Hip dysplasia is a developmental, multifactorial, genetically influenced condition that is characterized by ill-fitting or loosely-fitting hip joints and the development of secondary degenerative joint disease (arthrosis).
As hip dysplasia is a developmental disease, it only manifests itself radiologically after the age of about 6 months. There is no doubt about the fact that the tendency to develop hip dysplasia is inherited but environmental factors like excessive protein intake and excessive strenuous exercise at a very young age play a role in the degree of dysplasia that is eventually manifested. Genetically susceptible dogs become dysplastic when the primary muscle mass that supports the joint fails to mature at the same rate as the skeletal structures. The resultant disparity between soft tissue strength and biomechanical forces during skeletal growth is manifested as a loss of congruency between the articular surfaces of the acetabulum and the femur head. This results in joint laxity and eventual hip arthrosis.
The SAVA in conjunction with KUSA runs a certification scheme for hip and elbow dysplasia. Radiographs are made by your veterinarian and sent to a SAVA/KUSA approved veterinary radiologists for certification. More information is available on the KUSA website at http://kusa.co.za/kusa-information/kusa-schemes/canine-health and a hip dysplasia power point can be down loaded from the SA Veterinary Foundation website at http://www.savf.org.za/Documents/Hip%20dysplasia%20TV.ppt