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Hip Displaysia

Hip Dysplasia is a very complex subject. There are no hard and fast rules and no easy answers.


Most of the blame has been placed on genetics, however it does not have a simple mode of inheritance. Most research indicates that it is "Polygenic" that is, there are a number of genes that combine to result in dysplasia as well as being multi-factorial meaning that there are non-genetic factors including nutrition and environment that factor in. Add to this growing evidence that it is a systemic disease not limited to just the hip joints. Even when the parents, grandparents and great grandparents show no signs of dysplasia, the off spring can still show up with it. We have seen many excellent dogs over the years with many generations of clearances behind them produce dysplastic puppies.Even under the best conditions there are no absolute guarantees against dysplasia, however dedicated breeders will screen their dogs for dysplasia however up until recently (last 8 years) Dogs NSW did not have a cut off score for puppies that they registered. This is where a lot of the problem lies. This meant you could have a dog with a very high hip score even dysplastic & Dogs NSW issued Main Register papers which meant that dog could be bred with. Most Dog registrations are done on line, Dogs NSW do not inspect the dogs they issues papers too.This has been going on for over 40 years so you can only imagine the mess Australia is in trying to fix this problem. Actually up until 10 years ago some states did not require hip x-rays to be done at all. There are also some terrible other diseases like Degenerative Myelopathy. This disease at first can be mistaken for a hip problem but it is far worse and once again Dogs NSW are refusing to have this simple test made mandatory. We test for this disease to make sure our dogs will never produce this crippling disease.


There is a lot of controversy as to how much of Hip Dysplasia is genetic and how much is environment. One thing is for sure they both play a part. Now because of this, I have listed below some things you can do which may help your puppy live a long and happy life.


1. A puppy requires a moderate amount of exercise to help maintain muscle tone and minimise laxity in the growing joint. For the first 6 months exercise should be mainly playing. A puppy should never be exercised to the point of exhaustion. Walks are excellent but at a young age they should be short. After 12 months of age you can start jogging but start out slowly and then gradually increasing the distance to 3-4 klms a day is sufficent. Dogs should not jog on hard surfaces such as concrete or asphalt as these can injure the pads of their feet.


2. Never allow your dog to become overweight. It places unnecessary strain on their hips as well as heart and spine. The old story about my dog became overweight after the vet de- sexed my dog is nonsense. The dog became overweight because it stopped being exercised and was not fed accordingly.


3. This one is for you boys with utes. DO NOT let the dog jump onto the back of the ute especially at a young age. Instead use your muscles and lift them on and off or buy a doggie ramp even though this may not look cool the dog will love you for it in the future. Spare a thought for them on a scorching hot day when they are on the back with no shelter and you are in the air conditioned cabin. They too love the air conditioning.


4. Bedding. Please make sure they have a firm bed off the ground with a nice warm quilt ($20 from KMart) on top. Check reguarly to make sure the bed has not become saggy. Like us they also need to be comfortable.


5. Many people have taken up feeding raw diets in an effort to help their dogs live healthier lives. Dogs can eat most of the healthy things we eat except for onions, grapes & chocolate. They love fruit, yoghurt, vegetables etc. Dogs actually look amazing on natural diets so if you can make the time you will really notice the difference.

The reasoning behind Commercial pre packaged dog food in a bag diets is that they are suppose to better approximate how a dog would eat in the wild and how the dogs ancestors would have eaten. Wild dogs will eat raw meat as well as the animals bones. These foods contain potentially vital ingredients that are destroyed during the manufacturing process in making commercial dog foods. However, in saying this we all lead very busy lives and sometimes don't have the time to prepare a raw diet so in this case please use a premium commercial food diet.


6. A dogs hips and shoulders can be injured by rough treatment either by an older dog or a human. Please try to avoid this happening. Never drag a dog around by the back legs. Never pick a puppy up by the front legs. Dogs do not have collarbones as people do. Picking a puppy up by the forelegs can strain the muscles and ligaments.The proper way to pick a puppy up is with one hand under the chest and the other hand under the rear of the dog.


There is a lot more I could say on this subject but my aim is to give people a broad idea of things they can do to help their puppy.