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Discussion Starter #1
So.....Willow is purportedly a working line GSD, straight-back, but every so often she bunny-hops and it makes me wonder if it's normal or if it could be some mild dysplasia. Here's a video taken recently; it's hard for me to take video of her running (because I suck at remembering to bring my phone on walks). Most of the time she doesn't bunny-hop, but sometimes she will. Is bunny-hopping normal in some instances, and only cause for concern when it's constant? Or does anybody out there think this is worrisome?

Related, there have been times in the past, like when she was spayed and I wanted to check on how her incision was healing, that she'd be lying on her side and I'd gently lift her leg to look at her belly, and she'd yelp like the movement hurt her. But other than those instances, she shows no hesitation when playing or running, no other sign that she's in pain at all.

 

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It could be a sign, but most likely that it's not. I've had dogs that bunny hopped a lot, but it never seemed linked to any kind of pain or stiffness in general. I would try not to worry :)

You could get x-rays if you really want peace of mind / an opportunity for early planning. However, if she is generally healthy and isn't highly active through work / sport then personally I wouldn't bother. Unless of course there was other accompanying symptoms. Not sure about her yelping when you lifted her leg, maybe she just doesn't like that?

I would consider x-rays more if you could have them done without anesthesia, or if she was having another surgery done at the same time anyway.
 

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It's really hard to tell her true gait from your video. She is happily hoppy playing and there is snow on the ground. Without help with the camera or the ability to let her trot/run along ahead of you getting a good video can be hard I know.

It's not uncommon for a dog to bunny hop while playing the way Willow was in the video.

Without x-rays there really is no way to know for sure if there is an issue with the hips.
 

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My experience would indicate that it is far better to be proactive as opposed to reactive.

My GSD bunny hops and it is ONE sign of dysplasia. He also experienced pain when lifting his leg - at times. There are other symptoms besides those two (weakness in the hind quarters, instability of the hind quarters, pain after exercise, rounded or humped back, wobble or sway in their stride, dragging hind quarters which may or may not wear down rear toe nails, pain when accidentally splaying out his legs, etc) Had he been diagnosed prior to reaching 3 months the surgical procedure would have been less invasive, require less recovery time and would be far less expensive than the bi-lateral total hip replacement he is now facing. Don’t start panicking. The ocassional commonality of a one or two symptoms does not necessarily mean that your dog has hip dysplasia. But if you notice it worsening or other symptoms
 

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Willow looks like a GSD/Mal mix. Any how, she is running and playing and is not showing signs of discomfort. Is she overweight? I only ask because she looks hefty in the video, could be she has a heavy coat. What age was she spayed? Lifting her leg to look at her incision could have caused some discomfort if her stitches were tight.

Only way to rule out hip dysplasia is to do x-rays. Go to a vet that is familiar with submitting to OFA or PENNHIP, only to ensure a proper x-ray is taken if you so choose.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
She's 3.5 years old and was spayed about 4 months ago, after I adopted her. She's about 64 pounds; when I got her she was 65, then she got sick and went down to 61, but 64-65 seems to be where she wants to stay. Our trainer recommended I feed her a bit less, which I've been doing (about 1/2 cup less dry food per day). She does have a lot of skin/fur especially around her neck but I don't think she's overweight. And we do about 1-1.5 hours of exercise per day, off-leash running for her, sometimes jogging with me.

She did the yelpy thing once before she got spayed, but yeah, I hadn't had her very long and maybe she just wasn't comfortable with it.
 

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She just looked like a dog happy to play in the snow. If you are really concerned about it, find out who is recommended in your area for doing hips and elbows for OFA. Not every vet is good at positioning.
 

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Consider the cost of the x-rays, and what you would do with the information from the radiographs. If it is dysplasia, it is mild- probably not a surgical issue.

Keep her active, healthy weight, start fish oil and omega-3s, don't do excessive running on slippery surfaces like a frozen lake. Sometimes light pulling exercises are helpful, like skijoring or canicross. If you want to spend the money on radiographs, go for it but only use a vet who is good at OFA positioning, which usually requires sedation.

Otherwise, try not to worry too much, mild hip dysplasia is quite manageable even until late in life. There are worse ailments like back issues, knee problems, or DM. Dysplasia is pretty treatable unless severe.
 

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I agree with the others. I wouldn't worry about it too much unless she is having pain moving around. Our girl also did the same sort of movement off and on when she was younger but less now. So I would think it is normal thing to see without too much worry.
 
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