HIP dysplasia remains a common orthopaedic disease of dogs despite many years of selective breeding based on early detection of affected animals through the British Veterinary Association/Kennel Club (BVA/KC) Hip Dysplasia Scheme. While selective breeding can alter an animal's genes, factors such as diet, bodyweight and exercise have a major influence on the phenotypic expression of an individual's genotype. For example, labrador retrievers fed 25 per cent less than littermates fed ad libitum have been found to have a lower frequency and severity of hip dysplasia and subsequent osteoarthritis. Although controversial, it has been suggested that as few as 24 per cent of young dogs with severe radiographic signs of hip dysplasia will actually develop clinically significant hip disease if managed appropriately. This can make it difficult to determine whether an individual dog should be managed conservatively or surgically and, if the latter, when the most appropriate time is to perform that surgery. This article reviews the current literature on the treatment of dogs with hip dysplasia and discusses the indications for surgical management of the condition.
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