Golden Retriever Dog Forums banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

9 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I heard 'hip dysplasia" can be quite severe problem in Golden Retrievers.
Is there any prevention against this problem or is it geneticly programmed in genes and there is nothing golden retriever owners can do to prevent it?
Are goldens born with it or it comes as they age?
Whoever knows something about this issue. Please let me know.

30 Posts
Hi Giorgy,

I had this article since 1998, it took me a while to find it again.

This article has been accepted for publication in the following dog magazines: Poodle Variety , Afghan Variety , Sight Hound Variety, Dog World and other dog magazines, so I think we can be pretty sure it is accurate.

Here you go, I hope you'll learn from it as much as I did.

The Cause & Prevention
1994 by Robert H. Hathaway, D.V.M.
929 Hawthorn Drive
Lafayette, CA 94549
(510) 930-3339

My speciality was Equine Chiropractic, until one day, an owner was
explaining . . . "My horse has difficulties going up hill, down hill and
jumping." What popped into my mind was . . "My dog has diff iculty going
up steps, down steps and jumping into the car. ", the symptoms of hip

I don't know how long veterinarians, including myself, have believed that
hip dysplasia is caused by a genetic defect. Someone in the past noticed
that one breed was more prone to hjp dysplasia than others. S/He couldn't
find the cause, and assumed it was genetic. That assumption has been
passed on to veterinary students, since that time, as veterinary knowledge

I now know, genetics is not the cause. I will agree, some breeds are
genetically predisposed to producing offspring that develop this problem.
It appears that the longer legged dogs are more prone to develop hip
dysplasia after birth. The larger breeds with a narrow pelvis are more
prone to produce puppies with this problem at birth. Naturally, there are
cases in almost every breed that are born with hip dysplasia, and there
are cases in almost every breed that hip dysplasia develops after birth.

The Cause

There are two causes of hip dysplasia during whelping. One is due to a
difficult passage through the birth canal. The other is due to pulling the
pups from the birth canal. When the pup passes through the birth canal,
one shoulder is forced back, and one hip is forced back. This makes the
puppy slightly narrower for the birth passage. The problem occurs when the
birth canal is too narrow for the pup. This squeezes the hip that is
rearward further back, causing the sacrum to dislocate (subluxate). This
is also what can happen when the pup is pulled, especially during
contractions. It doesn't take much force to dislocate a puppy's sacrum.

Accidents are the other causes of sacral dislocations. The most common
accident occurs when a dog is running, and turns on a slippery surface
(tile, linoleum, wet decks or wet grass). The dog's rear end usually goes
out from under them to the side, causing the sacrum to dislocate. The
longer legged the dog, the more force there is to dislodge the sacrum due
to leverage.

If you or I were to get on all fours and walk, as we brought our legs
forward, our hips would swing forward. The spine would bend to the right
as the left hip came forward, and to the left when the right hip came
forward. Nature provided the sacrum to slip back and forth across the last
lumbar in four-legged animals. This biomechanical adaptation, prevents the
spine from bending right, and left as their hips are brought forward. See
Figure 1.

When the sacrum dislocates to the right or left, it locks, locking one hip
in the forward position, and the other in the rearward position. The
spinal nerves exiting the last lumbar, and entering the sacrum are

This causes the following:

I. Pain. It hurts to jump. It hurts go up hill/steps. It hurts to go
down hill/steps
2. Nerve impulse is diminished to the muscles that hold the ball (head
of the femur) into the socket (acetabulum). This allows the ball to drop
or rotate slightly out of position. Which in time, can cause detrimental
remodeling of the joint
3. Nerve impulse diminishes to other muscles in the rear end, causing
locomotive, and tail control problems.
4. The myelin sheath which surrounds the pinched nerves, begins to
atrophy due to the lack of nourishment. This we term "Myelatrophy".
5. When the dog begins walking, after the sacral dislocation, the hip
that is stuck rearward, causes problems further up the spine. When this
hip is brought forward, the spine bends to the opposite side (as a person
on all fours). When this occurs, one intervertebral disc, usually in the
lumbar discs. This continual irritation to this disc causes pain,
inflammation, and in time, calcification to occur. Continual bending of
the spine will eventually rupture the disc, or cause it to disintegrate,
calcify and fuse the two vertebrae together. Think of bending a wire back
and forth repeatedly in the same spot. lt will eventually break. This is
why we see more ruptured discs in short legged dogs. Their spine bends
many more times than a larger dog's, covering the same distance.

The Prevention


1. Replace linoleum with 18" rubberized tiles. They clean up just as easily.
2. Purchase rubberized deck paint ~from a sail boat supply store, for your
outdoor decks.

There are other accidents that can dislocate a dog's sacrum, but they are
minor compared to the above. However, accidents do occur, and puppies will
still be born with dislocations. The following are symptoms seen in dogs
with a dislocated sacrum, which are correctable:

1. Hip Dysplasia (If the joint looks good on x-ray, it is fixable. The
others can be helped, including dogs that have hip replacements.)
2. Sore back.
3. Difficulty handling steps or stairs.
4. Difficulty getting in, or out of the car.
5. Difflculty handling rear legs when moving.
6. Not lifting leg to urinate. (Adult intact males only)
7. Squatting unevenly while urinating.
8. Short stepping with one rear leg.
9. Bearing weight unevenly on rear legs.
10. Partial paralysis of one or both rear legs
11. Drags toes on one or both rear paws.
12. Unable to back up without falling.
13. Prefers to sit on one side of rear end.
14. Tail slightly offcenter. (This is normal in some breeds.)
15. Tail does not wag, or stand up.
16. Breath has a foul odor. (Continual pain causes the continual secretion
of adrenalin, causing food to putrefy in the intestines.)
17. Hyper or restless for no.apparent reason.
18. Not acting to form in the absence of other evident problems.
19. Unhappy.

A dog with this structural problem may exhibit one or a combination of any
of the above symptoms. Two togs with the exact same dislocation may show
different symptoms.

I hope this helped.

One of the first members!
48 Posts
Ina you're just great, I read "hip dysplasia" a lot, in books, articles on the internet, etc. and they always talked about that you shouldn't buy a dog that had it, and how to know it had it, but never how to prevent it. Thank you so much, I'm doing the same as Giorgy :)

1,719 Posts
I have never heard of any "cure" for it. A good exercise regimen and supplements recommended by your vet can help, but if it's too severe, surgery is definitely the way to go. From what I've heard, most dogs get completely back to normal after the surgery.

4 Posts
Our 5 month old just was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. We think it was aggravated a few days ago when she was running with another dog. She has been very "mopy" for a few days and we went to the vet today and her x-rays are terrible!! We are completely devastated this has happened to her! She is on rymadal for who knows how long!

1,684 Posts
How terrible Tepher2? If the x-rays are showing up bad then the best way to go is surgery.

It all really depends on how bad they are as too what the options are. I am sorry to hear your golden baby was found to have HD!
1 - 10 of 10 Posts