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Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a disease which is caused by the abnormal development of the dogs hip joint. This condition tends to be seen in younger dogs between the age of 6 and 12 months and is common in large dogs with rapid growth. The hip consists of a ball and socket joint which is made up of the spherical head of the femur, which fits into a concave socket in the pelvis called the acetabulum. In a healthy dog the femur fits snuggly and smoothly into the acetabulum and the cartilage helps the joint to slide and provide a wide range of motion.  When a dog has hip dysplasia the socket joint does not fit together properly resulting in hip joint laxity. When the joint is lax the joint rubs and grinds together and the teres ligament becomes overstretched. This then causes abnormal friction and wear and tear of the joint as it moves.

The main cause of hip dysplasia is genetics and some breeds which are prone to the disease can be hip scored by a vet prior to breeding. It can also be caused by diet and it is advised that large breeds of dogs which are prone to the disease should be fed a special growth diet whilst puppies. The weight of the dog, its body size, activity levels, exercise and environment are also thought to contribute to the onset.

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia


  • Pain when hip extended

  • Muscle wastage in hip area

  • Enlargement of shoulder muscles from overcompensating

  • Decreased activity

  • Soreness when rising from rest

  • Problems climbing stairs or jumping

  • Limping on one or both hind legs

  • Joint looseness

  • Gait abnormalities - bunny hopping, swaying, tarsus together

  • Stiffness

  • Decreased range of motion in hip

How massage can help


  • Helps with pain relief and reduces overall pain

  • Reduces inflammation around the hip joint

  • Improves the dog's mobility

  • Improves flexibility

  • Strengthens muscles

  • Improves quality of life

  • Enables the dog to have normal exercise

  • Relieves soreness

  • Relieves tension build

  • Corrects muscle balance

  • Reduces inflammation through lymphatic drainage

  • Remove spasms and trigger points due to overcompensation

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