Forums » Joint Health

Hip Dysplasia - Heredity or Environmental?

  • July 12, 2015 11:30 PM EDT

    I would like to gain a better understanding of hip heredity vs. environmental causes of HD. Specifically how do two dogs with not good hips produce an excellent and how do dogs with two excellent hips produce a dog with HD?

    • 145 posts
    July 12, 2015 11:38 PM EDT

    Answered by:  James L. Cook, DVM, PhD, DACVS, DACVSMR:

    There are numerous in-depth articles on this question, but in short, the reason this can happen is that HD has a polygenic mode of inheritance (many genes involved) and is a multifactorial developmental problem (the hips are normal at birth, but develop abnormally) based on genetic, nutritional, and activity variables. So, like combining two hands of cards, the “right” breeding combination can produce a good hand (no HD) even if each individual hand was not good and vice versa, especially if the nutritional and activity related factors are done well or poorly, respectively.