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Hip Dysplasia: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

29 Aug 2014 | by | Posted in: Health

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Hip Dysplasia is a commonly inherited skeletal diseases that affects a lot of dogs across the world. Hip Dysplasia is defined as the malformation of the ball and the socket in the hip due to which the joint does not work smoothly and the dog is unable to walk smoothly as the joint grinds.

Hip Dysplasia affects large and giant breeds such as Great Danes, St. Bernard, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers. In very rare cases hip dysplasia has been seen in small breeds. Hip dysplasia begins when a dog is still young and the skeleton is still developing. Vets say that an early onset of the disease may take place as early as four months of age. At later stages, hip dysplasia may develop due to osteoarthritis.

Hip Dysplasia Causes:

The hips is the biggest joint in the body and bears the weight of the dog along with helping him / her in carrying out daily activities such as lying down, climbing things, running and even walking. Both environmental and genetic reasons have been attributed to development of the disease in the dogs. Some of the other causes are:

  • Rapid weight gain / obesity
  • General susceptibility to hip laxity
  • Prolonged running or walking on slippery floors such a tiles
  • High pelvic muscle mass.

When there is a dysfunction in the socket and the bone in the hip of the dog, over time the body tries to stabilise the error by producing hard bony deposits around the joint so that the dog does not experience discomfort.

Hip Dysplasia Symptoms:

The symptoms of the disease vary from dog to dog and will be dependent on the following factors:

  • The age of the dog
  • The time period over which the dog has had the problem
  • The level of dysfunction or gap in the socket.

Some of the common symptoms, apart from pain, that the dog may experience are:

  •  Decreased physical activity
  • Reluctance in jumping / climbing stairs or running
  • Persistent hind limb lameness especially after an exercise
  • a swaying gait
  • Narrow stance especially in the hind limbs
  • Pain in hip joints
  • Grating sound especially during movement
  • Loss of muscle mass especially in the thigh and hip muscles
  • Enlargement of shoulder muscles.
     

Hip Dysplasia Diagnosis:

If you suspect that your dog might have hip dysplasia, seek medical help immediately as the vet will have to conduct a full physical exam of the dog. In case of a joint problem, inflammation will be noted in the blood sample. X rays will also have to conducted to check the extent of the damage to the hip and if there is any damage to the spinal cord or the lumbar skeleton.

Hip Dysplasia Treatment:

Based on the diagnosis, a veterinarian may either suggest outpatient care or surgery.  Some of the common treatments that have been suggested to the dogs are:

  • Physiotherapy to decrease joint stiffness and maintain muscle function
  • Water therapy as it encourages muscle function without increasing the severity of joint function.
  • It will also be vital to watch the weight of the dog as increase in weight or obesity will lead to increased pressure on the hip of the dog.

In case of very young dogs, surgery may be performed to correct the problem. However generally the vet will suggest anti inflammatory medicines and pain killers to ease the pain and reduce the swelling and inflammation.

Living and Management:

regular check up and follow up with the veterinarian will be required which will include X rays to determine if there is any further deterioration of the joint. In case your dog has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, do not breed them due to the genetic nature of the disease. Also, care will have to be taken especially on the surface area where the dog resides and one will have to make sure that the surface is not too smooth for the dog to slip. Care will also have to be taken on the dietary requirements of the dog.

 

 
 

About the Author

Neha

"An ardent writer, a devoted pet parent and a foodie at heart, I believe life is all about new experiences and expressions"

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