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What is Hip Dysplasia?

If you suspect your cat has hip dysplasia, watch for signs of lameness and demonstration of pain when you gently palpate the hip area. If you notice these signs, contact your veterinarian for an evaluation.

Hip dysplasia in cats is a genetically inherited malformation of the hip joint. When the ball and socket of the hip don't form properly, there is increased movement in the joint. The involved bones start to knock and rub against one another, leading to degeneration and a painful arthritis. A cat with hip dysplasia will show progressive signs of lameness like limping, unwillingness to move, continually chewing or licking the hip, and expressing pain when the hip area is touched.

Hip Dysplasia Average Cost

From 478 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,500

Average Cost

$950

Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Cats

The symptoms of hip dysplasia in your cat will vary depending on the amount of movement in the hip joint, and the extent of inflammation in the joint. Depending on the length and severity of the disease progression, you may notice:

  • Reluctance to run, jump, or climb
  • Difficulty rising
  • Hind limb lameness that may be more pronounced after exercise
  • Swaying or bunny-hopping when moving
  • Standing with hind legs unusually close together
  • Demonstration of pain in the hip joint - crying or resisting when area is touched

  • Excessive licking or chewing in the hip area
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Causes of Hip Dysplasia in Cats

As with dogs, hip dysplasia in cats arises from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. 

There is an inherited susceptibility in some cats for dysplasia. Although any cat can develop hip dysplasia, it is more common in the following breeds:

  • Maine Coon
  • Persian
  • Himalayan

When a cat has genes that contribute to hip dysplasia, the ball and socket joint of the hip will be more shallow than normal, resulting in excessive movement of the bones in the joint.

If a cat has a shallow hip joint, the signs and severity of the disease will vary depending on the age and the following environmental and lifestyle factors:

  • Weight gain or presence of obesity
  • Nutritional level
  • Muscle mass in the pelvic area
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Diagnosis of Hip Dysplasia in Cats

If your cat has been showing signs of lameness and pain in the hip, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian. The doctor will collect a detailed history from you. He or she will ask you about the symptoms you've been seeing and if there have been any recent events or injuries that may have led to the symptoms. Any information you have about your cat's parents may also help confirm a diagnosis.

Once the doctor has a history, he or she will conduct a thorough examination. Your vet will palpate the hips to check for loss of muscle mass and any demonstration of pain. The doctor will also manipulate affected hips to check for range of motion, signs of looseness in the hip, and any grating in the joint when it moves. Your cat's doctor may also run blood tests to check for signs of an inflammatory response. 

A definitive diagnosis can be made with x-rays of the hips. The pictures will help confirm a shallow hip socket and can reveal the severity of joint degeneration. X-rays will also serve to rule out other conditions such as an acute injury in the hip, spinal cord inflammation, or a bone disease.

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Treatment of Hip Dysplasia in Cats

With cats, the treatment options for hip dysplasia are fairly limited. Most measures will be non-surgical, but in advanced cases, surgery may be recommended.

Non-surgical Treatments

In most cases, hip dysplasia in cats can be treated with lifestyle changes. You will want to make sure your cat's diet encourages a healthy weight. Avoid overfeeding your animal, and encourage physical activity to maintain strong muscles in the hips. You can put your cat's food on a counter or table to encourage them to climb. You may also use some gentle passive moving of the hip joint to help decrease muscle stiffness.

If your cat is showing pain when moving, your veterinarian may choose to prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to help minimize swelling. Pain medications can also be given to make your animal more comfortable. To help strengthen the connective tissue in the joint, your veterinarian may recommend the dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin.

Surgical Options

In cases where cats are not responding to lifestyle changes and medication alone, surgery may be indicated. The two surgical options for adult cats with advanced hip dysplasia are a total hip replacement (THR) and an excision arthroplasty (EA). In the case of a THR, the hip joint is removed and replaced with an artificial ball and socket joint. Prognosis for most cats is good following a recovery period. With EA, the femoral head is removed, and nothing replaces it. The muscles in the hip will help the joint to function normally. As scar tissue builds in the area, there will no longer be bone-to-bone contact. Even if your cat has a slight limp due to the limb being a little shorter, there will be no pain. Following recovery, your cat should be able to engage in normal activity.

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Recovery of Hip Dysplasia in Cats

Hip dysplasia is a degenerative disease, so non-surgical treatments will last the duration of your cat's life. You can expect regular check-ups and blood work to monitor the progress of the disease and response to medication. If your veterinarian decides surgery is needed, there will be a recovery period involving restricted exercise and follow-up appointments for a few months.

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Hip Dysplasia Average Cost

From 478 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,500

Average Cost

$950

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Hip Dysplasia Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Kylo

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Cat

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11 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Weakness
Stiffness
Tired
Sleepy

My 11 month old kitten, originally a stray and rescued at 3-4 weeks, weighed 6 pounds at the next checkup and was bigger than his sister. He is now 4.6 pounds (after dropping to 4.2 and nowhere near his sister's 8 pounds and bulkier body). He's of normal length but very skinny and 3 months ago stopped being playful (still very loving), rests a lot, and generally won't jump or go upstairs. The vet said he has FIP and 3 months left, but since has eaten and not presented any other signs of deterioration. Could it be hip dysplasia, bone disease, or something else? Is this a further sign of FIP or a separate diagnosis?

Sept. 9, 2018

Kylo's Owner

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Slippers

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domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

8 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Sudden Trouble Walking/Standing

Yesterday she suddenly started not being able to walk or stand and crying out in pain it seemed, noticed she was favoring her left leg, went to emergency 24 hour vet, X-rays were negative and was sent home with pain meds; she continues to not want to stand and if we even lift her up to move her she cries out, she attempted to eat as soon as we got home yesterday but didn’t seem to be able to stand at the food/water bowl; we have her isolated in a bedroom to rest but doesn’t seem she had any food/water -only a few bites when put right in front of her- or used the litter; she still grooms herself and responds to our petting, but seems to only be able to lay in a certain position and cries when moved/lifted. Not sure what to do since X-rays were negative for fractures. What can I do to help her, I’m worried about her not eating/drinking/using littler box but she doesn’t seem to be able to stand/move at all. Please advice as soon as you can, thank you greatly!

Aug. 26, 2018

Slippers' Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

I'm sorry that is happening to Slippers. If the x-rays showed no fractures, it is possible that there is a soft tissue or neurologic problem, as those won't show up on x-ray. If she isn't responding to medications, it would probably be best to have her rechecked with your veterinarian, as they'll be able to assess her and see if other treatment might be needed.

Aug. 26, 2018

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Olive

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Russian Blue

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Mild severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Hardly Eating. Laziness

I just recently moved back into my moms house. She has 2 other cats but my cats are seperated in a different room and have no contact. Olive has been hardly eating or drinking. He rarely moves and it seemed like he had trouble jumping up on the bed. I just recently adopted a kitten to help him get more active because he is over weight. He is not acting like his normal self. He usually sleeps by me at night. Since we moved he hasn't meowed or came to me directly for attention. Im worried something is wrong with him.

Aug. 24, 2018

Olive's Owner

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0 Recommendations

The loss of appetite and lethargy may be attributable to a new environment and the stress of unfamiliar surroundings, however without examining Olive I cannot say whether there is an underlying medical issue or not. You should visit your Veterinarian to check Olive over to be on the safe side to rule out medical issues. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 24, 2018

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Rocket

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Norweigan forest cat

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Yelling Noise When Massage
Peeing On Edge Of Tray

My cat makes a loud yelling noise when we massage a certain part of its lower back/ hips, he also has been being on the edge of the litter tray and it dribles down the side and onto the floor underneath the tray, not sure if i need to get him checked out or if he maybe just to big for his tray?

Aug. 9, 2018

Rocket's Owner

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0 Recommendations

Pain whilst massaging his lower back and urination issues may be indicative of a more serious condition; without examining Rocket I cannot say what the specific cause is but would recommend visiting your Veterinarian for an examination and possibly an x-ray to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 9, 2018

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Sawyer

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Unknown

dog-age-icon

6 Weeks

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Wobbly Rear Gait

We have seven week old kitten. She was the runt if the litter, and she seems to have a hip problem. When running, it is more a a rabbit-like run with both back legs moving at the same time. When walking, her back end wobbles. Could this be hip dysplasia?

Aug. 3, 2018

Sawyer's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

A bunny hop gait is characteristic of hip dysplasia but I cannot make any confirmation of a diagnosis without an examination and taking an x-ray or two; this is something to visit your Veterinarian about to confirm the diagnosis and to determine if any surgical intervention is required. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 3, 2018

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hunter

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Domestic cat

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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Serious severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hip Dysplasia Pain

my cat hunter grew up as a very active cat with lots of energy he started getting pain in his right leg, i thought he jumped off somewhere high but that wasn't the case, so i took him the vet and turns out after x-rays he needed FHO surgery, i was really sad when i found this out, i was hoping there was another solution but vet said he recommends this so now its 3-4 weeks after surgery and his operated right leg is doing a lot better... but now his left leg is bother his a lot with the same symptoms, i'm scared he will never run jump or sit the same ever again. so i got pet insurance month ago which covers everything except hip and knee surgery until 6 months after registration.... i don't think i can wait that long to be covered. he has one of kind personality and is always positive and i treat him as if hes my son, any advice or help would be kinda appreciated thank you

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Milo

dog-breed-icon

Cat

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Aggression
Licking
Limping
Hips
Knee'S
Biting Owner

My two-year-old tabby cat is recovering from his second knee dysplasia operation. He has recently been diagnosed with hip dysplasia. He is taking yumove vitamins and metacam. He is in allot of pain, constantly grooming his sides, tail and legs. He has recently started to become extremely aggressive, biting me so hard, the more i try to calm him and stop him the more he digs his claws and teeth into me!This is very unlike him, he has always been so loving, playful and placid. Just over 5% of domestic shorthaired cats are diagnosed with HD, unfortunaly at 2 year old my fur baby has knee and hip problems, his xrays show the ball in both hips which is supposed to be smooth, is jagged so its not rotating in the socket causing him so much pain. I'd be grateful of any advice, successful treatments that don't harm his kidneys and liver like the medications perscribed.

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FeeFee

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Maine coone mix

dog-age-icon

6 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Lameness

We have a 6 month old kitten that has been a happy and playful kitten since we brought her home. We have a couple others as well and normally they all play together and do everything together. But 2 nights ago our kitten started favoring 1 paw and was limping some. Then yesterday she was just laying around and wouldn't play or anything and had a strange meow. Well I didn't notice at that time she couldn't use her back legs. She tries to but she will sit up then just lays right back down. She cries like she is in pain. She eats and drinks just fine. She has not used the litter box since I know about 11:30pm here and it's 7am now. She acts like she wants to try and go but she just can't. Can anyone help us with some advice?

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Sophie

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Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

Six Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Pain,Dragging Backfeet,Licking.

My beloved 6 year old shorthair domestic mutt cat all of a sudden started drooling and licking her back right leg. She slowly stopped licking it within 24 hours. She then started to have trouble jumping up on things, then within 24 more hours her back legs basically stopped working and she kind of drags and hops to get around. All this time she is alert, eating,drinking and using the litter box like normal.Took her to the vet today and she has hip dysplasia,severe type. Mind you this cat has never been sick a day in her short life and is the most loving and smart cat you would ever want so im pretty devastated.Thanks for reading this Sincerely Steve G Dennis

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Otter

dog-breed-icon

domestic short hair

dog-age-icon

1 Month

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Very Little Use Of Back Legs

Otter doesn't walk or move around like her litter mates. She still plays like they do on occasion but most times she sits and watches them. When she does try to walk her back legs are splayed out to the sides and when she sits still they come to together at an angle. She doesn't seem to be bothered by it, except when you touch her rear end when petting her. I'm not for sure if it's hip displaisa, but her symptoms match the descriptions for it. My husband is very worried about his little Otter. We plan taking her to the vet to get an official diagnosis.

Hip Dysplasia Average Cost

From 478 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,500

Average Cost

$950

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