How to Manage Your Dog’s Hip Dysplasia
One of the common dog health problems is hip dysplasia – a condition that can affect any dog, although it is more common in some breeds over others. Although dog hip dysplasia can be a debilitating condition, it is really important to remember:
while there may have to be some changes made in your dog’s life in order to accommodate the condition, there is treatment available that will enable them to continue enjoying life.
In this article, we will find out what exactly is dog hip dysplasia, what can cause it, what are the signs of this condition and how can it be treated to ensure your four-legged friend will enjoy his life on the fullest.
What is Hip Dysplasia In Dogs?
Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition – an orthopedic disease that affects the dog’s hip or coxofemoral joint, and this condition is resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
To understand how hip dysplasia develops, we need to understand the anatomy of the hip. The hip joint works as a ball and socket (acetabulum), and in a healthy hip joint, the ball and socket move together, sliding smoothly. The round end of the femur should fit inside of the joint and move snugly without friction. In dogs with hip dysplasia, the joint doesn’t develop properly and the ball and socket grind and rub against one another.
Over time, because the joint is loose, the dog’s leg bone moves around too much, and this constant grinding causes an overall deterioration and ultimately loss of function of the joint.
This is causing an incredible amount of pain, discomfort, wear and tear and movement difficulties for your pet.
Thus, the condition of this disease can deteriorate over time, which can result in your dog losing proper function of its hips due to the debilitating nature of canine hip dysplasia.
Which Dogs Are Prone to Hip Dysplasia?
The disease of the canine hip joint is prevalent in larger dogs, including bulldogs, mastiffs, German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, American Staffordshire terriers, Great Danes, St. Bernards, and Rottweilers.
However, dogs of all breeds and all sizes are susceptible to this inherited condition, including some small breeds, such as pugs, and French bulldogs.
In other cases, dogs develop problems later in life as a result of inflammation of the joint (also known as arthritis) or osteoarthritis.
Causes of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
Studies have found that there are several factors that can lead to the development of hip dysplasia in dogs. The most common cause of hip dysplasia in dogs is solely based on genetics.
Large breed dogs, such as the Great Dane, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retrievers, St. Bernard, and German Shepherd dogs are among those canines who have the genetic predisposition for developing this disease.
Additionally, environmental factors, improper nutrition, as well as too much or too little exercise, are also factors when it comes to the development of hip dysplasia.
Obesity might also be an issue. Those canine friends that struggle with weight issues and obesity are at a higher risk of preexisting hip dysplasia rapidly worsening and are even responsible for the development of hip dysplasia in some cases.
Signs of Hip Dysplasia
Some cases of hip dysplasia are so mild, that there are no signs, but if it looks like your dog is stiff when getting up, if he doesn’t want to exercise, stand on his hind legs or climb stairs, or if he is bunny-hopping or limping, a visit to the veterinarian is mandatory.
There are also some other canine hip dysplasia signs in your dogs body language that you should pay a really close attention to, such as:
- tail tucking
- flinching when touched near rump
- loss of interest in physical activity
- pain when sitting down
- pain when getting up
- unusual gait or walk
These all are symptoms that are typical to dog hip dysplasia.
Treatment For Dog Hip Dysplasia
Because of the fact that hip dysplasia is caused by an inherited defect, there aren’t any products that could prevent its development. And because of that, treatment is not an easy process.
There are some surgical options available for canine hip dysplasia treatment, including a complete hip replacement. However, there are some better options, too. For instance, a combination of healthy diet, maintaining a normal weight, exercise, massage, warm and dry sleeping areas, joint supplements, and, potentially, prescription veterinary pain-relieving medication can help manage the condition.
One of the most innovative and promising treatment for hip dysplasia is canine stem cell therapy. Stem cells have the ability to develop into one of many different types of cells, including skin, muscle, nerve, bone, tendon or ligament cells, and then replace cells that are damaged or dead.
Stem cell therapy, containing millions of these cells, renews and repairs tissues in the area affected by hip dysplasia. This is still a new treatment option for dysplasia and in near future many more case studies will come.
There are also some things that can help in managing canine hip dysplasia condition, such as a proper diet and moderate exercise:
Weight is really important when it comes to your dog’s hips. Extra weight can add stress to hip joints, so make sure your dog is on a healthy diet, especially if your friend is a large breed dog. You can consult with your veterinary about the right diet for your dog.
Don’t forget to ask your dog’s veterinarian about a good exercise program. Walking and moderate running might help to strengthen the muscles around the dog’s joint. Your vet might recommend you to try going for two 20-minute walks each day, making sure that you let your dog set the pace. It is really important to avoid jumping or running for long distances. Consider letting your dog for swimming exercise, if you have this possibility: swimming is excellent for the muscles surrounding his joints.
Your veterinarian will help you with a daily pain-relieving program that is right for your dog.
So How Long Can a Dog Live With Hip Dysplasia?
This is a diagnosis that is not lethal, so your dog will live a relatively long life even with the diagnosis of dysplasia.
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However, the drugs that are commonly used to manage disease – NSAIDs – can have some serious side effects like decreased heart function, kidney damage, and high blood pressure. These side effects can decrease your dog’s life if they are not managed properly.
Although hip dysplasia is a naturally occurring condition that can affect any dog, it is more common in larger dog breeds. And, since canine hip dysplasia is causing pain and movement impairment, it is important to understand how this condition can be managed.
A set of possible options includes a healthy diet, moderate exercises and weight-control, as well as some medications prescribed by your veterinarian. One of the latest and most efficient dog hip dysplasia treatment is canine stem cell therapy. And as always – to ensure the best outcome, best possible treatment often is a healthy combination of all the treatments described above.