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Hip Dysplasia in Dogs and Cats

By Guest Blogger Heather Reynolds of Trupanion, a leading pet insurance company in North America

Hip dysplasia is a common health concern in many dogs and some cats. It’s heartbreaking to watch a pet suffer from this condition, and while it’s quite common, many people may not know what they are witnessing.

Cocker Spaniels are prone to hip injury.

What is Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is the abnormal formation of the hip in which the ball and socket do not properly fit together. It’s a genetic condition that occurs during a puppy’s or kitten’s growing phase, but you may not see signs until adulthood.

What are the Symptoms?
Pets may become stiff or sore, or show signs of lameness. They may develop an abnormal gait or start favoring a leg. They may become reluctant to walk, run, jump up, climb stairs or exercise. From this lack of activity, the muscle mass in the hip area may start wasting away.

Diagnosis
Most often, X-rays are used to confirm the presence of hip dysplasia.

Treatment
There are varying degrees of hip dysplasia, and each case must be treated on its own merits. While there is no complete cure, there are a range of treatment options that alleviate the clinical signs. Non-surgical interventions include weight control, exercise control and medication. If these three elements fail to maintain an adequate quality of life, surgical options are available.

Cost of Treatment
If surgery is needed, treatment can cost between $2,000 and $7,000 which includes pre-surgical x-rays, anesthesia and monitoring, epidural, surgery, post-operative x-rays and medications. To see a real-life example of the cost of hip dysplasia, click here.

Some Main Coon cats can get hip dysplasia.

Which Breeds are Prone to Hip Dysplasia?
Larger dog breeds are most prone to this condition, however small dog breeds and some cats can also be affected. Here are few examples of affected breeds (this is not a comprehensive list):
Australian Shepherd
Boxer
Cocker Spaniel
French Bulldog
Golden Retriever
Main Coon (cat)
Persian (cat)
Pug
Weimaraner

Have you had a pet with hip dysplasia? What treatment option did you choose and how did the pet respond?

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