Canine Hip Dysplasia  (CHD)

By: Brigitte Rhinehart

Canine Hip Dysplasia is the irregular formation of the coxofemoral joint.

This is the joint that joins the femur, the  longest bone in the body, to the hip socket. 
The hip is a ball and socket joint,  and the ball (femoral head) must fit well into the socket (cup) for the joint to  function properly.


The main contributors to the development of CHD are joint  laxity and
the depth of the acetabulum (cup).

Early signs of CHD include: -  Reluctance to go up and down stairs or to 
jump - Difficulty rising or laying  down - Bunny hopping when running, i.e. both 
hind limbs move together.


Diagnosis  is made through radiographic findings, 
either by the method advocated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) 
or by that of the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHIP) 
which measures joint laxity. 


While CHD is among the principal orthopedic diseases in the GSMD, fortunately for Swissys, it manifests itself rarely in a severe and crippling form. Indeed, unless x-rays are taken, many Swissy owners are not even aware that they have a  dysplastic dog. Quite often, mildly and 
even moderately affected Swissys do not  show any or only very subtle clinical signs of the disease. While treatment  options for severely dysplastic dogs are available,

we will not discuss them  here as they are so rarely applicable to Swissys.
Prior to breeding, Swissys should be screened for CHD and evaluated by an established registry such as OFA or PennHIP. It is preferable to use only CHD free animals.