According to Dr. Carol Beuchat of the institute of Canine Biology, hip dysplasia symptoms can be identified as early as four months. Here's what to look for in your dog.
- Arthritis- This is not the same as the common "arthritis" humans get in old age, but it does share characteristics of joint pain and stiffness. Also, like human arthritis, you may hear clicks and pops when the affected joint moves.
- Lameness or Abnormal Gait- Your pooch may have difficulty walking or even lose the ability to get around altogether. With many dogs developing a characteristic "hopping" gait. You may notice your dog having a harder time standing up or otherwise moving after rest. A dog with hip dysplasia may also have difficulty jumping and going up stairs.
- Muscle Weakness- Muscle weakness is usually secondary and caused by disuse. Depending on the dog's behavior (i.e, reduced overall activity vs. adopting an abnormal gait) this muscle weakness may be confined to the hind legs or seen in the front legs as well.
- Irritability- Dogs with hip dysplasia deal with significant pain and unlike humans, can't understand why. As a result, they may become fearful or angry and lash out. If your pooch's disposition suddenly turns negative, hip dysplasia may be the cause.