ikona vet

The hip dysplasia is diagnosed on the basis of clinical and radiological examination. The first check-up should be performed when the dog is approx. 3-4 months old. Early detection of the disease enables the treatment to avoid serious consequences of dysplasia later in life.
The check-up consists of an overall assessment of the dog's condition, its movements and behaviour as well as a thorough orthopaedic examination. The next step is to perform X-ray testing and describe the results. The Penn HIP method is becoming increasingly popular in describing radiographs (as recommended by the World Canine Organisation – FCI).Some countries, including Poland, still use Riser's method that classifies the tested animals as follows:

A – joints are normal

B - joints are almost normal

C – slight dysplasia

D – moderate dysplasia

E – severe dysplasia

… The interpretation of test results and an appropriate evaluation requires an experienced veterinary radiology specialist. For this reason, not every institution can perform an authorized examination. Testing the dogs for dysplasia is mandatory in Poland since 1984. For the examination 25 breeds were selected, including Caucasian Shepherd.

Regardless of whether the breed is on the list published by the Polish Kennel Club, every dog should undergo and X-ray examination of the hips after reaching two years of age. It is one of the criteria for evaluating suitability for breeding. It is recognized that the formation of the skeleton is complete when the dog reaches 18-24 months of age, depending on the breed. Dogs with a diagnosed hip dysplasia should be immediately excluded from breeding, for there is no doubt that the offspring of the parents diagnosed with dysplasia will be suffering from the same condition. The age requirement applies only to tests for dysplasia performed in order to obtain a certificate of breeding. (...)


Developing a shallow acetabulum and the deformation of the shape of the head and neck of the femur are the cause of locomotors disorders of a dog suffering from dysplasia. Common symptoms include: difficulty in both standing up and sitting down, lack of endurance during running, as well as a shaky, stiff gait, short stride, running with both hind legs together, problems with jumping onto surfaces, climbing stairs and moving after a long rest. The way the limbs are set during walking is also symptomatic. When a dog is observed from behind, its hocks are close to each other. This defect is known as "cow-hocks". When the dog is not walking, the legs are automatically set apart. This is caused by the fact that the dog tries to relieve its pain by adopting a more comfortable posture. When looking at the dog from a side, we can notice a lumbar hump typical for this condition, which is a direct result of relieving knee hyperextension. In this position, the femoral heads fit deeper into the shallow acetabulum. This position allows the animal to adopt a posture which does not cause pain, because then there is no stretching of the joint capsule and ligaments of the femur.


Chondroprotection is a procedure designed to protect the articular cartilage, inhibit the degenerative processes and support the regeneration of joint structures. Substances with chondroprotective properties are called glycosaminoglycan. These include chondroitin sulphate, glucosamine and hyaluronic acid. Their protective effect on cartilage involves inhibition of the secretion of matrix metalloproteinase and improvement on the ability of synthesizing GAGs by chondrocytes. Thus, the regular use of chondroprotectives restores and maintains a balance between the processes of destruction and repair. Clinical effects of chonroprotection include improvement of joint mobility, reduced lameness, reduced pain and enema, as well as reduced amount of anti-inflammatory drugs consumed. Animals with an increased risk of developing degenerative changes, as well as with an advanced osteoarthritis should regularly receive chondroprotective medications...It must be remembered that supplementation (use of nutritional supplements) should be consulted with a veterinarian on a regular basis, at each stage of growth and development of a dog.

It is important to pay attention to mineral and vitamin supplementation, particularly vitamin D3 and calcium. Currently, the illnesses caused by calcium or vitamin D3 deficiency among animals are rare. Excessive calcium and vitamin D3 intake during the growing period can heavily contribute to development of many serious diseases, including hip dysplasia. You should know that before the pup reaches 6 months of age it is extremely intolerant to excessive calcium intake, and during weaning it absorbs at least 50% of calcium released in the intestine, regardless of the quantity consumed.

Another non-genetic factor contributing to the development dysplasia is an excessive training of a young dog. Note that the development of a bone structure ends when the dog is about 18 to 24 months of age. Until then, you should not train your dog using cardio exercises. A strenuous physical activity of a dog prone to hip dysplasia causes numerous subluxations of unstable joints and micro trauma within the joint structure.

Authors: R. Aleksiewicz, Z. Adamiak, M. Nowak „Why does my dog limp?”