Information on Maltese Hip Problems


Hip dysplasia is a progressive condition that can affect Maltese dogs at any age. When dysplasia occurs, the ball-and-socket mechanism of one or both hips dislocates, restricting normal hip and hind leg movements.


  • Hip joints consist of the ball or head of the femoral bone and a socket on the hip bone. Dysplasia occurs when the ball in one or both hips falls out of its socket.


  • Small dogs such as Maltese commonly develop hip dysplasia. Some dogs are born with the condition and start showing symptoms during puppyhood.


  • There appears to be a genetic link to hip dysplasia. Puppies who grow too quickly or get too much exercise can develop dysplasia. Overweight Maltese are also more likely to develop the condition.


  • Dysplasia causes severe pain and weakness, and prevents the dog from going about its normal activities. Your Maltese might have difficulty walking, walk oddly and find it impossible to jump.


  • After hearing about your dog's symptoms, your veterinarian will take X-rays before giving a diagnosis of hip dysplasia.


  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, codeine or other painkillers, injected corticosteroids and lubricating supplements are standard treatments. Surgery might be required for advanced cases.


  • Photo Credit S. McQuillan
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