Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is the abnormal development or degeneration of the hip joint with regards to pelvis and femur size or shape. The problem frequently coincides with Osteoarthritis. Most often, pet owners don’t notice the subtle differences in their pet’s hips because they appear normal, while internally, they develop differently.

Being one of the most common skeletal diseases among dogs, hip dysplasia usually affects large and giant breeds. Though it is less common in cats, hip dysplasia is relatively common among Persian cats and Maine Coons. It can affect both male and female and is believed to be a genetically inherited disease. For this reason, we do not recommend breeding pets that have been positively diagnosed with hip dysplasia, nor do we recommend breeding any parent whose offspring has received a positive diagnosis, as the disease is likely to reoccur within each litter.

Symptoms of hip dysplasia: 

  • Bunny hops when running or climbing stairs
  • Clicking noise coming from hips during movement
  • Narrow stance of hind legs
  • Hip area is sensitive to touch
  • Reluctant to get up
  • Scoots across floors
  • Stiffness when standing up from a resting position, or increased stiffness in the morning and after naps
  • Sways when walking
  • Walks with a limp

Pets that grow at a rapid pace or are of predisposed breeds are at an increased risk for hip dysplasia. We would like owners to pay special attention to these pets, especially during their early and elderly years.

How is hip dysplasia diagnosed?

If you suspect your pet might have hip dysplasia, you should first schedule an evaluation. During the exam, the veterinarian will perform a physical assessment complete with a urinalysis and blood work. X-rays are also performed to accurately diagnose the disease. An exact diagnosis requires precise positioning of the hips by our skilled radiography technicians.

After a positive diagnosis, the veterinarian will discuss appropriate treatment options with you. While hip dysplasia is not curable, there are surgical and non-surgical treatment methods that can help reduce patient discomfort and improve quality of life.

Treating hip dysplasia

Both surgical and non-surgical treatment methods for hip dysplasia are intended to lessen the discomfort caused by hip dysplasia.

Non-surgical: Some non-surgical treatment options include weight management, nutritional supplements, and anti-inflammatories. Often, obese hip dysplasia sufferers have increased pressure placed on their joints due to excess weight. After restricting food and implementing light exercise, weight loss can reduce the burden placed on the joints, allowing some relief. Natural supplements that include glucosamine can help a dog’s cartilage and relieve pain, especially when combined with an anti-inflammatory. While liver toxicity is always a concern, check-up exams should be maintained to monitor the levels of supplements.

Surgical: There are several femur and hip modification surgeries that can be recommended for severe cases of hip dysplasia. The most common type of surgery recommended and performed, which also has the highest rate of success, is total hip replacement surgery. Performed similarly in humans, this surgery involves implanting a prosthetic, functional joint. With this surgery, most pets return to a healthy, high-activity status post-surgery.

Keep in mind that a pet with hip dysplasia experiences extreme discomfort in their hind legs, so exercise and activity should never be too rigorous. While treatment is intended to help relieve pain, said relief is not intended to allow for rough-housing or performing strenuous activities. For all methods of treatment, follow-up appointments are recommended, and in some cases required, in order to monitor healing and treatment.

If you have any questions about hip dysplasia or the various treatments we offer, please contact our office.


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Here's a vet that still cares.
Just wanted to say I love Dr. Petcu's staff and his compassionate , caring way of taking care of my dogs.The staff is not only friendly and professional ,they know who you are when you arrive ,and they actually love animals. Is the first Animal Hospital that my dogs are at ease and feel comfortable.The place is very clean and the reception area very elegant and inviting. Exquisite services and Dr. Petcu always take his time to explain the disease and options and still finds time to play with my dogs. He's always treated both his animal and human patients with compassion and dignity,and would never recommend procedures unless he truly feels your pet will benefit from it. One of the vets that cares for your pet. The prices are reasonable and the services exceed all expectations. I Highly recommend Dr.Petcu and his hospital.

Reba S

Western Animal Hospital AMAZING! Western Animal Hospital is the best place in the valley .The staff is professional, friendly, caring and accommodating. The hospital is very clean and upscale. The customer service and the provided services are outstanding.Dr. Petcu is one of the most professional veterinarians that i have ever met in my 25 years of pet parenting. I drive across the valley just to see him( i live in Anthem) .He really cares about his animal patients and it shows in every visits . He is very knowledgeable , compassionate, friendly and always takes the time to answer any question i have and explaining in detail any situation we are dealing with. I had my share of visits to many animal hospitals in the valley but none of them had the last technology as Western - digital X-ray ( they send you home with a cd for you x-ray records ) every room has a computer monitor where the x-ray shows and Dr. Petcu can review with me every detail of it. Also they have the laser surgery and digital dental x-ray. Dr. petcu is one of the most
courteous and pleasant Vets I have ever met. The prices are more than reasonable and also they try to accommodate everybody. I cannot recommend them enough. You can rest easy knowing your pets are in their care.I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS HOSPITAL - THEY HAVE A CUSTOMER FOR LIFE IN ME! very good !

Betty K

Western Animal Hospital this doctor is making a lot of sense and will explain everything in details..
prices are great ....

.the best vet I met !! Pam M. 5 Western Animal Hospital - we are bringing our pets to Dr Petcu for 8 years. He was always helpful, many times we did not have the funds to treat our pets but he was fine with us paying when we had the money. He saved our cats in many instances and all I have to say is that I greatly reccomend Western Animal Hospital for any responsable pet owner .

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