Hip dysplasia in dogs – symptoms and treatment
The hip dysplasia is a bone disease that affects many dogs around the world. It is inherited and does not develop until 5 to 6 months of age, occurs only in adulthood. It is a degenerative disease that can be so painful for the dog that in the advanced state even incapacitates it.
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It affects breeds of large or giant dogs, especially if they have not received the proper dose of calcium and the minerals they need for their rapid growth. Poor nutrition, extreme physical exercise, overweight and hormonal changes can favor the development of this disease. However, it can also occur due to genetic and random causes.
If you suspect that your pet may be suffering from this disease, keep reading this article from ExpertAnimal about hip dysplasia in dogs along with their symptoms and indicated treatment for the disease.
What is hip dysplasia in dogs
The name of the dysplasia is of Greek origin and its meaning is that of “difficulty to form”, it is for this reason that hip dysplasia in dogs consists of a malformation of the hip joint , which joins the acetabulum of the hip and the head femoral.
During the growth of the dog, the hip does not adopt a harmonious and adequate form, on the contrary it moves slightly or excessively until the sides, preventing a correct movement that aggravates with the time. As a result of this malformation, the dog suffers from pain and even limps causing difficulty to carry out its routine activities or sit or climb stairs.
Although many dogs may have this disease in their genes, in many cases it does not quite develop.
Dogs more likely to suffer from hip dysplasia
Hip dysplasia can affect all types of dogs, although it is more common to develop into large or giant breeds. We should try to prevent it by telling us well about our pet’s needs at every stage of their lives.
Some breeds of dogs more likely to suffer from hip dysplasia are:
- Bernese Cowboy
- Border Terrier
- American bulldog
- French Bulldog
- English bulldog
- Italian Greyhound
- Golden Retriever
- Husky Siberiano
- Mastiff Spanish
- Mastim Napolitano
- German Shepherd
- Belgian Shepherd Dog
- Pastor Belga Tervuren
- St Bernard
Causes and risk factors of hip dysplasia
Coxofemoral dysplasia is a complex disease, as it is caused by multiple factors , both genetic and environmental. Although hereditary, it is not congenital, since it does not occur from birth but rather as the dog grows,
The factors that influence the appearance of hip dysplasia in dogs are:
- Genetic predisposition : although the genes involved in dysplasia have not yet been identified, there is strong evidence that it is a polygenic disease. That is, it is caused by two or more different genes.
- Rapid growth and / or obesity : An inadequate diet may favor the development of the disease. Giving your dog food with a high caloric content can lead to rapid growth that leaves him susceptible to hip dysplasia. The obesity in dogs may also favor the development of the disease, either in adult dogs or puppies.
- Inappropriate exercises : Growing dogs should play and exercise to release energy, develop coordination and socialize. However, the exercises that have the most impact on the joints can cause damage, especially in the growth phase. Therefore, jumps are not advisable in dogs that have not yet completed their development. The same is true for older dogs that need to exercise without hurting their bones. Excessive activity may result in the onset of this disease.
Despite rapid growth, obesity and inappropriate exercise may favor the development of the disease, the critical factor is genetic .
Due to this, the disease is more common in some breeds of dogs among which are usually found large and giant breeds, such as Saint Bernard, Mastiff Napolitano, German Shepherd, Labrador, Golden Retriever and Rottweiler. However, some medium and small breeds are also more prone to this disease. Among these breeds are the English Bulldog (one of the breeds most likely to develop hip dysplasia), the Pug and the Spaniel. On the contrary, in Greyhounds the disease is almost non-existent.
In any case, it should be borne in mind that since it is a hereditary disease but influenced by the environment, its incidence can vary greatly. Therefore, hip dysplasia can also occur in mutt puppies.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia
Symptoms of hip dysplasia are usually less evident when the disease begins to develop and become more intense and evident as the dog ages and the hips deteriorate. The symptoms are:
- Refuse to play
- Refusing to climb stairs
- Refuses to jump and run
- Is missing
- Difficulty in moving the hind legs
- Movements of “rabbit jumping”
- Balance sheets
- Hip pain
- Pain in the pelvis
- Difficulty in getting up
- Curved column
- Hip stiffness
- Stiffness in hind legs
- Increased shoulder muscles
These symptoms may be constant or intermittent . In addition, they usually get worse after the puppy plays or exercises. If you notice any of these symptoms we recommend that you consult the vet to perform an ultrasound and make sure the dog has this disease.
Suffering from hip dysplasia does not mean the end of the daily routines that your dog performs. It is true that you should follow some rules and advice that can change your life but the truth is that through your veterinarian’s statements like homeopathy , your puppy can improve his quality of life and continue enjoying life for a long time .
Diagnosis of hip dysplasia
If your dog exhibits any of the symptoms described, you should take him to the vet for proper diagnosis to be done. During the diagnosis the veterinarian will palpate and move the hips and pelvis, as well as perform an x-ray of the area. In addition, you can order blood and urine tests. The result of this diagnosis will indicate whether the condition is hip dysplasia or another disease.
Keep in mind that pain and difficulty to move depend more on inflammation and joint damage than on the degree of dysplasia itself. Therefore, some dogs that present mild dysplasia on radiographic analysis may suffer from severe pain, while others with severe dysplasia may have less pain.
Treatment of hip dysplasia
Although hip dysplasia has no cure, there are treatments that can alleviate pain and improve the quality of life of the dog. These treatments may be medical or surgical. In deciding which treatment to follow, one should consider the age of the dog, its size, overall health, and degree of damage to the hip. In addition, the decision also influences the preference of the veterinarian and the cost of the treatments:
- The medical treatment usually advises whether to dogs with mild dysplasia and those who for various reasons can not be operated. The administration of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, administration of chondroprotectors (medicines that protect cartilage), exercise restriction, weight control and strict diet are usually necessary. It can also be supplemented with physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and massages to relieve joint pain and strengthen muscles.
Medical treatment has the disadvantage of having to be followed for the whole life of the dog and that does not eliminate the dysplasia simply delays its development. However, in many cases this is enough for the dog to have a good quality of life.
- The surgical treatment is recommended when medical treatment does not give results or when the joint damage is very serious. One of the advantages of surgical treatment is that once the postoperative care is over, it is not necessary to maintain a strict treatment for the rest of the dog’s life. However, one should also take into account that surgery has its own risks and that some dogs may have pain after this.
The curative treatment par excellence is the pelvic triple osteotomy consisting of surgical remodeling of the bones providing an artificial union with a plaque that correctly holds the bones in place without allowing the femur to move.
There are cases in which this type of work can not be performed, we are talking about incurable cases. For them, we have palliative treatments such as arthroplasty that consists of removing the head from the femur, thus allowing the artificial formation of a new joint. It avoids pain but reduces the range of movement and can cause abnormalities when walking, although it gives the dog a decent quality of life. In addition, there is also the option of replacing the hip joint with an artificial prosthesis.
Medical prognosis of hip dysplasia
If hip dysplasia is not treated, the dog suffers a life of pain and disability. For dogs with very advanced degrees of hip dysplasia, life becomes a very great agony.
However, the prognosis for dogs receiving treatment on time is usually very good. These dogs can live very happy and healthy lives, albeit with some diet and exercise restrictions.
Caring for a dog with dysplasia
Although your puppy suffers from hip dysplasia, it can improve your quality of lifeconsiderably if you take care of it as it deserves and needs. In this way, and following a few rules, your dog can continue to carry out his routine activities, of course, with more calm than before.
- One of the proposals that work best is swimming both on the beach and in the pool. In this way, the dog develops the muscles that surround the joints without wearing them down. Twice a week will suffice.
- Be sure to take your dog for a walk because he suffers from dysplasia. Reduce walking time but increase the number of times you take it to the street, it is very important that among all the walks together you get at least 30 minutes of exercise.
- If your dog suffers from obesity it is very important that you solve this problem as soon as possible. Remember that the dog supports weight at the hip and this problem can aggravate the dysplasia. Look for light rations and avoid high-fat treats, look for foods with a high protein content.
- Take it to the veterinarian for periodic visits to see that your health does not worsen. Follow the advice the specialist gives you.
- If you feel a lot of pain you can try to relieve the symptoms with massages or hot water bags in the winter.
- There are ergonomic wheelchairs for dogs suffering from dysplasia. If yours is following conservative treatment you could benefit from this system.
Prevention of hip dysplasia
Since hip dysplasia is a disease caused by the interaction of genes and the environment, the only real way to prevent it and stop it is to prevent puppies with the disease from reproducing. This is why the pedigrees of dogs of certain breeds indicate whether the dog is free of the disease or the degree of dysplasia it has.
For example, the International Cynological Federation (FCI) uses the following letter-based classification, from A to E:
- A (Normal) – Free from hip dysplasia.
- B (Transition) – There are small clues on the radiograph, but not enough to confirm the dysplasia.
- C (Mild) – Mild hip dysplasia.
- D (Mean) – The radiograph shows average hip dysplasia.
- E (Severe) – The dog has severe dysplasia.
Dogs that have dysplasia with degrees C, D, and E should not be used for breeding because they are very likely to transmit the genes that carry the disease.
On the other hand, you should always be careful about exercising your pet’s obesity. These two factors clearly influence the appearance of hip dysplasia.
This article is purely informative, in YourCatCareguide.com.br we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.