Hip Dysplasia in Wolfdogs - Most recent Article


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Hip dysplasia occurs when there is insufficient stability to keep the head or ball of the femur within the
socket of the hip joint. This may be due to stretching of the joint capsule, weakness in the surrounding
muscles, or a failure of the "socket" to develop properly.
The instability of the abnormal hip joint results in new bone being deposited around the joint. This hip
deformity can be painful and restrict the animal’s movement.

Although rare in undomesticated animals, Wolves have been documented with hip dysplasia. It is observed in most breeds of dogs to some degree, rarely occurring in small breeds under 12 inches.

No genetic tests are conducted on the vast majority of Wolfdogs. This greatly increases the chance of
producing puppies with this complex (called polygenic or multigenic) disease.

Many factors are involved in what causes this debilitating condition. No specific genetic pattern of inheritance has been identified, it is more a concentration of factors.

Waiting patiently

Why aren’t Wolfdog breeders testing?

1. Tests cost money, many breeders are not willing to pay for them.

When you decide to provide a home for an animal, one takes on the responsibility of all that entails. This includes; food, housing (kennel cost), veterinary care, etc. This isn’t something you should do, expecting to breed the animal and make your money back.
If a Wolfdog breeder is doing nothing more than letting two of their animals copulate, where is the added expense? Bottle-feeding? (Take the cost of a pup X 6 for an average litter - it does not cost that much to make formula)

One should be breeding to improve the animals, not to make money. With the price of Wolfdog puppies, surely breeders can afford a few tests.

2. Many high content Wolfdogs have not been socialized properly and therefore cannot easily be loaded into a vehicle and be taken to the vet without causing stress to the animal. 

If a wolfdog is stressed from a visit to the vets, what will happen when you have a female in labor, and she has complications? You cannot medicate her, how are you going to get her medical attention when you couldn’t even take her in for an x-ray? 

Interesting noises

3. “Wolfdogs don’t get hip dysplasia”

In the “Wolf Hybrid” (Wolf mix) category of the OFA database, 34 have been tested. Out of those animals 23.5 % did not pass according to the OFA in November 2004. This percentage of Wolfdogs affected by hip Dysplasia is most likely lower than actual numbers, due to the fact that radiographs depicting obvious dysplasia would not be submitted.

4. “The risk of being put under for the test is not worth it”
But the risk for an animal that has to have surgery to repair the damage of HD is? Is it better to let your animal suffer from this painful disease? 
My vet uses Domitor to sedate, It has a reversal called Antiseden (just in case). 
I have OFA’d several animals, even one with no sedation, and I have not encountered any problems.


5. "I heard it wasn’t hereditary."

For this purpose, lets just say 50 % of the time it isn’t, how do you know when X-ray’s show degeneration that it wasn’t caused by the inherited quality and quantity of the supporting tissues around the hip joint. The injury that you are sure had to have caused it, (linoleum floor, etc) might have actually been attributed to a predisposition for HD.
Why take the chance? Testing (X-rays) can also let you know a potential for whelping complications, so isn’t a bad idea regardless.

6. "No animals in the line have ever had hip dysplasia"

One of the things owners like about Wolfdogs is their stamina. They have a high tolerance for pain and are not commonly being treated for sprains, etc. Your Wolfdog may have hip dysplasia and exhibit no signs. I know this because I had one.

7. You’re concerned about “identifying” you animal as a Wolfdog.

You don’t have to! For instance, “Jake” could be submitted, as a mix and he would go in the “Hybrid” category. This is where OFA places mixed breed DOGS.

Most everyone agrees that Wolves have a low incidence of HD, many wolfdog owners claim few medical problems as a reason they prefer them as companions. This however will not be the case if breeders do not start testing.


An X-ray that received a rating of "Excellent"


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