Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Many dogs suffer from the unfortunate condition of hip dysplasia. Canine hip dysplasia is a degenerative joint disease. This malformation of the hip joint causes arthritis, which becomes increasingly debilitating as the dog ages. Certain dog breeds may be genetically predisposed to abnormal development of the hip joint. Several breeds that are more susceptible to the condition include German Shepherds, Great Danes, Mastiffs, Rottweilers, St. Bernards, Labrador Retrievers, Bulldogs and Golden Retrievers.

Although smaller breeds may suffer from the condition, large breed dogs are more at risk for hip dysplasia. Dogs that are overweight are at a greater risk. Several factors may play a role in the development of the condition. Although there seems to be a genetic links as purebred canines and those who had a parent with the condition are more likely to be affected.

Abnormal wear and erosion of the joint can occur in one or both hips. Symptoms usually don’t become apparent until the dog reaches middle age or older. Symptoms are characterized by stiffness, pain and limp. Dogs may have difficulty getting up from a resting position. It may be difficult for them to go up and down stairs or to get in or out of a vehicle. Dogs suffering from canine hip dysplasia should be kept indoors where it is warm during the winter months since cold can aggravate the condition making pain and stiffness worse.

Canine hip dysplasia is diagnosed through a thorough examination and x-rays. Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Treatment includes drug therapy and possibly surgery depending upon the extent of the condition. Your veterinarian may also prescribe supplements as well as recommend a change in diet and exercise. If you suspect your dog may be suffering from canine hip dysplasia see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Your veterinarian may prescribe pain medication to alleviate your pet’s discomfort but you can also help your pet at home by keeping him warm, comfortable and trying to eliminate any unnecessary need for climbing or jumping. If canine hip dysplasia is fairly advanced in your pet, you may want to consider a ramp so that he doesnt need to try and climb stairs. Talk with your veterinarian since he or she will be able to make the best suggestions and answer any questions you may have.
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  1. I once read that there is a certain kind of nut in the typical mix of holiday nut assortments that causes temporarily paralysis in some dogs. It leads owners to think their dog has dysplasia or “has gone down in the back.” I think I remember a vet “catching it” before someone put their dog down, having heard about it before. I have to look in my dust collecting brain to see what that was about – but I would urge people to consider that if their dog is suddenly having problems in their backend to investigate.

    I agree on the ramps. They also make carts for big dogs too if needed.

  2. Hip dysplasia is extremely sad. In the past 30 years, the number of cases of canine hip dysplasia has grown rapidly and only in the past 10 years have real strides been made to force breeders to abide by standards and regulations.

    The OFA and PennHip have been the front runners in developing surgical procedures to prevent and fix dysplastic dogs and demand tests and certifications be met to become a true breeder.

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