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D2005-30

Dear Daisy Dog

We would like to buy a golden retriever puppy, but we are worried about hip dysplasia. How common is it in goldens? How can we find a puppy without it?

Daisy Responds

I have had three golden retriever brothers, and all were fortunate to have been free of hip dysplasia.

I say “fortunate” because a study published this year reported that the prevalence of hip dysplasia in seemingly normal golden retrievers is from 53 to 73 percent.

Dogs with hip dysplasia, characterized by abnormally loose hips, usually develop painful, disabling arthritis.

The disorder is inherited, so before you look at puppies, make sure x-rays of the parents’ hips were evaluated by PennHip or the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.

PennHip is the better program, because the x-ray methodology is standardized and quantitative. See www.pennhip.org for more information.

Meet only those puppies whose dam and sire were shown to have tight hips. Get copies of the certificates.

Then follow your veterinarian’s advice about feeding, exercise and weight control to help your golden remain free of this disabling disease.

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