Hip dysplasia is the shape and conformation of a dogs hips, usually determined by hereditary factors although there is still debate as to how much diet and early exercise are involved (this is one of the reasons why some breeders advise you should limit a puppy’s exercise until they are fully developed). In the normal dog the hip joints should be smooth and round, the surface of the joint looking like a ‘ball’ sitting neatly in the socket. In HD the ‘ball’ may be flattened, not sitting in the socket, which may be deformed itself, or even nowhere near the socket (see the X ray). These abnormal joints can lead to instability, weak gait and pain. Treatment sometines just involves limiting the dog’s weight and painkillers but can also involved surgery such as removing part of the joint or even total hip replacement. Because HD has a hereditary component the hips can be X rayed and ‘scored’ in breeding animals so only those with good hips are used for breeding.
Hip arthritis is an arthritic change just like arthritis anywhere which can result in pain and swelling. This is usually the result of wear and tear but is worsened by weight issues and HD. Treatment is painkillers/anti inflammatories, weight control and physiotherapy.
Both conditions can be seen in dogs of any age, but arthritis is usually assocaited with older animals.