Canine Hip Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia is a very common ailment and the most common cause of canine arthritis. It is a very debilitating condition. It is a hereditary disease that is painful and crippling that causes a dog‘s hips to weaken, deteriorate and become arthritic.

Canine hip dysplasia is an abnormality in the development of the hip joints. This can affect the bones so that the head of the femur does not fit properly into the pelvic bone’s socket. This causes abnormal wear and tear on the socket and thus can lead t arthritis. Hip dysplasia can occur in one hip or both hips.

The first symptoms of canine hip dysplasia can appear while a puppy. Watch for pain during or shortly after a growth period. Puppies usually show signs between five and thirteen months of age.

Symptoms that your dog has hip dysplasia:

  • Limping
  • Difficulty running or jumping
  • Stiffness or soreness after rising from rest.
  • Reluctance to jump, exercise or climb stairs.
  • Weaving or wavering gait.
  • Moving both rear legs together
  • Your dog’s symptoms can range from mild discomfort to extreme pain.

    Your vet will conduct a thorough physical examination to determine if your pet has canine hip dyslasia. He will manipulate your dog’s joint to check for limited or reduced range of motion, creaking of the joints, etc. The most accurate way is through x-rays.

    Although hip dysplasia is not curable, it is treatable. Treatment involves managing the condition and helping your dog adjust to limited mobility. Treatment is geared towards inhibiting further breakdown of the hip joint and of course decreasing the pain your dog has.

    Management starts with keeping your dog’s weigh under control and proper exercise to maintain muscle tone and to keep the joints fluid and moving. Swimming is a good exercise to achieve this. Also, keep your dog warm especially when sleeping since cold can aggravate this condition. There are analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs to help relieve the pain.

    There are homeopathic and natural remedies to consider too. Supplement your dog with beneficial nutrients like glucosamine or omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help improve and rebuild the health of joints, which greatly increase comfort.

    Of course, all these treatments should be done under a vet’s care.

    In severe cases, there are a number of surgical options. For small dog breeds, the femoral head is removed and your dog will eventually generate a false joint of scar tissue as a replacement.

    According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, some of the breeds most likely to have hip dysplasia are:

    • Beagle
    • Brittany
    • Irish Water Spaniel
    • Shih Tzu
    • English Sitter
    • German Shepherd
    • Golden Retriever
    • Bulldog
    • Pug
    • Chow Chow
    • Bernase Mountain Dog
    • American Bulldog
    • Welsh Corgi

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