Laurie's Blogs.


Dec 2013

New research regarding canine hip dysplasia

When research comes out that has high clinical relevance, YOU should be the first one to alert your clients to this.  One such bit of research comes from the PhD work by Randi I Kronveit from the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science.  


Dr. Krontveit studied hip dysplasia in dogs (nearly 500 dogs from birth to 10 years - should they have survived that long).  The breeds studies were Newfoundlands, Labrador Retrievers, Leonbergers, and Irish Wolfhounds.  Her findings could be useful to both breeders as well as owners of dogs with any kind of predisposition to canine hip dysplasia.


Here's a summary of some of her findings:

  • Rapid growth and high body weight in the first year of life did not result in an increased risk of hip dysplasia.  In fact, of the 4 breeds studies, the breed with the slowest growth rate - the Newfoundland - had the highest incidence of hip dysplasia (36%).  The Irish Wolfhound had only a 10% incidence, despite having the fastest growth rate.
  • Labrador Retrievers and Leonbergers developed clinical signs of hip pain (either from hip dysplasia or secondary degenerative joint disease) later in life than Newfoundland Dogs.  If the radiological hip status (at 12 - 18 months) was either mild, moderate or severe for hip dysplasia,  then the chance of needing a vet consultation regarding the hips was significantly increased.  However, access to off-leash exercise at 12-months of age decreased the need for hip-related veterinary care.
  • Life expectancy was found to correlated with radiological hip dysplasia status and breed:  among the cohort studied, 60.2% of Labradors, 28.8% of Newfoundlands, 16.11% of Leonbergers, and only 6.4% of Irish Wolfhounds were alive at 10-years of age.
  • Puppies born in spring or summer-time, either on farms or with other ample opportunity to exercise during the first 3-months of their life, had a lower risk of developing hip dysplasia.  Recommendations could be made to allow daily outdoor exercise on soft ground in moderately rough terrain to decrease the risk of developing radiographically detectable hip dysplasia (in these 4 breeds).
  • Puppies allowed to walk on stairs from birth to 3 months of age (this was the time-frame studied) had an increased risk of developing hip dysplasia.


So, what do we do with this research?  Advise your clients accordingly!  You have breeder-clients or new-puppy owners?  Yes?  Then direct them to read this blog.  Repost it on your own website, blog or Facebook page.  Provide a handout to go into your new-puppy-owner's take home package.  Essentially, get the information out there!


Want to read the abstracts for yourself?  Go to PubMed ( and type in Krontveit to find the abstracts.


Until next time…