What Is Dog Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition resulting from an improperly formed hip joint. Because the joint is loose, the dog’s leg bone moves around too much, causing painful wear and tear. This type of disease directly affects the hip or elbow joints of dogs, which is the bone structure that attaches the dog’s body to the hind or front legs. The hips joints are ball and socket joints that rotate freely to allow dogs to walk normally. There are two ball and socket joints present both in animals and humans, one for each leg. If these two joints don’t match in shape and in form, or if one of them is grows abnormally, limping will occur. This is one of the symptoms of hip dysplasia.
How can I help my dog?
Most owners tend to opt for medical management. But what owners forget is that the key to this medical management is that its designed to relieve the pain whilst the owners sort out the weight control and an exercise programme. Most dogs with dysplasia if looked after properly are able to function and lead comfortable lives to the end.
The main thing that must be remembered here is to prevent your dog becoming overweight and then this will in turn reduce stresses being applied to the hip joints.
Your veterinarian physician will recommend controlled exercise to help relieve the inflammatory process that leads to the pain associated with dysplasia. Exercise helps improve the range of movement in the joints which will helps keep your dog more comfortable.
So you have two choices. The first is to continue walking your dog with a standard lead. Here the dog will be carrying all their own body weight and cause unnecessary pain. Or, you can put them in one of our Spero harnesses.
The Spero harness is designed to help and support your dog by taking some of the weight off their legs. By attaching the dog harness to the human harness, you take some of the weight off your dog’s legs. This in turn helps with walking and rebuilding the muscles allowing you to walk your dog further whilst giving them support. Overall, the Spero harness helps build the muscles quicker without putting excessive strain on the legs.
How Can I Tell if My Dog Has Hip Dysplasia?
Some cases of canine hip dysplasia are so mild there are no symptoms, but if your dog seems stiff or sore in the hips when getting up, if he seems hesitant to exercise, stand on his hind legs or climb stairs, or if he’s limping or bunny-hopping, a visit to the vet is in order.
When Do Dogs Develop Hip Dysplasia?
Each case is different, depending on the dog. Dog hip dysplasia can begin to develop in puppies of five months old and worsen as they age—or not show up at all until the later years of a dog. Hip dysplasia in dogs normally occurs during a young dog’s growing stages. Hip dysplasia may affect both the left and right hips, causing intense discomfort to your dog. The disease usually develops due to the laxity of the ligaments, connective tissues, and muscles around the joints. In many cases, though, the hip dysplasia is visible in dogs in their middle or later years.
How Is Hip Dysplasia in dogs Diagnosed?
An evaluation for hip dysplasia will likely include a physical examination, radiographs and manual tests on your dogs hips.
Which Dogs Are Prone to Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is generally regarded as a genetic disease. However, there are many dogs that are born with normal hip joints but eventually acquire the disease growing up. Some factors that cause the soft tissues around the hip joints to grow peculiarly are when bones develop too far apart from each other, the bones become unstable. Hip dysplasia commonly affects the large breed of dogs, including German shepherds, Rottweilers, retrievers, Great Danes and St. Bernards. However, dogs of all breeds and all sizes are susceptible to this inherited condition.
How Can Hip Dysplasia Be Treated?
Because hip dysplasia in dogs is caused by an inherited defect, there are no products that can prevent its development. There are several surgical options, including a complete hip replacement. However, a combination of healthy diet, maintaining a normal weight, exercise, massage, warm and dry sleeping areas, joint supplements, anti-inflammatories and pain-relieving medication can help manage the condition. Your vet can help you with a daily pain-relieving program that is right for your dog.
Should Dogs with Hip Dysplasia Exercise?
Talk to your dog’s veterinarian about a good exercise program. Walking and moderate running can help strengthen the muscles around the joint. Your vet may recommend that you try for two 20- minute walks each day—just be sure to let your dog set the pace. As a general rule, it’s smart to avoid jumping or running for long distances. If you can, consider letting your dog swim for exercise – swimming is excellent for the muscles surrounding his joints. Our mobility harness is great for taking some of the weight of your dog allowing them to exercise for longer periods.
Can Proper Diet Help Alleviate Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia?
Genetics is the main reason veterinarians point to as far as the cause of the disease is concerned. A certain study has proved that when a parent dog has hip dysplasia, there is a very high chance that its offspring will have the same problem too. The offspring may either be affected or merely carriers of the disease.
However, most experts agree that genetics is just a small part of the cause. There are other factors that contribute to the development of the disease, and one of them is nutrition. Obese dogs are more prone to this disease than those that are optimally fed. Therefore, pet owners should be very careful when feeding their pets as they are putting them at risk of obesity, which in itself has many other complications.
Weight plays an important role in the comfort of your dog’s hips. With overweight dogs, the extra weight can add stress to hip joints, so make sure your dog is on a healthy diet, especially if they are a large breed. You can work with your vet to find the right eating regimen for your dog.
What Else Can I Do to Ease My Dog’s Pain?
There are many ways in which hip dysplasia in dogs may be treated. Surgery and swimming is one of the leading treatment procedures. This disease may cause great discomfort to pets if not treated accordingly. If your vet has diagnosed this disease in your dog, you have to heed the health expert’s instructions and make sure that your pet receives proper care and medication, so that the disease will not progress. The Quincys mobility harness has proved to be very useful, by the walker taking some of the weight off the dog. This enables the dog to walk further and build up muscle mass which in turn helps to support the joints.
Here are a few tips which you can discuss with your vet:
Apply a warm water bottle for 15 minutes twice a day.
Massage the muscles around his hip joints, gently rubbing in a circular motion with your fingertips for ten minutes at the most. (Pay attention to his response. If massage seems to irritate your dog’s hip, don’t continue.)
Buffered aspirin may take the pain away, too, but speak with your vet first about proper dosage, administration and side effects. There are many newer prescription painkillers available as well to help keep your dog pain-free.
Keep your dog out of damp, chilly weather.
Provide traction on slippery floors: Dogs with hip dysplasia often have a hard time on slippery floors, so lay carpet down, and if he needs to climb stairs or jump up into the car, a carpeted ramp will make it a lot easier on him.
Provide a firm, orthopedic bed for your dog.
What Are Some Other Health Issues Associated With Hip Dysplasia In A Dog?
When a dog has hip dysplasia, the looseness of the hip can cause painful wear and tear on the joint that can result in arthritis. See our dog arthritis page. So if your dog has hip dysplasia, it’s important to keep up a daily regimen to relieve pain and help prevent the condition from progressing.
The following information is to help you understand various ailments that your dog can suffer from and is not intended to replace seeing your vet on a regular basis. If you think your dog may have a problem, i recommend that you see your veterinarian immediately. And remember, please do not give any medication or buy online without first talking to your veterinarian.