Canine Hip Dysplasia
Dogs with hip dysplasia have a poor fitting hip joint. This condition is a genetic disorder that causes the ball and socket joint to not fit properly together. This causes the dog with hip dysplasia to have pain when moving their legs. Because the bones do not fit neatly together, dogs with hip dysplasia are prone to arthritis and joint pain as they age. The poor fitting hip joints also cause erosion of soft cartilage in these areas.
While hip dysplasia can occur in most breeds, it is more likely to occur in larger dogs such as the German Shepherd, St. Bernard, Labrador Retriever, Pointers, and Setters. Environmental factors can also put a dog as risk such as overfeeding especially with puppies, or excessive exercise.
How do you know if your dog has hip dysplasia? Usually, severe hip dysplasia symptoms will appear before the dog reaches one year of age. Rear leg pain, incoordination, trouble getting up, limp or wavering gait are common. Severe cases of hip dysplasia typically develop into lameless before the dog is two years of age. Less severe cases may not experience arthritis or related pain and lameless until six-ten years of age.
As with all other diseases, a proper diagnosis should be given by your veterinarian. However, dog owners can stay alert for symptoms. Since some of the symptoms of hip dysplasia can be similar to other disease, veterinarians will need to exam your dog and take x-rays to make a final diagnosis. Veterinarians look for abnormal shapes and degenerative changes in the hip joint area.
Treatment for the hip dysplasia
can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Treatments can range from drugs to surgery. Yorba Regional Animal Hospital also offers cold laser therapy
as a treatment suitable for some cases. The important thing to remember is that therapy will not reverse or cure the progression of the degenerative disease, but can offer relief from the pain.
Medications come in steroidal and on-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Most need to be given daily, but can provide a big relief to dogs suffering from intense pain. With the pain relief medication, dogs can return to a more active life.
Some cases will need surgery and are successful for treating severe hip dysplasia. The surgery can improve the joints of younger dogs by changing the shape of the pelvis or femur. Sometimes a hip replacement surgery might be more suitable that replaces the joint with a stainless steel ball and socket.
Although the condition is painful, dogs should still be encouraged to exercise in order to stay healthy and loosen up stiffness in the joints. Pet weight should also be closely monitored to prevent the pressure of unnecessary weight on the joints that will cause more pain. Dogs with hip dysplasia
should also be kept warm and out of the cold that aggravates arthritis.
For breeders, per owners should use extreme caution prior to breeding their dogs. Dogs should be fully examined for degenerative diseases and radiographed by a veterinarian prior to breeding. Radiographs are also not performed until a dog is at least two years of age since signs of hip dysplasia may not be evident until the dog is fully grown.
For more information about hip dysplasia, contact
us (714) 921-8700 and consult with your veterinarian. [AAHA]