Reminder: The selected responses presented below are a reflection of the collaborative effort of Hybrid Wolf Mailing List aka. Wolfdoglist members to share opinions / information about wolf x dogs, responsible "ownership" and breeding practices. This FAQ is not a scientific or veterinary resource. Some responses have been edited for brevity.
Wolfdog FAQ - Question # 9
What is hip dysplasia, and can wolfdogs get it?
When we started asking questions the vet said that Hip Dysplasia (HD) is a developmental disease in which there is a malformation of the hip joint(s). It is a genetic disease. Although HD is thought to have a genetic base, pedigree, diet, exercise and so forth can play a role.
We created special page at our website to give more information about the type of dysplasia Tika had. Visit Wolfdog Oracle - Elbow Dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is a degenerative condition of the hip joints in dogs. It is most commonly seen in german shepards, labrador retrievers, and several other large breeds, but occasionally is seen in smaller breeds. The causes of this condition are not completely understood, but rapid growth and nutritional imbalances are thought to play a part, and there is a provable genetic component. Breeding a dog that has this condition is much more likely to produce puppies with the condition than breeding a male and female which both have excellent hip conformation.
Hip dysplasia means bad growth. A normal hip joint has a deep socket into which fits a nicely rounded "ball", which is the head of the femur or thigh bone. A dysplastic joint has a shallow, irregular socket and/or a small, squared-off femoral head. Combining these features causes the "ball" to slip around and sometimes out of the socket, which isn't very stable. This instablility is painful in itself, and leads to the formation of bone spurs in the joint (arthritis) which cause further pain. Treatment has far too many variables to go into here.
Prevention by not breeding a dog with bad hips is the best medicine. X-rays can determine a dog's hip conformation and determine whether he or she is suitable for breeding.
Since wolfdogs are a cross between a wolf and one or more of several breeds of large dogs, they are susceptible to hip dysplasia if the individual dog(s) in their ancestry have the condition.
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals serves as a diagnostic service and registry for Hip Dysplasia among other orthopedic and genetic diseases in animals. The OFA not only certifies AKC purebred dog breeds, but mixed-breed dogs as well as wolf "hybrids". There is no excuse for not OFA certifying your breeding animals. Make an appointment with your veterinarian to have your wolfdogs x-rayed and those radiographs sent on to the OFA for certification BEFORE breeding.
If you are interested in purchasing a pup with the intention to later breed this animal, make certain that the parents and grandparents (and further back in the lineage if possible) have been OFA certified clear of hip dysplasia.
It is essential to have both male and female animals X-rayed for hip dysplasia BEFORE breeding, even if their parents were OFA certified. If either of them test postive for this debilitating and excrutiatingly painful condition, DO NOT breed.
Sometimes you can tell if an animal has hip dysplasia by looking at such things as walking gait, a slight arch to the back, stiffness in getting up from sleeping position, etc. But most often you cannot tell if an animal does or doesn't have hip dysplasia by appearances alone. Testing by a professional is essential.
For more information about the OFA, it's certification program, or to verify that the OFA certification the breeder you bought your animal from gave you is "real" or not, visit the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals web site.
P.S. Although rare, even wolves can have hip dysplasia. For reference, read:
Douglass, E. M. 1981. Hip Dysplasia in a Timber Wolf. VeterinaryMedicine and Small Animal Clinician 76:401-403.
As far as I am aware, any animal with the genetic tendancy can developdysplasia. Crossing the wolf with the GSD, notorius for dysplasia, is usuallyasking for it. Although any large breed, simply because of size can developthis condition, some have more of a tendancy than others.
Dyslpasia, as far as I know, is a sort of dislocation of the hip in thesocket, causing animals incredible pain and difficulty getting up from alaying down position and even walking.
I think that in determining a suitable puppy to buy, anyone considering alarger breed, should ask about the possibility of dysplasia and even if OFAcerts are available on the parents.
Well, I'm not an expert, but can quote one. Hip dysplasia is an abnormaldevelopment and growth of the hip joint. Both hips are usually affected, but only one hip may show symptoms. The onset of clinical signs may not occur in both hips simultaneously. Hip dysplasia is manifested by varying degrees of laxity (looseness) of the muscles and ligaments around the hip joint with instability and malformation of the joint components. Arthritis is the long term consequence of hip joint looseness.
It would seem to stand to reason if it affects dogs, it could certainlyaffect wolfdogs, as well.
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