Hip Dysplasia in Boxers

Hip Dysplasia or Hip Arthritis commonly occurs in large breed dogs such as Boxers, Golden Retrievers, Bloodhounds, St. Bernards and Rottweilers . It is a degenerative condition that affects the pelvic area. Hip Dysplasia is highly progressive and often results in lameness of your dog.

Hip Dysplasia is very eminent in aging dogs where the ball and socket joints have gone loose. This is the joint formed by the meeting of the thighbone and the pelvis. When the tissues lining this joint become deformed, the ball and socket do not fit snugly thus causing pain and damaging friction.

When your dog suffers from Hip Dysplasia it is very important to give attention to the condition the soonest possible time in order to give your dog the proper support and the best treatment program.

Aside from old age, other factors which predispose Hip Dysplasia in dogs include heredity and obesity. Most often loose-hipped dogs that mate with another loose-hipped mate often give birth to a dysplastic puppy. If your dog has a genetic predisposition for Hip Dysplasia, care should be exercised that the puppies should have the proper nutrition and should have adequate exercise.

Obese dogs have an increased risk of developing Hip Dysplasia. Dog food is usually over-supplemented with extra proteins, vitamins and minerals to accelerate puppies’ growth and development but this fast growth can create orthopedic problems that may lead to Hip Dysplasia.

Dogs with Hip Dysplasia suffer from decreased activity, difficulty in rising, lameness of the rear limbs, and even swaggering movement. Hip Dysplasia is indeed a painful and crippling disease that is caused by inflammation and decreased mobility and flexibility.

Hip Dysplasia will give your dog problems in mounting stairs, lameness after exercise and your dog may undergo changes in disposition because of the pain.


Dogs suffering from Hip Dysplasia may either show no signs of the disease or your dog may have severe crippling symptoms. The best and most reliable tool to make a diagnosis is to make a radiographic exam (x-ray). Your veterinarian can interpret the results of the x-ray and if you want a second opinion, there is the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals that is composed of specially trained groups of veterinarians who can give you an accurate reading of the x-ray slides.


Although there is no medicine that can cure Hip Dysplasia, your dog can still live long and happy lives if you care properly for them. An old line of treatment would be to give NSAID but recently veterinarians have been prescribing glucosamine for Hip Dysplasia. The pain can also be controlled with the proper exercise and an aspirin regimen supervised by your veterinarian.

Some medicines commonly used to help manage Hip Dysplasia include Acetaminophen, NSAIDs, Cortisone, along with some natural herbs such as Chondroitin Sulfate, Glucosamine, Vitamin C and MSM.

Acetaminophen has been recommended for moderate Hip Dysplasia in dogs to relieve pain. But the disadvantage with Acetaminophen is that it is only a pain reliever and it has no anti-inflammatory properties so you need to combine it with an anti-inflammatory medication recommended by your veterinarian. A special precaution when you give Acetaminophen is that high doses can cause liver damage.

NSAIDs reduce pain and swelling of joints and also improve the stiffness of the joints. Low doses of NSAIDs reduce pain but giving it at high doses can reduce inflammation. Damage to the joint cannot be prevented with NSAIDs and when taken over a long period of time, it may accelerate joint breakdown. Don’t give Ibuprofen to your dogs since it is highly toxic to the kidneys.

A corticosteroid, Cortisone, can greatly help in the reduction of inflammation and swelling. The veterinarian may inject a corticosteroid directly into the affected joint where they exert a powerful anti-inflammatory effect. A corticosteroid injection can give your dog immediate relief for a tender and inflamed joint.

Some dog owners opt for surgery or even a total hip replacement in an effort to gain complete recovery from the condition. But there are usually complications which call for the removal of the implants.

The common surgical procedures being done to correct or treat Hip Dysplasia include Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO) where the head of the femur is removed to reduce the pain. This procedure produces a good prognosis when it is done before your dog is full grown.

Another surgical procedure is Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO). This procedure is often recommended for large breed dogs not older than ten months of age. This procedure is best for mild Hip Dysplasia with no signs of secondary arthritis. It entails the cutting of the pelvis and rotating it slightly in order for the head of the femur to fit tightly into the socket. Bone plates will have to be used to stabilize the pelvis.

A highly specialized procedure that can be performed by only highly qualified veterinarians is the Total Hip Replacement (THR). This procedure involves the removal of the neck and head of the femur and replaced by stainless steel or titanium implants. This is most favorable in young dogs that have almost finished their skeletal growth and also in adult dogs that weight at least 40 pounds. Unlike the TPO, this procedure can be used in dogs with secondary arthritis. This procedure has to be done carefully because although it has a high success rate, post-operative complication can be deadly.

Aside from surgery and medications, Hip Dysplasia can effectively be managed by weight loss programs, controlled exercise, and physical therapy.


Careful breeding is one of the best preventive measures for Hip Dysplasia. Since it is often difficult to determine if your dog has a higher predisposition to developing Hip Dysplasia, some veterinary clinics use PennHIP x-ray technique to detect the condition early on.

Another method is to give your dog a carefully planned diet regimen and avoid feeding puppies with over-supplemented, high protein food so that they will not experience rapid weight gain. It is best to consult your veterinarian regarding the diet and nutrition of your dog to minimize the risk of developing Hip Dysplasia.

Regular checkups with x-rays would also go a long way in keeping your dog healthy and active and free from Hip Dysplasia.

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