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  • Hip Dysplasia in English Bulldogs

    Hip dysplasia is a common but potentially painful condition that occurs mostly in larger breed dogs, including English Bulldogs. It stems from a malformation of the hip joint. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. When the femoral head or “ball” does not fit properly into the socket, it is referred to as hip dysplasia. The condition typically presents itself in young dogs between 3 and 12 months of age.

    Hip dysplasia can be mild, moderate, or severe. In mild cases, hip dysplasia can be asymptotic until later in the dog’s life, causing mild arthritis. In these cases, the condition may be treated with anti-inflammatory medication. In more severe cases, the hip will slip out of socket or develop severe arthritis, causing crippling pain. In these cases, surgery may be indicated.

    Here is an x ray of a 10 week old English Bulldog with severe hip dysplasia. Note the virtual absence of hip sockets:

    Some symptoms of hip dysplasia are limping, dragging, or weakness in the hind legs. Difficultly standing up, stiffness after rest, or reluctance to stand or be active are also common signs of hip dysplasia.

    The first step in diagnosing hip dysplasia in your bulldog is taking him to the vet, preferably an orthopedic specialist. These professionals go to school an additional 4 to 6 years and are the best equipped to give you a definitive diagnosis and prognosis. The only way to definitively diagnose hip dysplasia is through physical examination and x ray. Orthopedic specialists are the most adept and qualified to take and read these x rays.

    There are many treatments for hip dysplasia depending on the severity of the condition. Some forms are controlled by diet and medication, others by injection, and some by surgery. Some dogs do well losing a few pounds, putting on some muscle, and taking a medication like Rimadyl or injecting Adequan. Those are the lucky ones. Interestingly, bulldogs are NOT candidates for total hip replacements because they do not make prosthetic for the unique bulldog leg because it is near impossible to duplicate so an FHO (Femoral Head Ostectomy) or a TPO (Triple Pelvic Osteotomy) would likely be indicated. A JPS (Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis), which is a preventative surgery and helps 90%+ of cases, can also be performed if the dog is under 16 weeks old.

    Hip dysplasia can a difficult problem but bulldogs benefit from being front heavy so their back legs do not do much of the heavy lifting, which means they are good candidates for surgeries to correct hip issues typically recommended for smaller dogs.

    There are many variables in the diagnosis and treatment of hip dysplasia but it is a condition that should be taken care of as soon as possible because it can lead to crippling arthritis and cause other orthopedic problems if left untreated, such as torn ligaments in the knee.
    Comments 16 Comments
    1. Bella'sMom's Avatar
      Bella'sMom -
      Great Article.

      Abby was diagnosed after an injury at about 4 years old. The vet said she would perform a FHO and that Bulldogs do great with it because they are so muscular. She however said she would need to "borrow" instruments, since she hadn't done it since school.

      I had to wait until her torn knee was healed, so with waiting I was giving her Rimadyl and it helped her hips. So Terri and I decided to wait even longer, that is when we discovered the difference in a Good food! We switched her to Innova Senior for the joint help and it was a tremendous difference. This was almost 6 years ago and finding Innova or any decent food was next to impossible around here. One little feed store carried it and that was it. By the time all my friends heard about it working, I think that feed store had to have an entire shelving unit stocked.
      Now at 10 she is on a supplemental (all natural) arthritis chewable that helps with pain and also inflammation.
      @jillh10, Thank you for this, it will help a lot of owners and dogs out there.
    1. TessaAndSamson's Avatar
      TessaAndSamson -
      Great article jillh10!!!!
    1. bullmama's Avatar
      bullmama -
      Excellent Article @jillh10
    1. Sherry's Avatar
      Sherry -
      Thank you for great article. Well Done
    1. bullmama's Avatar
      bullmama -
      @sheshistory could you post that picture of Truman sitting strangely?
    1. sheshistory's Avatar
      sheshistory -
      Sure @desertskybulldogs - here? Or in the article?

      Here it is, hard for me to look at now:

      Uploaded with ImageShack.us
    1. LisaMarie's Avatar
      LisaMarie -
      @ BellasMom,
      I am so happy to hear your story! Thank you for the great advice
    1. nando1301's Avatar
      nando1301 -
      Thanks for the info.
    1. Jenni's Avatar
      Jenni -
      Wow everyone! Thank you all so much my 2 yr old Audrey was limping but not crying at all, so I took her to vet and she has left hip dysplagia and right knee cruicate ligament torn! Yalls comments have been very helpful. My vet said she had to lose 15 lbs , she has lost 2lbs in two weeks! Again thank you everyone
    1. RazrRila99's Avatar
      RazrRila99 -
      @sheshistory - that picture of Truman, what does that represent? My Colossus does that quite a bit, especially as hes laying on the side of his bed. His feet are more straight back though. Is that a sign of hip dysplasia?
    1. sheshistory's Avatar
      sheshistory -
      Quote Originally Posted by RazrRila99 View Post
      @sheshistory - that picture of Truman, what does that represent? My Colossus does that quite a bit, especially as hes laying on the side of his bed. His feet are more straight back though. Is that a sign of hip dysplasia?
      It's not necessarily cause for concern - many dogs lay "frog dog" - but if your baby is sitting like this, that is, in a seated position with his legs behind him, it is a sign of laxity in the hips and you might have to have him evaluated for hip dysplasia. Until I saw Truman doing it, I have never seen a dog sit like that before.

      It's not to be confused with this, which is super common:

      Attachment 41674
    1. RazrRila99's Avatar
      RazrRila99 -
      Thank you for the clarification. Colossus does both, I have an appointment with the Vet to get his boosters this weekend, so Ill have him double check his hips. He did a very thorough check on his hind quarters when I took him in right after I got Colossus, and didnt mention anything about loose hips, but did mention a left knee cap. Ive checked Colossus' hips too, and didnt notice anything "loose."
    1. KentuckyBully's Avatar
      KentuckyBully -
      Minnie just had the JPS surgery at 15 weeks. The outlook is very good. We are so fortunate we have a good vet that checked her hips like she did when we got her.
    1. 2BullyMama's Avatar
      2BullyMama -
      Quote Originally Posted by KentuckyBully View Post
      Minnie just had the JPS surgery at 15 weeks. The outlook is very good. We are so fortunate we have a good vet that checked her hips like she did when we got her.
      Great news... hope she has a quick recovery
    1. bullyluv34's Avatar
      bullyluv34 -
      Thank you for sharing. I truly appreciate it!
    1. bonniehoge's Avatar
      bonniehoge -
      Can someone help me with my English Bulldog Mack. He is 6 years old and been having problems with his hips for a good 4 months now. He has been diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia and the Vet wanted to do the FHO surgery. I had never heard of it before and had a hard time believing his muscles could hold the bone in place. He weighs 84 pounds and the Vet suggested to loose about 10 pounds prior to the procedure. The articles I have been reading are pretty much on dogs were are puppies or young. I also feed him Blue and have been for for about 8 months now mainly for his skin, which has helped, but not his dysplasia. I am not at peace about this surgery because of his age and weight and would love to have some feedback to help me go in the right direction. He will be 7 in November. He currently is really having a hard time getting up and we hate seeing him this way.