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  R hip   VDhip Lhip


At this point in time, the cause of the hindlimb anomalies that are being seen in German Shepherds is unknown.  Test results for Neospora and Toxoplasmosis (diseases that can result in the same anomalies) on several affected GSD’s have been negative, and orthopedic exams find no joint pathologies. 

The current thought is that this is a neurologic abnormality, resulting in alterations in innervation to the muscles of the hindlimb, in particular stifle flexors and extensors.  There is loss of function and atrophy of the flexors and increased tone in the extensors, which result in decreased joint motion.  With musculature spanning the hip and stifle and stifle and hock, decreased stifle motion in turn leads to decreased tarsal movement and finally results in extensor rigidity of the hindlimb(s).  Affected dogs also have luxated hips, possibly a result of chronically reduced joint motion, and lack of weightbearing leading to acetabular rim hypoplasia. Dogs can be affected in one or both hindlimbs.

Physical exams and radiological studies have shown that affected dogs may show any or all of the following:  hip joint luxations (unilteral or bilateral), hypoplastic acetabulums, shortened, bowed femurs with rotational deformities, medially luxating patellas or patella alta, hyperextended stifles, bowed tibias with rotational deformities, malformation of the tarsii, contracture of the quadriceps and/or sartorius.

Treatment Options

Neospora Caninum