Hip dysplasia is a growth-related malformation of the hip. A ball and socket joint makes up the hip joint. The head of the femur, or thighbone, and the acetabulum, the socket in the pelvis, must develop equally during growth.
This regular growing during puppyhood does not take place with hip dysplasia. Laxity (looseness) of the joint is the end result, which is followed by osteoarthritis (OA), which is the body’s attempt to stabilise the loose hip joint, and degenerative joint disease (DJD).
The degree of lameness that develops depends on the severity of these arthritic changes, and it’s possible that it has little to do with how the hip joint appears on X-rays. While some animals with obvious osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia on X-rays may not show any clinical symptoms, others with less obvious alterations may be in excruciating pain and limp.
What causes it?
Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition that is influenced by dietary habits, the environment, physical activity, rate of growth, level of muscle mass, and hormones. Large breed dogs (often greater than 50 lbs or 22 kg) are more likely to develop this condition, hence puppies of these breeds should be kept at a normal, lean weight throughout their maturation rather than being overfed and encouraged to grow “big.”
Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that is impacted by a variety of variables, including hormones, development rate, environment, food, and activity.
In a study of puppies at risk for hip dysplasia, it was discovered that two-thirds of the puppies who were given unlimited access to food later developed the condition, compared to only one-third of the puppies who were given measured meals. According to a study done on German Shepherd puppies, those that are overweight are almost twice as likely to develop hip dysplasia as those who are average weight. These studies have made it possible for food companies to provide huge breed puppy-specific diets.
If it is hereditary, are certain breeds affected more than others?
Yes, although though all dogs have the potential to be impacted, the majority of cases are larger breeds including German Shepherds, Saint Bernards, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs, and Bulldogs. Large mixed-breed dogs should be given a specific large breed growth diet during their first year of life as they are also susceptible to developing hip dysplasia.
What symptoms should I look for?
The most common clinical symptoms are weakness and discomfort in the back legs. The dog seems unsteady and takes a long time getting up from a sitting or reclining position. Some dogs will stutter or hesitate when climbing stairs. Although puppies as young as a few months old can exhibit these symptoms, dogs one to two years of age exhibit them most frequently. Dogs who have modest hip dysplasia on radiographs (X-rays) may age without showing any clinical indications of arthritis. In spite of the fact that hip dysplasia can start in a puppy, most dogs do not exhibit clinical symptoms until they are older. Before a dog exhibits symptoms, bone deterioration frequently occurs slowly over years.
How is it diagnosed?
The best way to diagnose hip dysplasia is via a hip radiograph while under general anaesthesia. Hip dysplasia may also be indicated by clinical symptoms and palpable joint laxity. It is important to radiograph any pet who may have hip dysplasia as soon as possible.
What is the treatment?
Treatment is based on the clinical indicators and level of discomfort present in the animal. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) with few side effects include meloxicam, which goes by the brand name Meloxicam. A variety of medications may be tested before settling on the most effective one because the decision to take medication is decided on an individual basis.
Veterinary-approved glucosamine, chondroitin sulphate, and omega-3 fatty acid dietary supplements should be given to the majority of dogs with hip dysplasia. Regular injections of polysulfated glycosaminoglycan will help a lot of dogs with painful hip dysplasia. Avoiding high impact exercises like leaping may help the patient stay mobile and improve the surrounding support structures.
Physical therapy should be a component of any treatment plan because it has been shown to be quite beneficial in enhancing the quality of life for affected dogs. Weight loss is particularly advised for overweight dogs since extra weight places undue strain on the hip joints.
What if NSAIDs don’t help?
Surgery is an option to NSAID and medical treatment. Hip dysplasia can be treated surgically using a variety of techniques. The complete hip replacement and femoral head ostectomy procedures are the two most used surgical treatments for hip dysplasia (FHO). Juvenile pubic symphysiodesis, DARthroplasty, and triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO) are a few more less prevalent surgical treatments for hip dysplasia. The type of operation chosen will depend on the age, health, and lifestyle of your pet. The greatest recommendations for your particular pet can be given by your veterinarian.
What about alternative medicine treatments?
Hip dysplasia has been treated with acupuncture, class 4 laser, stem cell therapies, and conventional Chinese medicine, with different degrees of success. There haven’t been many thorough scientific investigations on these complementary medicines to date, but the results of several tiny studies are highly promising. Ask your vet about their experiences and suggestions for other treatments that might benefit your dog.
What are the initial symptoms of canine hip dysplasia?
Although the terms “canine hip dysplasia” alarm owners of enormous and giant breeds of dogs, any size or type of dog can get the condition. It is difficult for owners to witness this agonising condition in dogs, which can significantly lower their quality of life. The good news is that you can do a lot to keep your dog comfortable by practising responsible dog management and educating yourself about potential health issues like hip dysplasia.
Learn about the signs of canine hip dysplasia, available treatments, and preventative steps you can take to keep your dog active, healthy, and happy.
What Is Canine Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is a common skeletal disorder that can affect smaller breeds of dogs as well as huge or giant breeds. Owners must first comprehend the fundamental anatomy of the hip joint in order to grasp how the disease functions.
The hip joint performs a ball-and-socket motion. The ball and socket do not fit or develop properly in dogs with hip dysplasia, rubbing and grinding instead of smoothly sliding. As a result, the joint gradually deteriorates and eventually loses its ability to operate.
What Causes Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?
Hip dysplasia in dogs is caused by a number of causes, starting with genetics. Larger dogs, like the Great Dane, Saint Bernard, Labrador Retriever, and German Shepherd Dog, are more prone to hip dysplasia than smaller dogs. This hereditary propensity can be exacerbated by elements like an excessive growth rate, certain types of exercise, an incorrect weight, and an imbalanced diet.
Some puppies require food that is specifically prepared for large-breed puppies because they have unique nutritional needs. These meals aid in preventing rapid growth, which can cause joint and skeletal abnormalities like elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia. By limiting the growth of these breeds, it is possible to prevent future issues by allowing their joints to mature without being overly stressed.
The probability of a dog acquiring hip dysplasia can also be affected by poor diet, as well as by giving them too much or too little exercise. Obesity places a great deal of stress on your dog’s joints, which can worsen or even create conditions like hip dysplasia. Consult your veterinarian for advice on the best nutrition for your dog and how much activity they should do each day to stay in good physical shape.
Glucosamine for Dogs With Joint Disease
Foods made for large-breed dogs frequently include joint supplements like glucosamine. If your dog has arthritis, glucosamine will probably be a component of a thorough treatment plan, according to your veterinarian. They’ll probably suggest a chewable glucosamine and chondroitin supplement with a dosage suitable for veterinarians.
Supplements containing these substances are also available for dogs that are at risk of developing arthritis and hip dysplasia in the future. Since joint supplements are generally safe for long-term usage in patients, they are frequently utilised as an early intervention and during the course of arthritis. The symptoms of hip dysplasia may be lessened by these nutrients, while research is yet few.
Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
Some dogs start to exhibit symptoms of hip dysplasia as early as four months of age. Others have it concurrently with osteoarthritis as they get older. There are a few indications that owners should be aware of in both situations. Depending on the disease’s severity, the degree of joint inflammation, the amount of joint looseness, and the length of time the dog has had hip dysplasia, these symptoms may differ.
- decline in activity
- reduction in range of motion
- a challenge or resistance climbing, leaping, running, or stair climbing
- Laziness in the tail
- “Bunny hopping gait,” swaying
- When moving, there is grating in the joint.
- reduction in thigh muscle mass
- The shoulders’ muscles have a noticeable hypertrophy as a result of compensating for the back.
Can hip dysplasia in dogs be treated?
There is no treatment for canine hip dysplasia. However, there are numerous treatments that have been shown to be successful in relieving pain in senior dogs and halting additional damage in young pups. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine are the most fundamental therapies and also the most crucial.
To prevent harm to your dog’s hip joints, make sure that it maintains a healthy weight. Strengthening the muscles through regular exercise will stop deterioration. Young dogs and pups need to exercise more than older dogs and puppies.
But keep in mind that too much activity might harm your dog’s muscles and joints, so work with your veterinarian to develop a schedule that works for your dog.
In severe circumstances, surgery can be the best choice for your dog. The average cost of canine hip dysplasia surgery ranges from $1,000 to $3,000 per hip. More information on whether and when surgery is advised can be found from your veterinarian.
The quicker puppies and younger dogs are treated, the better the results. To halt the disease’s progression, bracing along with exercise is advised as soon as possible.
Anti-inflammatory drugs and joint supplements to reduce swelling and strengthen your dog’s joints may also be beneficial, according to veterinarians. Long-term pain reduction can also be aided by acupuncture, animal chiropractic, massage treatment, and physical therapy.
How long can a dog with hip dysplasia expect to live?
How long can a dog with hip dysplasia expect to live? A dog with hip dysplasia can lead a normal, healthy life with the right surgical and medical treatment. To ensure joint health and to encourage muscle strength and mobility, your dog should receive a physical examination from your veterinarian every six months.
Are canine hip dysplasia patients in pain?
The improper growth and development of a dog’s hip joint is known as canine hip dysplasia. It can affect dogs of any breed and size, even cats, although it most frequently affects large breed dogs like Labrador retrievers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Saint Bernards. Hip dysplasia is not caused by a single reason; rather, it is caused by a number of factors, some of which include nutrition and heredity. Young dogs with dysplasia experience improper hip joint development, which results in excessive hip joint laxity (looseness). This laxity stretches the muscles, joint capsule, and supporting ligaments surrounding the hip joint, causing instability, discomfort, and long-term harm to the affected hip joint’s anatomical structure. Dogs with hip dysplasia typically develop osteoarthritis if untreated (degenerative joint disease).
Dogs with hip dysplasia frequently exhibit lameness, discomfort, and muscular atrophy in their rear limbs (atrophy). After activity, owners complain that their dogs are limp, have a “bunny-hopping gait,” are reluctant to leap or stand up, or aren’t as active as other puppies. Many dysplastic dogs manifest these symptoms between the ages of 6 and 12 months, while some dysplastic dogs do not exhibit pain symptoms until they are older.
images of a typical dog’s hips and pelvis taken via radiography. Excellent hip joint congruity can be seen by the fact that the head of the femur (arrow) is placed deeply within the acetabulum.