This is not going to be a long dissertation on H.D., but rather a short insight into the problem, please take time to read through the article, and see why it is imperative to have your dogs x-rayed.
Hip dysplasia is a degenerative disease of the hip joints, which can and does cause considerable pain to the dog, but can be helped by medication:
The following points have been noted:
1: Almost all large breeds are affected.
2: It is more common in the large breeds, rather than the small.
3: It is least common in the small breeds under 25lbs and have short legs.
4: Pelvic muscle mass seems to be an observable clue as to predicting whether a dog is likely to have the disease.
5: Regardless of parents, all puppies are born normal, the first signs can develop at 8 weeks.
6: Fast growing puppies of the Large and Giant breeds have the largest incidence of the disease.
7: Control of certain environmental factors will reduce
the number of puppies affected.
8: Dogs & Bitches are affected at the same rate.
9: Genetically it is caused by "Polygenes" (Multiple genes)
10 Breeding "normals" with pedigree depth will reduce the number of puppies affected.
In order to reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia, thought must be given to methods so far developed.
A survey on this subject turned up three methods which have been successfully used to control & reduce the incidence of CHD in domestic dogs.
1) Breeding with "Pedigree Depth" at least 3 generations of 'normals'.
2) Confining puppies to small cages to force them to sit on their haunches, and keep the femoral
head well into the acetabulum.
3) Controlling those environmental conditions during the first 6 months of a puppies life which increase body weight and growth rate, and stress on the
Any one,or a combination will bring about better control and reduction of canine hip dysplasia.
Before going on let us consider when a breeder or owner could begin to relax from the fear of having a puppy, particularly a promising puppy develop H.D. In German Shepherd Dogs, and possibly also in other breeds, , 16% will be dysplastic when x-rayed at 6 months. 69% can be identified at 1 year, and almost all that will be dysplastic can be identified at 2 years of age.
THIS IS WHY IT IS IMPERATIVE TO DELAY X-RAYING UNTIL DOGS ARE 2 YEARS OLD. As a dog x-rayed at 12 months could be clear, BUT if the same dog is x-rayed at 2 years of age, it could be dysplastic.
What can be said about the three methods mentioned above. The first two are inter-related, and are the most practical for the majority of breeders. This only requires breeding of "normals" with pedigree depth, by this we mean three generations of h.d. free animals; and that care be taken in explaining to buyers how to control environmental factors, and why it is important.
It should be remembered that there is a strong correlation between dogs with hip dysplasia and muscle mass.
Put another way, the greater the pelvic muscle mass, the less chance of the dog developing hip dysplasia.
It also now seems that FEEDING AND EXERCISE play a strong part in the development of Hip Dysplasia.
Therefore IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE DOG NOT BE OVERFED, AND NOT ALLOWED TO OVER EXERCISE.
It is important also to note the following:
Although the parents of the puppies are certified 0:0, this DOES NOT MEAN that all the puppies will necessarily be H.D. free, neither does it mean that if the parents have MILD H.D. that the puppies will also have this grading.
A dog could have a pedigree with 4 generations of 0:0, and one puppy or more could have gradings of 4:4
These Gradings are for South Africa. (See below for a table for HD Gradings throughout the world.)
THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES ANYWHERE IN THIS WORLD.
It is also important to note, that many people are inclined to overfeed their puppies, and allow them to become overweight, this puts a great deal of stress of the hip joints, and does contribute towards a bad hip score. Therefore, DO NOT OVERFEED YOUR PUPPY, or allow him to have galloping exercise or jump until he is well over a year old. By overfeeding, we mean that you must not allow him to become FAT, he must be well nourished.