Hi All,


We just found out that our 5 year-old corgi has hip dysplasia.  She has it in both hips (worse in one than the other).   She also has arthritis in her spine.  We feel terrible since a lot of this (according to our vet) was brought on because she is overweight.  We were told, though, that she was most likely born with the hip dysplasia.  She is now on a strict diet and she will soon begin water therapy.  She's also on Rimadyl for the pain.  I'm just wondering if anyone else here has had experience with this?  Is it manageable?  It's all very depressing and I feel so guilty because we didn't monitor her weight as well as we should have.  We've always known that she needed to lose a few pounds, but, I never thought this would happen.  She goes to the vet on a regular basis and they've always mentioned that she could lose weight, but, they've never made it seem so dire.  When viewing the X-Rays, they were shocked at how overweight she is.  She's just about 34 pounds.   


We purchased her from a very reputable breeder, so, this is sort of surprising.  I don't, however, blame the breeder at all since we should not have been taken in by our corgi's adorable brown eyes and "please give me a treat" looks.  Instead we should have been monitoring her weight and had her on a diet.  I am curious, though, if anyone knows whether hip dysplasia is really genetic?  I'm confused as on one hand the vet said she was born with this and on the other hand she said her weight caused it.  I guess she was born with it (or predisposed to it) and the weight exacberated the condition?


Any advice would be great.  Thanks for listening.

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A lot of corgis are born with the predisposition to develope hip dysplasia.  They naturally have "loose" ligaments holding their joints in place. It's apart of the dwarfism of the breed.  Corgis can also be born with shallow hip sockets making it even harder for the already compromised ligaments to hold them in place.  She may not have been born with clinical HD but born with a predisposition to develope it.  Extra weight is known to add even more complications to an already existing issue. Makes the onset of HD earlier than it would have otherwise set in and I believe it makes them more symptomatic.  A lighter weight dog with the same hips  won't feel as much discomfort. 


I would suggest adding a quality joint supplement to her diet.  Make sure it comes from good digestable sources such as chondroiton from a marine source with enhanced absorption with Vitamin C.  There is a ton of research out there on it.


For future reference,,,,as a breeder I recommend people also make sure their puppies get some sort of  similar joint support so that they grow a stronger joint to start with.  I think we'd see a lot less HD if we put as much emphasis on growing strong joints as we do strong bones, that goes for humans as well.

Be sure the glucosamine has chondroitan ( I'm sure that is not spelled correctly) in it. You need both for maximum effectiveness. There are lots brands out there for dogs. Rosie takes one for her shoulder and knee and Rocky gets one because he's a Corgi! My husband and I both take the people version also. There's lots of research that say it's good stuff for joints.
I've heard this works fantastically.  It's for horses, but it's the same product for a horse as it is for a dog... it's just cheaper because it is in bulk.  Or, that's what I'm told.

Great post.  Holy crap!


So do you all recommend I start giving my 6 month old Butters the glucosamine so he'll have the benefit as he's growing?


I give Franklin both a glucosamine/chondrotin supplement and fish oil daily, he isn't even 4 yet. I think key is to start at a lower dose so you have some room to move up in the future. For Franklin I buy the human stuff, my vets really like Move Free brand and recommended giving him 1/2 tablet twice a day for 30 days then go back to 1/2 tablet once a day as maintenance. Fish Oil I give him 1 600 mg capsule. Both I buy at Costco/Sam's Club and both are under $20 and last forever. I have seen A TON of improvement in a soft tissue type injury that the vets couldn't figure out in his back right leg. He hasn't limped at all since starting it.

Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is absolutely genetic.  Here is a very long and very in-depth explanation of how CHD works and why hip testing is done and whatnot.  A dog that does not carry any genes for CHD will never come down with CHD, no matter how overweight they are.  A dog that does carry CHD genes may not exhibit signs, however. Weight, exertion level, puppy nutrition (maybe), and some other factors affect the appearance of CHD symptoms also. The thing about Corgi hips, though, is that they appear very dysplastic.  The femoral head is flattened and the acetabulum (the hollow part the femur fits into) is shallow.  The perfect Corgi hip is considered dysplastic on a non-dwarfed dog.  Does your vet know this?  Is it possible they misdignosed her, or is she exhibiting symptoms of CHD?  I would contact your breeder and let her know what is happening with your dog so she knows that one of her dogs carries CHD genes and she can let other puppy buyers know.  As for the spinal arthritis, all Corgis eventually develop arthritis in the spine because of their dwarfism.  The arthritis is aggravated and may happen earlier due to extra weight, however.  

It may be genetic in that bone and joint structure is generally determined in large part by the genes, but since no one understands the genetics or knows what they are, it is almost useless to breeders IN SOME BREEDS to look at the genetics of it.  If no one knows how it is passed on, then it is impossible to breed away from.  Two dogs with good hips can produce dysplastic pups.  One litter might have two dysplastic pups and an excellent.  It's most likely influenced by many genes.


It is true that Corgis tend to look dysplastic on x-ray, and also that weight and too-fast early growth are predisposing factors to developing clinical signs of dysplasia.  


The pup is born with the hip sockets he's born with, and he inherited those to some degree (though I'm sure prenatal development plays a role, too).   But what happens after he's born is so heavily influenced by lifestyle, diet, etc.


It's also true that larger, heavier dogs are more likely to have bad hips.  It seems that breeding the dogs to look a certain way increases the likelihood of having a problem.

I believe it is considered to be genetic but there is no definitive test for it. Even two dogs rated "excellent" with the OFA can produce dysplastic puppies. Usually breeders will only breed dogs that are rated at least "fair" but that is still not a guarantee that every puppy will have good hips. I think there is someone here who went through the surgery with her dog and is doing quite well - Sydney maybe?


Weight can definitely play a big part too. Putting additional weight on a weak joint is going to make it deteriorate faster and cause more pain than if the dog was kept slim. I've also heard that feeding a super premium puppy food which causes very fast growth can contribute in the long run as well.


 I don't know what all your vet recommended, but if you did decide to go the surgery route I personally would have films sent to the OFA or Pennhip for evaluation beforehand. Some vets just don't understand what a normal corgi's hips should look like.

On a manageability note, I had a dog who was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 4 months old. He was a giant breed and was having growing pains so they did x-rays of elbows and hips and found he had iffy hips. After he turned 2 we had the hip x-rays done and they dysplasia was confirmed. We kept his weight down and gave him glucosamine/chondrotin (just bought the human kind from Costco or GNC) and he did great until he was about 8 or 9. He was around 135 pounds so going that long without too much arthritis developing, etc was fantastic. So don't be too terribly alarmed by the diagnosis. You can manage it but you must be diligent. SHE MUST LOSE THE WEIGHT! Its sooooooooo hard with our corgis to keep them on the lighter side, but a dog with dysplasia and arthritis will fare much better if she is on the lighter side of normal. For my big dog we kept him 10 pounds lighter than normal (between 125-128) and he did great. Be sure to keep up on annual blood tests because Rimadyl can be hard on the liver. We supplemented with milk thistle bc it helps detox the liver when dogs are on NSAIDs like Rimadyl. Also shoot for the lowest possible dose so you can increase it over time as the arthritis continues to develop in the next several years. Some dogs can actually get away with using the Rimadyl only once a day or every other day etc. So do what seems to work best for her. Good luck!
Hi Dan, get a second opinion from a PennHIP vet. The only thing you can do right now is lose the weight, weight has EVERYTHING to do with Hip Dysplasia. You are NOT going to lose all the weight by exercise alone,  majority of calories comes from food, so cut 1/5 of it and commit to walking him 45-90 mins daily on leash. If walking is not an option, look into hydrotherapy, it'll put minimal stress on his joints yet strengthen his muscles, great for rehab, pre / post op. Genetics loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.
Stop blaming yourself! Hip dysplasia is still not completely understood and you cannot KNOW that your corgi's weight is the big deciding factor in arthritis and dysplasia. Just help her as best you can now. Also, having had two non Corgis with hip and elbow dysplasia, I am going to feed the next gsd an all natural (organic if I can afford it) combination of cooked and raw food. Start reading about nutrition. Just as we are learning (and people can be slow as a group, and influenced as a group) that our favorite "all natural" ice cream is actually titanium dioxide and polysorbate 80, I nonlonger wonder whether or not dry, packaged dog food is good for my dog. It can't really be! I'm still doing homework on this one...


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