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Hip Dysplasia in German Shepherds

Hip dysplasia in German Shepherds is, sadly, a pretty common health issue. According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, approximately 15 percent of all German Shepherds born between 2000 and 2002 were diagnosed as suffering from hip dysplasia.

What hip dysplasia in German Shepherds means

To better understand what it means when your veterinarian diagnoses hip dysplasia in your German Shepherd, it helps to have at least a cursory knowledge of the basics of this debilitating condition.

Hip dysplasia is caused whenever a looseness occurs in the joint between the femur and pelvis. Over time this looseness causes damage to the femoral head and to the socket and they no longer fit together properly.

Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease (DJD), often accompanies hip dysplasia, causing additional pain and disability. This damage then causes arthritic changes in the joint which reduces the range of motion and causes pain and inflammation.

Some of the symptoms and signs of hip dysplasia in German Shepherds:

  • Moving more slowly
  • Difficulty getting up and/or lying down
  • Weight shift to another leg
  • Limping
  • Personality, behavior and/or appetite changes
  • Reluctance to walk, jump or play
  • Refusing to use stairs or get in the car
  • Yelping when touched
  • Muscle atrophy

Hip dysplasia is considered to be the most common inherited orthopedic disease in large dog breeds and millions of dogs are affected by it. Currently there is no genetic test for hip dysplasia due to its complex genetic nature.

German Shepherds with almost identical genetic makeups may have a wide range of differences in what degree of hip dysplasia they display as adults.

This fact can be attributed to the differences of environmental influences on the development of the hip joint, and especially the effect of diet on puppies and young German Shepherds.

Proper nutrition is essential for the development of a strong healthy dog. However, poor or excessive nutrition can exacerbate genetic tendencies to develop hip dysplasia.


Although there is no actual cure for canine hip dysplasia, arthritis, or osteochondrosis (OCD), regular treatment with Winston’s Joint System will give immediate and long-term relief without drugs.

Winston’s is a combination of three, totally-natural whole food supplements developed by a Naturopathic Doctor for his own dog. There are no side-effects because it’s just good whole food. In addition, there are no dosage problems because the dog’s body uses only what it needs.


Although canine hip dysplasia (CHD) may remain unseen in some dogs, early detection is critical.

The first step to determining whether a German Shepherd has hip dysplasia is through a careful physical examination by a veterinarian who will observe the dog as it sits, stands, and walks.

This is the first measure to check for characteristic signs of hip dysplasia such as a side-to-side swinging gait, lameness, and arched back which is caused by shifting weight forward, or the presence of overdeveloped front-leg and shoulder muscles.

X-rays are the easiest way to diagnose hip dysplasia. A vet will evaluate the joints and take into consideration any symptoms like those listed above because sometimes an x-ray won’t reveal the full extent of the dog’s pain. The vet will also consider the dog’s movements and any evidence of lameness before making a diagnosis.

The veterinarian will move the dog’s hip joint to assess its range of motion and check for pain with the joint extended. The vet will also listen for the “click” of the hip popping out of joint and for any grating sound of bone on bone that indicates cartilage loss.

At the first signs of hip dysplasia, make an appointment with your veterinarian and discuss with him or her the symptoms you have been noticing in your dog. The sooner you can begin treatment, the less pain your beloved dog will experience and you may be lucky enough to extend the life of your friend and companion.

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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