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Canine Hip Dysplasia

Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is the most common heritable orthopaedic problem seen in dogs. It affects virtually all breeds of dogs, but is especially problematic in large and giant breeds. CHD develops into a degenerative condition (osteoarthritis) of the hip joints.

For this reason, there is a large section devoted here to the health issue as there is a lot of misconception about the issue, the impact on the dogs quality of life, life expectancy and the genetic implications for breeding.

It is a genetic trait that is affected by environmental factors and is one of the most studied veterinary conditions in dogs and stands out as the most common underlying cause of arthritis in dogs.

One of the most awful things about this condition for your dog if he is affected by hip dysplasia, is that it is very possible your dog has been in pain and been managing to live with the condition with various strategies since he was only some few months old. You may never have realised, as it is easy to just accept oddities about your dog (or yourself) and presume that is 'just the way he is' since it seems he was always that way.

the stiff movement of the hind legs of this maremma are an indication of hip dysplasia, if your dog moves like this please have him checked by your veterinarian for a diagnosis and management plan the awkward gait of the dog pictured here is typical of hip dysplasia, however veterinary diagnosis by xray is the only way to be certain as other conditions(such as some arthritic conditions and ligament ruptures) can display very simliar symptoms and need different treatment and management.

Therefore detection and diagnosis is a critical health responsibility so that a management program can be put into action to give your dog the best possible quality of life.

If you are considering obtaining or already have maremmas or any other livestock guarding dogs consider the importance of strong healthy hips for the job these dogs perform.

group of very typcial maremma sheepdogs showing good conformation to the breed standard and excllent temperament, it is worth noting that not all the dogs in this photo live together but there is no reason that visiting well behaved dogs can't be welcome with a maremma

If you are a breeder, please read these articles with great care and attention to ensure you are making the wisest and most informed breeding decisions.

This series of articles will examine normal hips, types of dysplasia, clinical detection, symptoms a dog may present, surgical and other interventions, genetics and breeding decisions.

This series of articles will also discuss the hip scoring schemes in use today.

Links to article sections for Canine Hip Dysplasia:

Introduction What is canine hip dysplasia?
Normal hips description and xray image of normal dog hips
Abnormal / dysplastic hips understand what it means to say hips are abnormal or dysplastic
Symptoms of dysplasia signs to watch for in your dog
Diagnosing dysplasia how canine hip dysplasia is diagnosed
Interventions and management what are the treatment options for canine hip dysplasia?
Genetics of dysplasia is canine hip dysplasia inherited or caused by environment?
Breeding decisions how do I know if I should breed my dogs?
The AVA/ANKC hip dysplasia scoring scheme an explanation of how this scoring scheme is used
PennHIP® method an explanation of the PennHIP radiographic method
male maremma playing with his pups displaying the loving nature of these livestock guardian dogs

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