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Hip Dysplasia in Collies

Hip dysplasia is a disease of the hip in which the ball and socket joint is malformed.

Meet the Collies

Collies are friendly, loving and highly intelligent. They make gentle and loyal friends to the entire family, even to other pets in a household.

Even though they are devoted to their family, they can act very wary of strangers, making them appear to be standoffish or aloof.

Collies love to play and thrive on your attention, but they are low-maintenance, non-destructive, non-demanding dogs.

When it comes to guarding their family, collies are not as docile and heroic as Lassie was. If they sense a threat they will protect their family and household, but they prefer to be friendly companions. They love regular exercise, but don’t need a vigorous amount of exercise like some larger breed dogs.

Lassie was always rescuing Timmy, but you need to be aware that Collies are not natural born rescuers and can’t be relied upon to baby-sit your children or run back to your house to alert you when someone is hurt.

Collies need daily brushing and regular grooming to keep their coats from getting too frizzy. They are very sensitive to heat, and their noses easily sunburn.

They originated in Scotland and northern England, and for generations they were used for herding cows and sheep. After Queen Victoria embraced the breed, Collies became popular pets across Europe.

Collies have light, graceful frames and long, bushy coats. Their heads are lean and wedge-shaped with flat tops and thin faces. Their ears are usually pointed and their noses stick straight out. They have trim, muscular bodies and broad chests. Typical colors for Collies are sable, sable merle, blue merle, tricolor, and white with markings of the other colors.

A healthy Collie can live as long as 16 years. Unfortunately, Collies are very susceptible to developing hip dysplasia and arthritis.

Hip dysplasia in Collies

Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that primarily affects large and giant breeds of dogs like Collies but can also affect medium-sized breeds and occasionally small breeds. It is primarily a disease of purebreds, although it can also occur in mixed breeds.

To understand hip dysplasia in Collies and the resulting arthritis, you need a basic understanding of how the dog’s hip joint is affected.

The hip joint is comprised of a ball and socket that forms the attachment of the hind leg to the body. The ball portion is the head of the femur and the socket is located on the pelvis.

In a normal hip joint the ball rotates freely within the socket. The bones are shaped to perfectly match each other with the socket surrounding the ball.

To strengthen the joint, the two bones are held together by a strong ligament. The joint capsule, a strong band of connective tissue, circles the two bones to provide added stability.

This is a normal hip joint:

Hip dysplasia is linked to abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the dog’s hip joints.

As the disease progresses, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. This separation of the two bones within the joint causes a drastic change in the size and shape of the articular surfaces.

This is a hip joint showing the results of hip dysplasia in Collies:

Most Collies who eventually develop hip dysplasia are born with normal hips, but due to their genetic make-up the soft tissues surrounding the joint develop abnormally. This leads to the symptoms associated with hip dysplasia. The disease may affect both hips, or only the right or left hip.

The symptoms of hip dysplasia in Collies cause afflicted dogs to walk or run with an altered gait, similar to a bunny-hop. They begin to resist any movement that requires full extension or flexion of the rear legs. They will experience stiffness and pain in their rear legs after exercising and on first rising in the morning. Climbing stairs becomes difficult if not impossible. Some dogs will limp and are less willing to participate in normal daily activities, including walks they formerly enjoyed.

It appears that the amount of calories a dog consumes, especially during its fast-growth period from three to ten months, has the biggest impact on whether or not a dog genetically prone to hip dysplasia will develop the disease.

Obesity can increase the severity of the disease in dogs that are genetically susceptible and the extra weight will intensify the degeneration of a dog’s joints and hips. Dogs who are genetically prone to hip dysplasia and also are overweight, are at a much higher risk of developing hip dysplasia and eventually osteoarthritis.

Exercise can be another risk factor. Dogs genetically susceptible to hip dysplasia may have an increased incidence of the disease if they are over-exercised at a young age. Moderate exercise like running and swimming is best for exercising young dogs.


Because hip dysplasia in Collies is primarily an inherited condition, there are no products that can prevent its development.

Through proper diet, exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, you can slow, and sometimes halt, the progression of these degenerative joint diseases while providing your dog with relief from its pain. Winston’s provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue.

You might also want to consider providing your dog with an orthopedic bed like the Canine Cooler Bed which distributes the dog’s weight evenly and reduces pressure on its joints. The Canine Cooler Bed uses revolutionary SoothSoft Technology to give your dog the very best in comfort, and the fluid-enhanced design offers a dry, cooling effect with superior cushioning and support. It’s perfect for dogs with hip dysplasia or arthritis.

There are different assumptions on how to prevent the progression of hip dysplasia in Collies. Poor nutrition, inadequate or improper exercise, and increased body weight may all contribute to the severity of osteoarthritis after the hip dysplasia has developed. Watching the calories your puppy or young dog consumes and preventing obesity in your dog, allowing only non-stressful types of exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, are the best things you can do for your pet Collie.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.


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