Canine Hip Dysplasia

Canine Hip Dysplasia is a genetic disorder that is inherited in a rather complex manner because it is influenced by more than one gene.  The mode of inheritance is called polygenic.  The incidence in Border Collies is lower than many other breeds.  This is most likely because they are still widely used as working dogs therefore lame dogs would be culled.

Environmental factors can impact on the degree of wear and tear the joint is subjected to.  The two main ones are the weight of the dog and the amount and type of exercise the dog takes.  Heavier dogs put more stress on hip joints so have greater risk of becoming lame because of HD than small light dogs.  Dogs exercising at fast gaits such as galloping behind a car or bicycle and dogs that do a lot of jumping, turning and stopping such as dogs that chase sticks and balls put more stress on hip joints, especially when this is done at a very young age.  Another environmental factor for HD is feeding a poor quality puppy diet with excessive calcium, or over supplementing calcium, which makes pups grow rapidly, giving bones and joints less time to develop properly.  Whilst calcium is very important in a puppy's diet, commercial foods these days do not require supplementation if the puppy is being predominantly fed these diets.

For pet owners it should be emphasised that:

*        Hip Dysplasia cannot accurately be predicted in pups, and having parents hip scored is no guarantee the pups will have good hips even if the parents do;
*        Puppy owners should be aware that they should
          A/  Not allow their puppy to become overweight
          B/  Not subject young growing joints of their pup to repetitive hard exercise especially running, jumping and twisting on hard surfaces
          C/  Take care with the pups nutrition.