What You Should Know About Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

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If you’re the owner of a giant breed, or even a moderately big breed, there are certain medical conditions that you might want to pay attention to. In this particular case, we’re referring to hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a medical condition that mostly affects larger breeds and it is necessary to keep yourself informed about the condition.

Of course, there’s no reason to panic. Veterinary science has come a long way and we now have a range of treatment and management options that ensure your dog continues to enjoy, more or less, the same quality of life.

Let’s take a closer look at what hip dysplasia is and what your options are.

A Brief Overview

Hip dysplasia is a skeletal disease, wherein, a dog’s hip joints undergo improper development. The end result of this is that your dog’s hips become partially dislocated. Needless to say, the condition does cause pain and extreme wear and tear. It also compromises your dog’s ability to move normally.

Now, the disease itself is a genetic condition. However, dietary and environmental factors do play a role. For instance, rapid weight gain or obesity can aggravate the condition by placing excessive stress on the joints.

Other than that, you also have poor nutrition as a major contributor.

Some of the most common breeds that develop this condition include St. Bernards, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and Great Danes. As stated earlier, it’s mostly larger breeds. However, even small and medium-sized breeds are susceptible to the condition.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The symptoms of hip dysplasia are very similar to that of arthritis – the joints become painful and stiff, while movement becomes limited. One of the first signs is the weakening of the hind limbs. Other signs to look for are pain (when the pelvis or hip is touched), weakness of the hind legs (one or both), and an improper gait (bunny-hopping).

You may also notice behavioral changes, such as less enthusiasm, an unwillingness to participate in activities, difficulty in rising, and intolerance to exercise.

If you spot these signs or symptoms, it would be wise to get your dog checked by the vet immediately. Your vet will order an x-ray and carry out other physical assessments to determine whether or not your dog has hip dysplasia.

Treatment

There are multiple treatment options for hip dysplasia. They typically range from lifestyle changes to surgery. For instance, if the condition isn’t severe, your vet will recommend non-surgical options, such as weight reduction to ease stress, exercise restriction, physical therapy, Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS), Aspirin, joint fluid modifiers, and anti-inflammatory medications etc.

Surgical options include double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO/TPO), femoral head ostectomy (FHO) and total hip replacement (THR).
We suggest you talk to your vet to know more.