This article is from the Canine Medical Information FAQ, by Cindy Tittle Moore with numerous contributions by others.
First of all, be sure that your dog has been accurately diagnosed with
HD. Many vets do not have the expertise in reading the x-rays, so you
need to be sure that an experienced radiologist reads them. If you're
not familiar with the competencies of the vets in your area, your best
bet is to have the x-rays sent in to OFA for evaluation. You CANNOT
definitively diagnose HD on the basis of external appearance or
palpitation of the joint or anything like that. Many things can cause
limping, some of which are correctible, so it pays to be certain you
have the correct diagnosis.
Diagnosis of Hip Dysplasia is not an automatic death sentence for your
dog! Because it is a polygenetic trait, the variability of expression
is actually quite wide. Some dogs may experience little or no
discomfort and you may never know they have HD unless you test for it.
Other dogs may experience more pain, but it may be easily controlled
with proper exercise and judicious use of aspirin under the direction
of a vet. Only a small percentage of cases are so crippled by HD that
they must be put down.
You _should_ immediately neuter any dog that has HD. The only known
means of eliminating this disease lie in well-managed breeding
programs, so do your part by eliminating the possibility of your dog
contributing to the overall problem.
Discuss with your vet appropriate strategies for dealing with HD. In
most cases, the general advice is to keep the dog from doing any kind
of jumping or causing other sudden stress to the joints. However, as
solid muscle buildup around the joint helps to ease the pressure on
the joint, regular exercise is generally recommended, with swimming
topping the list as gaining the most benefit with the least stress to