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Hip dysplasia in pupp

Species: Dog
Breed: German Shepherd
Age: 1-2 years
Hi I have a 13 month old German Shepherd male Havoc. He runs great. Jumps great and shows no hip problems. However at 13 months he still bunny hops when running at full speed (like a rabbit both back legs move at the same time). Also when he goes up steps real fast(and he can). Sometimes he will bunny hop-leap up the steps to get up even faster. He bunny hop leaps up 4 or so steps st once. Is this bunny hopping something I should be concerned about?? I have seen on line and told this kind of bunny hopping is an early warning sign of impending hip problems. Thanx Much Bill.....


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for your question. I can understand your concerns. As German Shepherds are a breed that is known to have a predisposition towards hip problems, I can see how an odd gait could make you a little worried.

As far as I know, however, there is no evidence that shows that dogs who have an odd gait as a puppy will be more likely to get hip dysplasia. Dogs with hip dysplasia usually do not end up showing signs of hip dysplasia until they are quite a bit older. Often, by two years of age there can be changes that can be seen on an xray to indicate that hip dysplasia is likely to happen years down the road, but usually there is no outward sign of problems with the hips at this point.

In my career I have seen a couple of dogs who had problems with their hips when they were as young as 13 months. But, I wouldn't say that bunny hopping would make me concerned. Now, if Navoc was showing signs of pain such as limping or whining while he was walking or jumping then I would be more concerned.

It's never a bad idea to have your vet take a look and even consider xrays, but I don't think that the bunny hopping that you have described is anything to worry about.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.