Hip dysplasia

From Cow

Bovine hip dysplasia is a relatively common congenital disease of cattle worldwide.

Hip dysplasia is primarily a malformation of the acetabulum with secondary degenerative joint lesions. The acetabular depth is an important feature to distinguish hip dysplasia from an acquired osteo-arthritis. Only in hip dysplasia, there is a malformation of the acetabula. Cattle are usually affected with hip dysplasia in both hips, with varying severity as is seen in other mammals.

Predisposition to this disease appears in young beef bulls of the Hereford, Aberdeen Angus, Galloway and Charolais breeds in the United Kingdom, North America and Australia[1].

Secondary osteoarthritis usually results in clinical signs of stiffness, hindlimb muscular atrophy[2], lameness and reluctance to walk[3].

The disease can be diagnosed by manipulation of hip and rectal examination. Radiographic studies are confirmatory.

A differential diagnosis would include traumatic coxofemoral luxation or fracture[4].

Treatment is usually avoided due to financial constraints and severely affected cattle are often culled at a young age.


  1. Weaver AD (1978) Hip dysplasia in beef cattle. Vet Rec 102(3):54-55
  2. Müller M et al (1989) Hip dysplasia in a young Charolais bull. Tierarztl Prax 17(4):368-370
  3. Van Vlierbergen B et al (2008) Hip dysplasia-like lesions in a Belgian blue cow. Vet Rec 160(26):910-912
  4. Jubb TF et al (1989) Prognostic factors for recovery from coxo-femoral dislocation in cattle. Aust Vet J 66(11):354-358