Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
A condition that primarily affects large and giant breeds of dogs, hip dysplasia is shockingly widespread these days. Genetics, along with other predominant factors, can be pointed out as the causes of this disease. Research has also proved that rapid growth in dogs, especially puppies, between the ages of three and ten months, can increase the chances of getting hip dysplasia. Another risk factor is over-exercise, specifically in those breeds that are known to be genetically susceptible to this disease. These include German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, St Bernards and Rotweillers.
So what is it?
Hip dysplasia is basically a deformity of the hip joint, where the ball of the femur cannot fix properly into the hip socket. This causes limping and an unsteady gait and above all, a lot of pain for the poor pooch. It is most common among young and growing dogs.
These are some of the signs you should watch out for:
- lameness in the hind legs
- an abnormal gait
- difficulty in running and walking
- uncoordinated hind quarters
Methods of Treatment
There is always surgery, but that need only be the last resort. Medical management is a lengthy process but with the proper combination of diet, exercise, supplements and pain relief medication, the progression of this disease can be reduced. Weight management, so as to not cause further damage to the hip socket, comes as a highly recommended treatment plan by most vets. So do moderate exercise, massage and physical therapy. Providing warmth to your beloved pooch also helps in lessening the severity of the symptoms.
There is no connection between the age of the dog and the severity of this condition i.e. it does not only affect younger dogs. There have been cases of hip dysplasia detected in older dogs as well. So if your young pup or your older dog shows symptoms of hip dysplasia, you must take them to the vet to get them checked out thoroughly. This disease, being degenerative, progresses quickly and can seriously hamper the health of your baby.
There are no vaccines or preventative measures. All you can do is get medical help to stop the progression of the disease. This has become fairly common in many parts of the world due to the unregulated breeding industry. Stricter laws need to be in place, so that future generations of dogs are protected from pain and eventual abandonment.
So please keep a close eye out. And visit your vet to get information about the tests available for detecting hip dysplasia.
Happy pet parenting!