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Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

by Lana Paws on January 19, 2023

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: What You Need to Know

What is Hip Dysplasia In Dogs?

Hip dysplasia in dogs is a genetic condition in which the hip joint is malformed, causing the thigh bone to not fit securely in the hip socket. This leads to arthritis and pain in the joint, and can eventually cause lameness and disability. It is most commonly seen in large breeds of dogs, but can occur in any breed.

Treatment options include weight management, physical therapy, and medication, but in severe cases, surgery may be necessary. It is a common cause of hind limb lameness in dogs.

Signs & Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

There are several signs that may indicate that a dog has hip dysplasia, such as:

  1. Lameness or stiffness in the hind legs, particularly after exercise or rising from a resting position.

  2. A "bunny hopping" gait, where the dog uses its front legs to push off while the hind legs remain stiff.

  3. Difficulty or reluctance to climb stairs, jump, or run.

  4. Pain or discomfort when the hips are touched or manipulated.

  5. A decreased range of motion in the hips.

It's important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so a proper diagnosis can only be made by a veterinarian. The veterinarian may perform a physical examination, including palpation of the hip joint, and may also recommend X-rays or other diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis of hip dysplasia.

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: What You Need to Know

Common Causes of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Hip dysplasia in dogs is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

  1. Genetics: Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition, meaning that it is inherited from the parents. Dogs that have a family history of hip dysplasia are more likely to develop the condition.

  2. Rapid growth: Puppies that grow too quickly, especially large breeds, are at a higher risk of developing hip dysplasia. Overfeeding and lack of exercise can contribute to rapid growth and increase the risk of hip dysplasia.

  3. Nutrition: Poor nutrition can also contribute to the development of hip dysplasia. Feeding a diet that is too high in protein or calories can cause rapid growth and increase the risk of hip dysplasia.

  4. Environmental factors: Environmental factors such as lack of exercise, injury, and obesity can also contribute to the development of hip dysplasia.

It's important to note that not all the dogs with hip dysplasia have the same causes or triggers, and that multiple factors can contribute to the development of the condition.

Which Dog Breeds Are More Likely To Get Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that can occur in any breed of dog, but certain breeds are more prone to the condition. Some of the breeds that are most commonly affected by hip dysplasia include:

  1. Large breeds: German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, and Bernese Mountain Dogs.

  2. Giant breeds: Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Mastiffs, and Newfoundlands.

  3. Medium breeds: Old English Sheepdogs and American Eskimo Dogs.

  4. Small breeds: Pomeranians, Cocker Spaniels, and Bichon Frises.

It's important to note that hip dysplasia can occur in any breed, even if it is not considered to be "at-risk." Also, Some breeds may be more prone to it because of the ill-breeding practices, which is highly unregulated and common in India.

Hip dysplasia can affect dogs of all ages, although it is most commonly diagnosed in middle-aged to senior dogs. Puppies can also be born with hip dysplasia, but the signs may not be apparent until they reach maturity. In some cases, the condition may not become severe until the dog is older.

Dogs with hip dysplasia may not show signs of lameness or discomfort until they are several months or even years old. In mild cases, the dog may not show any signs at all, but as the dog ages, the condition may progress and the signs become more apparent. It is important to have your dog checked by a veterinarian if you notice any signs of lameness or discomfort, especially if the dog is a breed that is known to be at risk for hip dysplasia.

What To Do If My Dog Is Diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: What You Need to Know

If your dog is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, there are several treatment options that may help to alleviate pain and improve mobility:

  1. Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the stress on the hips and slow the progression of arthritis.

  2. Physical therapy: Exercises such as swimming, short walks, and controlled leash exercises can help to strengthen the muscles around the hips, improving mobility and reducing pain.

  3. Medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help to reduce inflammation and pain, while supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin can help to protect and lubricate the joints.

  4. Surgery: In severe cases of hip dysplasia, surgery such as a total hip replacement or triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO) may be recommended to improve the function of the hip joint.

  5. Pain Management: Pain management can be done through medication, acupuncture, and other alternative therapies.

It's important to work closely with your veterinarian to develop a treatment plan that is appropriate for your dog's specific needs. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be necessary to manage the condition.

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: A Common Cause of Hind Limb Lameness

To conclude, dogs with hip dysplasia can live a normal and happy life with proper management and treatment. The severity of the condition can vary, and some dogs may only experience mild discomfort while others may experience severe pain and mobility issues.

Treatment options such as weight management, physical therapy, medication, and in severe cases, surgery, can help to alleviate pain and improve mobility. Pain management can also improve the quality of life of the dog.

It's important to work closely with your veterinarian to develop an appropriate treatment plan for your dog. Regular follow-up exams and adjustments to the treatment plan as necessary can help to keep your dog comfortable and maintain their quality of life.

It is also important to provide a comfortable and safe environment for your dog, such as providing a soft bedding, avoiding slippery floors, providing ramps or stairs to reach high areas, and preventing them from jumping excessively. With the right care, dogs with hip dysplasia can live a normal, happy and comfortable life.

Also read - Senior dog care tips

Also read - Arthritis in Dogs: Early Signs, Diagnosis and Treatment

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