All responsible large
gundog breeders now screen their breeding animals
for hip dysplasia (this is a once in a lifetime
test) and annually for eye disease. In
addition many breeders now screen for elbow
dysplasia which is becoming more common,
especially in Labradors and in Golden Retrievers.
The information on this page is not a substitute for
veterinary care. If you are at all
concerned that your dog's hips may not be normal
or about any aspect of your dogs health,
please contact your veterinary surgeon for advice.
What follows is a brief summary of the condition
of hip dysplasia in dogs
Hip Dysplasia (CHD ) is an inherited
condition. It comes in a wide range of
degrees of severity from extremely mild to
cripplingly severe. CHD is a
malformation of the hip socket and is polygenic
(passed on through a group of faulty genes).
This group of genes determines the potential for the
development of a faulty hip socket in any puppy
unlucky enough to inherit them. The hip
sockets the puppy with CHD is born with in most
cases look just the same as the hip sockets of
healthy puppies. But the hips of puppies
who inherit the HD genes do not grow normally.
In these puppies what should be a nice deep socket,
which safely cradles the top of the femur,
fails to grow properly and over time this inadequate
socket allows damage to develope in the joint in the
form of arthritis.
'expression' of the genetic potential of the
puppy - or what actually happens to the
puppy's hip sockets as they grow -
can be influenced to an extent.
The good news is that this potential for
'influencing' the development of your puppy's
hips means you are able to increase his chances of
growing reasonable hip sockets. To read more
about helping your puppy grow strong hips
here.. The bad news is that this ability
to 'mask' to a certain extent, those
animals which are affected, increases to some
extent the possibility that dogs with the potential
to pass on the genes for poor hips may be bred from.
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 the puppies that result are more
likely to develop poor hips themselves, than
if we breed from dogs with good hips.
exist in many countries now to make multiple
measurements of various aspects of the hip joint as
seen on x-ray, and to classify each hip
according to an agreed scoring system.
Uptake of this scheme is
growing in the UK especially amongst the larger
gundog breeds, retrievers in particular. It is
well worth ensuring that any retriever or large
gundog puppy you buy comes from parents who have
better than average hip scores for the breed.
The heavier the dog,
the more strain there is on the hip joints,
and it is partly for this reason that testing in
smaller dogs has been slower to gain in popularity.
Hip dysplasia in spaniels is often considered to be
unusual, but it does occur and can be
devastating when it happens. Some working
spaniel breeders do now test their dog's hips and
this is a welcome development. More breeders
will test in the future if buyers keep asking them
for hip scores.
In the UK hip scores are
expressed as a number for each hip eg
6:6 This would be a total score of 12.
The hips of any dog used for breeding should be
better than the
breed mean score for that breed if we
are to stand any chance of continuing to reduce the
incidence and severity of this disease