The most common causes of hip joint pain in canines are developmental and degenerative, according to WebMD. Developmental problems, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, involve the joint not developing appropriately in many ways. Cruciate ligament problems, where the ligament is degenerating over time and causing instability and secondary osteoarthritis, cause most degenerative problems, including the most frequent one of arthritis.
Improperly formed hip joints are inherited and cause hip dysplasia, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals states. While canines of all breeds and sizes are prone to this condition, Rottweilers, Great Danes, German Shepherds and St. Bernards are most susceptible. The deterioration of smooth cartilage that protects the bones around a joint causes arthritis.
Frequently, people recognize joint problems by seeing the increased difficulty dogs have in performing ordinary tasks, WebMD notes. From there, it worsens to include overt weakness, often appearing as a dog holding a limb in an awkward way.
Hip dysplasia can become noticeable when a puppy is 5 months old and worsens with age, or not appear until a dog is geriatric, according to ASPCA. Typically it shows in the middle to older years. Canine arthritis, which can appear at any time as well, often occurs as a result of a joint infection, natural erosion of cartilage, obesity, immune system problems and trauma.