recommended that I stop the hard work--jumping, scaling, etc,--in the hope of prolonging their useful life. In one case it helped and in the other, she started having issues when she was 6 and we put her down from it when she was almost 9 (most of my GSDs normally live to 12-14). But as puppies, I saw no signs at all or I never would have started either of them on schutzhund work.


  7. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    Our lab has dysplasia, which for many reasons, we choose to just treat at home (buffered aspirin when she's owie, massages on her hips when she subluxes, exercise and attempt to keep her weight under control -hard with a 2 y/o who loves to feed her anything and everything now).

    One big thing with her is she runs goofy - like her hind feet are tied together almost when she's not lame (when she is, she doesn't run). She's 10 now, and even with the dysplasia, she has been one of the best dogs I've ever owned. She's beyond fabulous with kids, rarely barks, and when she does she sounds scary (and usually only barks for good reason, like if someone is at the door and we don't notice. If we notice them, she won't bark at all). She's DD's buddy, and my buddy too when I'm stuck home like now. She has fantastic manners around people - no licking, jumping, etc. She loves just hanging out with people though. [​IMG]

    I'd say about once a year she has a bad bout and we make sure she gets her buffered aspirin, massage, and comfy bed, and try to help her on stairs or anything, usually it resolves in a week. When it's like that, she won't use the worse affected leg at all.

    She is purebred, and the previous owners were going to put her down because of the dysplasia. I'm glad hubby got her from them [​IMG]

    So I guess, as long as it's not horrendous, they can be kept comfortable with mild dysplasia. Our dog doesn't have the "slung back" look, she stands nice and square up, so doesn't have that dysplasia look, but she does have it mildly. Exercise, diet and a few buffered aspirin can do well (and she LOVES her massages).
  8. onthespot

    onthespot Deluxe Dozens

    Mar 29, 2008
    Riverside/Norco, CA
    work the dog real hard one day, go back and look the next day if it is off. Look for slight difference in the thickness of the thigh muscles in the rear end. May or may not be able to tell on one so young as two, but by five or six it is more likely to show up. If you want displasia free, probably better to go with a much older dog that is sound, if you don't want to x-ray. There is always a trade off, isn't there? No way to escape "the equation" I always say, it is either time, money, work, heartache, somehow, you gonna PAY... just no way around it. Good luck, and do post pics of your prospects so we can all get a smile for the day!
  9. Morgan7782

    Morgan7782 Dense Egg Goo

    Mar 22, 2010
    Sacramento CA
    Hello! Here is what happened with my rottie when we noticed hip issues. She had a lot of trouble standing up from a comfy laying down position. Occasionally her back end and legs would tremble. We put her on Glucosimine/Condroident, stuff that can be found at any health store. It's good for bones, and really good for older or large breed dogs. I just sprinkled a packet on her food in the morning and she had more mobility through the day. It also helps regenerate bone and muscle loss, so it isn't a coverup like asprin or anything. Just my personal experience [​IMG]
  10. Redyre Rotties

    Redyre Rotties Songster

    Jul 8, 2009
    North Carolina, USA
    If you are considering dogs 6 months of age and older, once you settle on one I would have it exrayed. This way you know for sure.

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