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Canine Hip Dysplasia: Reviewing the Evidence for Nonsurgical Management


  • Kristin A. Kirkby DVM, MS, CCRT, Diplomate ACVS,

    Corresponding author
    1. Seattle Veterinary Specialists, Kirkland, WA
    • Corresponding Author

      Kristin A. Kirkby, DVM, MS, CCRT, Diplomate ACVS, Seattle Veterinary Specialists, 11814 115th Avenue NE, Kirkland, WA 98034


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  • Daniel D. Lewis DVM, Diplomate ACVS

    1. Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
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To systematically review the evidence available for nonsurgical management of hip dysplasia (HD).

Study design

Literature review.


Databases (Pubmed, Veterinary Information Network) were searched for clinical studies on nonsurgical management of HD in dogs. The evidence in each study was reviewed and assigned a score (I–IV) based on previously reported levels of evidence.


Fourteen articles were identified that met the inclusion criteria, including 3 Level IV, 4 Level III, and 7 Level II studies. Methods of nonsurgical management reviewed included: activity restrictions, weight management, acupuncture, modulation of joint disease by polysulfated glycosaminoglycans, mesenchymal stem cell therapy, and extra corporeal shock wave therapy.


Weight management is an effective and important component of managing dogs with HD and associated osteoarthritis. Techniques that modulate the progression of joint disease may also be beneficial for treating dogs with HD. Further studies are needed to investigate other methods of managing HD such as hydrotherapy and physical rehabilitation.