Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: Improving The Odds for Your Puppy

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Hip dysplasia in dogs can be painful and disabling. We look at how to improve the odds that your puppy will have healthy hips. Many different breeds are affected by hip dysplasia. It occurs more often in medium and large dogs like Labrador Retrievers than in smaller breeds. Hip dysplasia in dogs is incurable, although it can usually be managed by medication or surgery. In this article we’ll be looking at how you can improve the odds that your puppy won’t suffer from this disorder.

Buying your Labrador puppy

When you search through advertisements for a Labrador puppy, you’ll notice that many litters advertised for sale will state the ‘hip scores’ of the parents. And sometimes the advert will simply state that both parents are ‘hip scored’ without actually telling you what the scores are. Some will be even more vague, and simply say that the parents’ hips have been tested.

It’s important that before you even visit your potential puppy, you find out exactly what the hip scores are. Identifying hip dysplasia in the parents could have a massive impact on your puppy’s future.

Hip dysplasia testing

All responsible Labrador breeders in Europe, the USA and elsewhere, now have their breeding stock tested for signs of hip dysplasia, using one or another standardised hip score. This is to help reduce the high incidence of hip dysplasia in dogs. This test is crucial and must be carried out by anyone breeding from a Labrador. That includes people that are simply breeding from a family pet. There are no exceptions.

If the breeder of the puppy you intend to buy has not tested her female dog and/or has not ensured that the stud dog was tested – walk away!

Hip dysplasia in dogs

Help protect our breed

There are many excellent litters of Labrador puppies available nationwide, both show and field, that have been properly tested for hip dysplasia. Labradors are the most popular pedigree dog breed in the UK and in the USA. And the reason for the testing is to help reduce the high incidence of hip dysplasia in dogs.

There is absolutely no need for anyone to purchase a puppy from parents that have not been tested, or that have poor test results. Buying such puppies encourages the breeder to produce more of them and so puts another generation of puppies at risk. Now let’s take a look at what the hip score means.

What does the hip score mean?

Each dog that is to be hip scored, has its hips x-rayed. This must be done under sedation or a general anaesthetic. This is why scoring is not recommended if you just want to screen whether your dog might develop hip problems in the future. The x-rays are then sent off to a team of expert vets. They examine the hip joints and ‘score’ them according to a number of criteria.

In the USA there is a descriptive system of grading managed by the OFA Canine Health Information Centre Normal hips are graded fair, good or excellent. Dysplastic hips as mild, moderate or severe. There is also a borderline grading between the two.

In the UK the scoring is managed by the British Veterinary Association. Hips are scored numerically. The ideal or perfect hip joint will get a score of 0. Every deviation from perfection adds to the hip score. The scores for each check are added together to make a total score for each hip. Then the scores for the two hips are added together. A total score of 50 would be very bad indeed.

The scores for each hip are usually written down as 5/6 or 5:6 . In this case the score tells you that the dog has one hip with a score of 5 and the other hip has a score of 6. The overall total hip score would be 11.

Why does hip scoring matter?

Hip scoring is a very important procedure. It gives us a clear indication of the likelihood of the dog being scored developing the serious disease that we call hip dysplasia. These scores also give us an indication of the likelihood that the offspring of the tested dog will have sound hips – because there are genetic aspects to this disease To improve the overall joint health of Labradors (or any other breed of dog), it is important that breeders always breed from animals with normal (in the USA) or better than average (UK) scores.

The British Veterinary Association displays current breed mean scores on their website. In 2016 the 5-year breed mean for Labradors was 9, compared to 12 in 2011. These newly released scores are good news I can give in this article’s 2019 revision and update. They clearly show that the breed has been improving over time.

Hip dysplasia in dogs could be reduced even more by using a system known as estimated breeding values (EBV’s). Let’s have a look at what EBV’s are and where to find them.

What are EBV’s

The EBV is a far better tool for determining the genetic risk for hip dysplasia in dogs than the parents’ hip scores alone. This value considers the health pedigree information of three generations of its relatives as well.

Calculation of EBV’s is possible because organisations such as the Kennel Club in the UK have, over time, collected a lot of breed information. You can find the EBV of any registered Labrador on the Kennel Club’s online tool. You will need the dog’s registered name, registration number and studbook number.

In the US the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine developed a search tool for EBV’s. They used data supplied by the OFA Canine Health Information Center for the project. But let’s see why it’s so important to try and prevent hip dysplasia in the first place by looking at exactly what it is.

What is hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia in dogs, or CHD, is a ‘malformation’ of the hip joint that the puppy is born with. Signs are not evident at birth but the hip joint degenerates over time. This causes pain and affects the dog’s ability to move around freely.

In a healthy dog the rounded end (ball) at the top of the major weight bearing leg bone (femur) sits comfortably into a deep socket. In a dog with hip dysplasia, the socket is shallow and inadequate. This leads to progressive damage to the hip joint as the dog ages. The hip sockets of a puppy born with CHD, in most cases, look similar to the hip sockets of healthy puppies. But the hips of puppies who inherit the CHD genes do not grow normally.

Signs of hip problems might appear at a few months of age or much later in life. This depends on how severe the malformation is. The abnormal joints in dogs with hip dysplasia cause more wear and tear than usual. Eventually the joint’s cartilage linings wear down – until bone rubs against bone. At this stage the joint becomes inflamed and the dog experiences pain, swelling, stiffness and difficulty moving around. The inflammation causes further damage to the joint and you have the progressive condition commonly referred to as degenerative arthritis.

How do dogs get hip dysplasia?

Unlike some of the other conditions we can now test our dogs for, hip dysplasia is a complex condition. It results from both the genetic information inherited by the dog from its parents and environmental factors that act on the dog’s skeleton as he grows and ages. The mechanism of inheritance for hip dysplasia is not straightforward. It is not a question of a single faulty gene being passed on from one or both parents. Rather it is a polygenic condition. This means that several genes determine a puppy’s potential for developing a faulty hip socket.

The fact that CHD is not caused by one single defective gene makes it difficult to accurately trace the path of inheritance. What we do know, is that if we breed from a dog with poor hips then their puppies will be more likely to develop poor hips as well. But the genes inherited by the puppy are only a part of the story. A number of environmental factors can strongly influence the development of the joint.

Two key factors involved in this process are how fast the puppy grows and the amount of physical stress applied to the joint while it’s still developing.

What are the effects of hip dysplasia?

Because so many factors are involved in the development of this disease, hip dysplasia in dogs can vary widely in its severity. From premature arthritis and lameness in middle age to severe disability in a young dog.

My own CHD dog (a working cocker spaniel) was crippled before her first birthday – x-rays clearly showed that she had virtually no hip sockets at all. This is an extreme form of the disease, but in most cases CHD causes pain and some degree of disability. It often requires (very expensive) major surgery to provide the dog with permanent pain relief and freedom of movement. You’ll want to recognise hip dysplasia in your dog as soon as possible..

How will I know that my dog has hip dysplasia?

Your vet may suspect hip dysplasia if your dog is displaying a number of characteristic symptoms – but an x-ray is the diagnostic tool. If your dog is limping or moving awkwardly you need to have him checked out by a vet. My own dog went lame at ten months old after I increased her exercise. She also displayed a bunny hopping gait with both back legs being used together when she negotiated steps.

Not all dogs with CHD will do this and not all dogs that ‘bunny hop’ will have CHD. So a vet’s examination is essential, and an x-ray will be required to confirm the diagnosis.

What can I do to protect my puppy from hip dysplasia?

There are three key steps you can take:

  • Buy from tested parents
  • Feed correctly
  • Do not over-exercise

The most important action you can take to ensure your puppy does not develop this disease, is to buy a puppy from hip scored parents. Both hip scores should fall below the breed mean score and they should be balanced. This means that each hip is similar to the other. For example a score of 9 in a dog with 4/5 hips is OK, but the same score in a dog with 2/7 hips is not OK, because one hip is in a worse shape than the other.

Multiply the worst hip by two and ask yourself if you would be happy about this as your total score.

Pick your puppy carefully

Be aware that around 40% of Labrador puppies born each year in the UK are born to untested parents Don’t be tempted!

Make sure your puppy comes from the 60% of breeding Labradors that have had this important test. Buying a puppy from hip scored parents in this way, will not guarantee your puppy is free from hip dysplasia, but it greatly improves the odds. You can improve the odds even further by checking the breed EBV’s of the parents.

Check the certificates

Always ask to see the certificates for both female and stud dog. A reputable breeder will have copies of these ready to show you. Never, never take a Labrador puppy home without seeing them! Then, once you have your new puppy at home, you need to make sure his environment also reduces the odds of developing hip dysplasia.

Moderate growth

The next action you should take is to ensure that your dog does not grow too rapidly. Don’t overfeed your puppy, no matter how hungry she seems – we know that most Labradors are very greedy and will eat far beyond their needs. Rapid growth means that the hip joint may not develop properly. Besides this, overweight increases the pressure on the hip joint. This can cause symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs to appear sooner.

A long-term study of Labradors showed that a lifetime restricted diet considerably delayed the onset of osteoarthritis. It also reduced the severity of the condition in affected dogs. Interestingly, early neutering of male Labrador puppies has also been shown to affect the development of their hip joints.

Moderate exercise

Last but not least, do not over-exercise your puppy. People sometimes take puppies for long walks at far too young an age. Puppies do not need to go hiking. Playing in your garden for short periods is fine. Likewise avoid teaching or encouraging young puppies to jump or climb stairs. This places stress on the growing joints and is not necessary.

Remember though, once you dog is grown he needs regular exercise. Just like in humans, a sedentary lifestyle can affect his joints. Exercise is necessary to increase muscle tone, keep joints lubricated and to strengthen the ligaments and tendons that hold joints together. For more information on how to protect your puppy you can read the article Hip Dysplasia: Protecting your Puppy.

Veterinary Insurance

I believe that it is a good idea to insure your single puppy against veterinary treatment. There have been huge advances in the treatments available to dogs in the last twenty years, but this technology comes at a price. Even if you take all the precautions outlined above, it is still possible that your dog will get hip dysplasia.

The Labrador Handbook by Pippa Mattinson(paid link)

This condition is so complex that all we can do is to swing the odds in our favour. There can be no guarantees. So getting your puppy insured will give you the peace of mind. You will be reassured that if he develops this or any other condition, your choice for treatment can be entirely based on his needs and not on your wallet.

Insurance can become prohibitive if you have several dogs. If you have multiple dogs as I do, then you may be better off putting the insurance premiums in a savings account.

Protecting your dog from hip dysplasia

Finally, please remember that the information in this article is not a substitute for veterinary advice. If you are concerned about your dog’s health, your first port of call should always be your vet. If you would like to share your experiences of hip dysplasia in dogs please feel free to comment below.

Useful Links

Readers Also Liked


  • British Kennel Club (2019) Estimated Breeding Value. BVC.
  • British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club (2018) Breed Specific Statistics – 1st January 2001 to 31st December 2016). BVA.
  • de la Riva, GT (2013) Neutering Dogs: Effects on Joint Disorders and Canine Cancer in golden Retrievers. Plos One.
  • Lewis, TW (2010) Genetic Evaluation of Hip Score in UK Labrador Retrievers. Plos One.
  • Smith, GK et al (2006) Lifelong diet restriction and radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis in the hip joint in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Association.


The Labrador Site Founder

Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.

She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program 

Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website


  1. I do want to offer some advice for all of you who are struggling with such a heart-breaking diagnosis. And, since a lot of you seem to be experiencing this problem with your puppy, it seems to make the diagnosis even harder … even more unimaginable. But, there are a few thoughts that I think I can share on the subject that may help you in your decision-making. First of all, I have had the absolute privilege sharing my life with Great Danes and Boxers and, although I have never had to deal with HD, my step daughter is dealing experiencing it with her 6-month old GR. But it is not her actual story that I want to share (although I will in the next comment), nor does this “share” actually have to do with any one breed … expecially because any dog, full-blooded or mixed … deserves the best that we can offer.

    I do think it is worth mentioning that even though I have not personally experienced HD, I have experienced two osteo-sarcomas (one resulting in a front leg amputation and one resulting in euthanasia), one leiomyosarcoma (resulting in a re-sectioning of her vulva and complete spay), six gastric torsions/bloat (one resulting in euthanasia due to advanced age of dog, one resulting in surgery and post death and four resulting in successful surgeries), one brain tumor (resulting in 16 doses of radiation and two years extended qualilty-of-life), four cardiomyothopies – heart disease (one resulting in euthanasia at three years old, one unexpected death during a ride in her truck with daddy, and two resulting in successful treatment for extended period of time), one anaphylatic shock of benign drug (resulting in death a few hours later), one renal failure (resulting in completely unexpected and immediate euthanasia), three cases of coccidioidomycosis, and, most likely some other serious ailments that I am forgetting right now. The only point I am trying to make with this litany of health crisis’ is that even though I have not experienced HD in a puppy or young dog, I have seen my share of tragedies. I also need to say that with the exception of losing my Boxer when she went for a ride with her Daddy (he came later in my life), I or we have held each and every one of our dogs in our arms as their lives had to come to their end (whether from old age or disease), keeping our tears in check as we soothed our companions until we were certain that their lives had ended. I mention this because I have heard way too many people tell me that having their pet euthanized was going to be too sad of an experience for THEM, so they left their companion at their veterinary’s office … a place that most likely was a place that caused nervousness or fright in the first place … to be euthanized in the arms of a vitual stranger. And to those people, I say DON’T EVER GET ANOTHER PET BECAUSE YOU DON’T DESERVE ONE!!! From the day you buy, adopt or take in an animal, it is your responsibility to give it the best care you can possibally give, right up to, and including holding them til their last breathe if you are given the PRIVILEGE to do so. If you need to scream at the top of your lungs AFTER they have passed …. no one would fault you, but until then, it is all about assuring your pet that everything is going to be OK.

    Now, here is my share. Although my share might not be the easiest thing to consider, if I was able to re-visit my first osteo-sarcoma … the one resulting in a front-leg amputation, I would not have ever considered doing it again. You see, it wasn’t until the day after I had to let him go because the chemotheraphy had compromised the viens in his remaining front leg so much so, it wasn’t fair to continue the final two sessions, that I realized something so profound and life-altering, it made decisions like what some of you are facing much easier, at least for me and now my husband.

    Now, I am so very very sorry, but I have to leave you in limbo because it has taken me two and half hours to write this, it is 2:00 a.m., and I have to go to bed. However, I promise to finish my share as soon as I am able … most likely Monday.

  2. We adopted our dog when she was already grown so there was no way of knowing what her hip score was or if she was going to be prone to hip dysplasia. She ended up being diagnosed a few years ago and so far we’ve been keeping it under control. She’s still active, we feed her a grain-free diet, and I give her all natural joint supplements daily with Devil’s Claw and Yucca. When I first started dealing with the diagnosis and looking into different treatment options, someone had mentioned to me that they used a hip brace on their dog. I hadn’t seen too much about it but after looking into it we got her the Ortocanis hip brace, and noticed a pretty significant difference in her stiffness and apparent pain. It’s not something she wears every day, but depending on what we’re doing I definitely put it on her a lot. Just another idea for people in the same situation looking for solutions.

  3. Hey pippa.. I have 5 months rottweler puppy.. I took his x Ray 3 times but 1 vet say he is hd free and another say he has hd. So the second vet gave me joint suppliment.. Don’t no what to do.. My rotte is very active but he slight weave while walking. And he has ligament problem.. So plz help me pippa

  4. My 6 month old lab had just been diagnosed with hd and my vet advised a score of 20:30 is this a really bad score? In terms of quality of life? His parents hip score are 2:2 (dam) and 4:6 (sire) i think back to when we met him at 6 weeks old and being the last pup left we laughed at how odd he ran… Could it have been that we missed the symptoms of his hd then? we have informed the breeder of his diagnosis but his dad is still being advertised for stud…. Should they still be doing this??

  5. Hi Pippa,our 8 month old black Labrador has elbow and hip displacia .All 4 of his limbs are affected.I can’t stop crying and the whole family are heartbroken.Is it possible for him to have any quality of life or would it be kinder to have him put to sleep. I’m thinking of him not bring able to walk and do everything that other dogs do.Is it fair on him for us to let him live with constant pain.

    • Hi Paula, I am so sorry to hear that your lab has joint problems. It is quite impossible for me to say what the outcome will be in your individual dog as every dog is different. Some dog cope very well with perhaps a little pain relief, others need surgery. The only person who can help you is a qualified vet. Your vet should talk you through all the options for treatment, but there is certainly no reason to give up hope at this stage. Wishing you lots of luck – do get back in touch with your vet asap and ask lots of questions! Best wishes, Pippa

      • Hi Pippa, Just an update almost 2 years on and my dog is doing really well.He had surgery on his left elbow and we’ve seen a real improvement.He goes to hydrotherapy which he loves and he has a normal life.Thankyou so much for the advice you gave me.My brother has been at our house tonight and he said he’s never met a happier dog.We all love him so much .

    • Hi Paula, Im so very sorry to hear about your puppy. I was wondering what you have decided to do.I hope you dont mind me asking.But we have just had the same news as you. we are not sure what to do either.Our black lab is 7 months old.

      • Hi Sharon sorry this is a late reply I’ve only just seen your post.He had two operations on his left front leg.There was no guarantee that it would work and the second operation involved breaking his leg which was a very tough decision.Hes 2 now and doing really well.He goes to hydrotherapy which he loves and I give him joint supplements with his food.Apart from that he lives a normal life.His hips click occasionally and eventually he will get arthritis.But he doesn’t limp anymore.He won’t attempt to climb stairs since he had the problem but he can jump into the car by himself.At the time I really thought he had no future but I’m so glad we gave him a chance.He is such a happy dog.How did you get on with your pup?Let me know if you can I hope he was ok

    • hi we have been told the same thing about our 7 month old black lab. And we feel the same way as you. I would like to know how you got on.

    • What did you decide to do with your puppy? We have a 7 month old Rottweiler. Both parents were OFA screened. Mom was fair and dad was good. Our puppy ended up with double hip and elbow dysplasia. We are trying to decide what is best for him.

  6. Hi I have a question. So my dog develop hip and elbow dysplasia in all 4 legs. We went through surgery for all of his legs. It’s been 10 years since we got kona. We informed the breeder immediately. I looked back at his breeder, Sandra scarr with alohalabradors in the big Island and I noticed that she continued to breed kona parents and his sister with her other labs. For the description she says the hips and elbows are good. Is it possible that my dog just got the bad luck and developed hip and elbow dysplasia at 6 months? And it’s okay for her to still breed his parents amd sister and her daughter, after we told the moment we found out about the dysplasia?

  7. Hello, I have a female 7 months old chocolate lab with moderate weight and size.. My vet is recommending spaying before her first period to prevent various diseases as all know.. I started digging forums & articles regarding spaying and read some articles about the effect of spaying that causes hip dysplasia. I am wandering the owners personal experience or comments regarding this matter. You may find the related article in the following link http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0055937


  8. Hello, my dog is 3 years old and has a good genetic hip score. However, he slipped his lead and was hit by a car at around 8 months and had bruised hips following that. He then developed a limp which was sorted out with joint supplements and less walking. He now carries his bad leg with a bunny hop and although it doesn’t stop him now, I worry about the future. What can you recommend for delaying his inevitable suffering with this in a few years? He is on a very strict diet and kept at a nice lean weight. Thanks

  9. hi our Lab Daisy is 5 1/2 years and seemed to have a little limp over christmas on getting up just for a few mins, we ‘ve taken her to our vet who has looked after her since we got her and she needs x-ray as he thinks it may be the start of HD. we do have her insured so thats not a problem but very upsetting as we though we had done everything to look after her development and she has always been a very active outgoing not overweight pet.

  10. Hello, I have a labrador who is 15nmonths. She has been diagnosed with double elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia. We have decided to not operate but use more conservative methods. She has improved greatly since we began doing but we haven’t had her spayed because we are worried that the hormones produced are important despite not wanting to breed from her. Will it make things worse to get her spayed?
    Thanks, Ella.

  11. I have a 9 week old choc lab pup and have been advised not to walk her on soft sand(no trips to the beach) until she is at least 6 months old and her skeletal structure is stronger.

    Would you agree?

  12. Hi,
    It is reported that millions of dogs are diagnosed with CHD every year.
    From being first identified by Dr Tom Hungerford in the 1930’s-it is now-millions!
    When/where/how did this supposed genetic fault enter the scene??
    There is no recorded history of CHD in canis lupus as far as I am aware.
    What is important of the 1930’s to today?
    Doesn’t anyone think anymore?

    • Do you mean what has changed between the 1930s and the present day? If you do, then you might be interested in the work of Carol Beuchat at the Institute of Population genetics. She has some very good explanations of the long term effects of closed registers on canine health.

      I don’t know what you mean by “doesn’t anyone think anymore” Most people are not aware of the effects of long term isolation of a breeding population

  13. Hi Pip,
    We are looking to buy a Labrador from a KC registered breeder. The sire has a hip score of 2/2=4 and the dam has a hip score of 8/9=17 which sounds high. What are the chances of a puppy from this litter developing hip dysplasia problems with these hip scores. any advice you can provide greatly appreciated.

  14. Hello i am currently thinking of buying a lab outside te US. Unfortunately here hip scores are not common. What can i do to ensure i dont buy a lab with future hip problems? Also does pedigree matter in hip dysplacia?

  15. I’m in the process of adopting a 1.5 yr old lab-mix, 40 lbs – so she’s a small one named “Tina”

    An xray showed that her left hip joint is not completely together. (Sorry I don’t have the medical terms, I haven’t spoke with the vet yet… only foster mom, but maybe you’ll have some questions for me to ask when I do!).

    Tina has no limits in her movements, range of motion. She’s not in pain. I’m being told that she will likely need a hip replacement down the road.

    My questions for those of you with related experience:

    Is it possible to avoid hip replacement with lifestyle choices? She’s around 1.5yr old — if we begin now with joint-support diet and exercise — can this save her from having a future surgery?

    And, I live on the 2nd floor of the house we own so Tina would be walking up&down the stairs a few (2-4) times a day to go outside.
    Will this help keep her strong or will this aggravate the joint.

    Thank you in advance for any feedback.

    • Hi there, only a vet who had seen your dog’s xrays could attempt to answer your questions with any degree of confidence. Even then, different dogs respond differently to environmental influences. So I doubt if anyone would be able to offer you any guarantees. With hip problems it is often a case of waiting to see how the dog goes, and how free from pain she is. The most important thing you can do in the meantime is keep her very slim. Best wishes, and good luck, Pippa

  16. My 1yr old black lab was limping slightly so I took her to the vet and he x rayed her ,she had hip dysplasia. Since then she gets 1000mg of glucosamine every day and you wouldn’t think there was anything wrong with her she is called Millie and she’s now five.

  17. Pippa,
    I get my dogs tested by OFA for hips and elbows, but they do not give a score. They simply say Excellent, Good, Normal, etc….How can I get a score?

  18. Hiya Pippa, I’ve read some of the other comments I have a 4 1/2month old lab I do not intend to breed her at all so the same question should I have her hip scored? Her parents both had great scores an she’s going to be a big girl like her dad… Also, I’ve recently read a worrying report about pedigree dog foods as we give her this in a dry mix for larger breed puppies, should I consider moving her onto kibble instead… thankyou carol x

  19. Hello, Unfortunately I didn’t know anything about HD when I picked out my lab puppy. Her parents have not been tested (to my knowledge) and it’s something that scares me a bit. I read somewhere that sometimes the xrays can be done while she’s already under for her spay. Is this something that I should consider? She’s 5 months old, and I clearly don’t plan on breeding her if I would like to do the xrays with her spay. Just trying to figure out if it makes sense for either piece of mind or any early interventions if needed.

    • Hi Kristina, I personally would not hip score a dog that was not going to be bred from, unless my vet advised it. Which would normally not be unless the dog were showing symptoms of hip problems.

  20. Hi Pippa,
    I have a very nice labrador which had all papers showing that his parents were HD A. I did his test two weeks ago and came out that he is HD D, so I am quite sad with the feeling that I did something wrong with him. At the moment he is 3 1/2 years old and has no sign of any pain/problem. What should I do now to make sure that he will have a quality life? Thanks, Pedro

    • Hi Pedro, sorry to hear your dog has HD. Unfortunately good parental hip scores are not a guarantee of good hips, and it may be that you did nothing wrong and have just been very unlucky. The best person to advise you on medical treatment is your vet, and if you have your dog checked over regularly, he will be able to help you decide on any treatment needed. One thing you can do at home that will really help your dog is to keep him nice and slim. Good luck, Pippa

  21. Hi
    Thanks for the quick response. Good point about avoiding unnecessary procedures. I’ve learnt a lot about dogs in the last 17 months but have a lot more to learn.

  22. Hi Pippa
    Both the parents of my 19 month old lab, Ruby, have 0/0 hip and elbow scores but I must admit that I still have concerns that she may develop this condition if I have over exercised or over feed her. Being a novice dog owner I don’t have a ‘yard stick’ to go by. I think I’ve kept the feeding and exercise guidelines.
    Although I don’t intend to breed from her (she’s been spayed so it would take a miracle now), I wonder if it would be worth investing in a hip score test just to set my mind at rest or, on the flip side, give advance warning of a problem developing. What sort of cost does this involve?
    Thank you

    • Hi Neal,
      My thoughts are that it would be somewhat unreasonable to put your dog through this procedure (sedative, xray etc) bearing in mind that she will never reproduce and that her parents have excellent scores. The chances of her developing HD are slim and will not be improved by the test which is intended to allowed informed breeding practices.

      • Hey Paula, I dont know if my dog Swiper has Hip Displasia but she does have the symptoms. What should I do? I know that some dogs get the genetic code for Hip Dysplasia but sometimes they don’t show it until they get old. Well my dog has been limping for over few months now and we think that it may be the case. We don’t know if she is in a lot of pain but we do know that she is limping. I’m sorry to hear about yu pr cocker spaniel. That was a very bad type of Hip Dysplasia. My dog is almost 9 or 10 years old already and she is still walking and running like she had when she was younger but now she is slower then she was and she is limping now. Should I go see a vet for this or should i wait until the symptoms get more noticeable.

        • Hi Gabby, Please take Swiper to the vet now rather than delaying. They will be best placed to confirm the cause of her symptoms and to get started on the right treatment. You may find it also helps to take a short video on your phone if the issue is intermittent, to show them what exactly is happening. Best wishes, Lucy.