Hip dysplasia is a common disease that may present at different times of an animal’s life depending on its severity. It is characterised by abnormal shape of the hip joint (formed by the pelvis and the femur), and results in instability of the joint known as “subluxation”. Subluxation causes the joint capsule and ligaments to stretch, causing pain and inflammation. Over time, subluxation causes abnormal wear on certain structures around the joint, which worsens the instability and inflammation. In severe cases, the instability can lead to dislocation of the hip joint. During an examination, your vet may detect pain on pressure over the hip joint, and pain on extension of the hip. The hip joint may not be able to extend completely.
Hip dysplasia may be identified on x-rays, but the signs seen on x-rays do not always directly relate to the painful signs seen in the animal.
Hip dysplasia may be managed in a range of different ways. Sometimes conservative treatment such as nutritional support and supplementation, and anti-inflammatory pain medications may be enough to manage the signs. Surgery may be recommended in some cases, with procedures such as Total Hip Replacements, or salvage procedures like Femoral Head & Neck Ostectomy.
Surgery for all of these diseases is best performed by a specialist orthopaedic surgeon. For some cases, we can arrange for a specialist surgeon to visit our clinic, but other cases will require referral to a specialist veterinary referral hospital such as Animal Referral Hospital, or Veterinary Specialist Services. For more information about surgical treatment and referral, please speak with your vet.