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Hip Dysplasia in Pets

Hip dysplasia is a common skeletal condition affecting many pets, particularly large-breed dogs and some cats. The condition is characterized by an abnormal development of the hip joint, which can lead to a range of issues, such as joint pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

Causes of Hip Dysplasia in Pets

Hip dysplasia is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. While genetics play a significant role in the development of hip dysplasia, environmental factors such as rapid growth, obesity, and poor nutrition can also contribute to the condition.


In dogs, it is particularly prevalent in breeds such as German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Great Danes.


In cats, the condition is more commonly found in purebred cats like Siamese and Persians.

Signs of Hip Dysplasia

The signs of hip dysplasia in pets can vary, depending on the severity of the condition. Mild cases may show no signs at all, while more severe cases can lead to pain, stiffness, and limping.

In dogs, the condition typically becomes apparent early in life, while in cats, it can develop in their later years.

Diagnosing Hip Dysplasia

Diagnosing hip dysplasia in pets usually involves a combination of a physical exam and diagnostic imaging such as X-rays. The severity of the condition can be graded based on the degree of joint laxity and any signs of degenerative changes.

Treatment of Hip Dysplasia

Treatment options for hip dysplasia in pets varies depending on the severity of the condition. In mild cases, lifestyle modifications such as weight management, exercise restrictions, and joint supplements may be sufficient to manage the symptoms. However, in more severe cases, surgical intervention may be necessary.

Surgical Treatments

The most common surgical treatments for hip dysplasia in pets include femoral head ostectomy (FHO) and total hip replacement (THR).

Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO)

FHO involves removing the head of the femur to eliminate the painful bone-on-bone contact that occurs in the hip joint. While FHO is generally effective at reducing pain and restoring mobility, it can result in some loss of function in the affected limb.

Total Hip Replacement (THR)

THR, on the other hand, involves replacing the entire hip joint with an artificial joint. While this procedure is more invasive than FHO, it typically results in better long-term outcomes and a more complete restoration of mobility.

Non Surgical Treatments

There are several non-surgical treatment options available for pets with hip dysplasia, depending on the severity of the condition. Some of these options include weight management, exercise modification, joint supplements, physical therapy, and veterinary acupuncture.

Veterinary Acupuncture for Treatment of Hip Dysplasia

Veterinary acupuncture is a complementary therapy that has gained popularity in recent years as a treatment for a range of conditions in pets, including hip dysplasia. Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with other treatments for hip dysplasia, such as medication and physical therapy, and can be a safe and effective option for some pets.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body, which then stimulate the body's natural healing processes and promote pain relief. Owners report seeing improvements in their pets' mobility and comfort following acupuncture treatments.

Preventing Hip Dysplasia in Pets

Preventing hip dysplasia in pets can be challenging, given the genetic component of the condition. However, there are steps that pet owners can take to minimize the risk of their pets developing hip dysplasia. These include:

  • Selecting pets from breeders who perform hip screening on their breeding stock

  • Providing a high-quality diet and appropriate exercise

  • Maintaining a healthy body weight

Aloha Veterinary Acupuncture Can Help Treat Hip Dysplasia in Your Pet

Hip dysplasia is a common and often debilitating condition that affects many pets, particularly large-breed dogs and some cats. While there is no cure for hip dysplasia, there is a range of treatment options available to manage the symptoms and improve quality of life.

Here at Aloha Veterinary Acupuncture, our primary focus is on helping your pets live the healthy lives they deserve. That’s why we want to ensure all pet owners understand their options when it comes to diagnosing, treating, and preventing hip dysplasia.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Aloha Veterinary Acupuncture can help your pet, take a look at the benefits of veterinary acupuncture, and feel free to contact us with any additional questions you might have. Dr. Kho is happy to discuss your pet and address any questions or concerns you may have about veterinary acupuncture and electroacupuncture.

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