Ideally this ball and socket joint is tight. The laxity (inappropriate movement) in the hip joint causes pain, dysfunction and arthritis. In some cases puppies are lame as early as 9-12 weeks of age. Complaints by the owner are that the puppy is unable to unwilling to jump up or go up stairs, that the puppy has an abnormal gait in the hind limbs and that the puppy is in pain. Early detection of hip dysplasia is essential for lifelong decisions for the puppy and the owner. Diagnosis of dysplasia is determined through clinical signs of lameness or pain and with x-rays. Penn hip x-rays can be used as a diagnostic test in puppies as young as 16 weeks of age. Some puppies are candidates for early intervention using surgical techniques to slow the progress of the dysplasia. Watch your new and fast growing puppy for any signs of back or hip pain or discomfort.