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Friday, June 8, 2012

Daily Excercise Prevents Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease to which also the Hovawart is prone. It was always believed due to the Hovawart's size and it's rapid growth from pup to adult, that this was one of the contributing factors why hip dysplasia could develop quicker with Hovawarts.

No Hovawart or other dog is born with hip dysplasia (HD), but genetic disposed dogs can develop HD during their life to a certain degree of severity. New research now shows that factors in the environment play a much larger role in this development of HD than expected.

Randi I. Kronveit, from the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science, came to this remarkable conclusion in her research. Randi followed the development of HD in 500 dogs from 4 different breeds, the Newfoundland, the Labrador, the Leonberger and the Irish Wolfhound.

Rapid growth does not increase the risk of HD

Findings from previous experiments and studies from other countries have indicated that rapid growth and a high body weight are factors that increase the likelihood of developing HD.

But Randi thinks this is not true:
"On the contrary, we found that the breed that had the slowest growth rate – the Newfoundland – had the highest incidence of HD (36%). The Irish Wolfhound had the lowest incidence of HD (10%), yet had the fastest rate of growth."

Daily exercise in the first 3 months prevents HD

Puppies born in spring or summer time, either on farms or with other ample opportunity to exercise during the first three months of their life, had a lower risk of developing HD. But moving up and down stairs is bad. Randi says:
"Overall, it would appear that daily exercise out in gently undulating terrain up until the age of three months gives a good prognosis when it comes to preventing HD."
Based on the findings of this doctoral research, preventive measures through exercise during the first 3 months have a huge impact on how HD will develop and how severe it will become. If HD in its most serious forms can be prevented, the quality of life for dogs with HD can be improved tremendously.

Randi I. Krontveit comes from Oslo. She studied mathematics at The University of Oslo and took her degree at The Norwegian School of Veterinary Science in 1998. She has held a post at NVH since 2001, where she also carried out her doctoral research.


  1. Kenzo , very interesting read.
    Best wishes Molly

  2. Interesting. It's good to know that research is continuing in this disease to help improve the lives of dogs:)

  3. Very interesting!

    Because of the genetic factor, it's also important to have dogs' hips (and elbows) graded before they're bred. There's Penn Hip and OFA stateside, I don't know what the registries are in other countries, unfortunately.

  4. I heard this a few years ago. Great post!

  5. Very interesting. I'm glad to hear research is being done into how to prevent HD.

    Honey's breeder was very concerned about too-rapid growth. She specified in our contract that we not feed puppy food because it promoted rapid growth.

    And, although I had been told not to allow heavy jumping (like agility) until Honey was at least 18 months, I never heard any warning about stairs. You can't go anywhere in our house without stairs. I hope all the other factors in Honey's favor (good hips from her parents, good health in general) keep her from ever facing this painful condition.

  6. I only just found this post! Like with many other diseases found in the modern dog, diet also play its part. Modern commercial feed is geared towards rapid growth of puppies - and this is not necessarily what you want - especially if your breed is one of the heavier ones. Whilst the wolfhound had the rapid growth, they also tend to be quite a rangy dog, thus not putting any extra weight on their joints. However, dogs like the Newfoundland are much heavier. Many people feel that a thin puppy is an unhealthy puppy, but I feel it is the other way round - a fat puppy is a timebomb for all sorts of issues in later life - the same as fat children. Those growing bones need time to harden and if they are growing too fast, they just don't get chance to do so before the next bit of growth goes on. Exercise is important too, but the recommendation is for exercise in play rather than long walks on lead on the road or pavements where the joints are being pounded by continuous and repetitive movements. Raw feeding is a good way of growing your pups slowly and steadily with the nutrients they need available in a more natural state. :-)


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