Hip Dysplasia in Canines

Hip Dysplasia in Canines

What is canine hip dysplasia?

Canine hip dysplasia is one of the most common orthopedic conditions diagnosed in dogs. Canine hip dysplasia is a disease where the hip sock and the head of the femur are malformed and cause rubbing and grinding pain.  There are multiple causes that lead to the malformation in the hip, they can range from environmental to genetic. A dog can be born predisposed to bad his from the genetics that he gets from his parents. They can also have environmental aspects of their life that lead to them developing this painful condition, such as obesity.   Large breed dogs are more predisposed to this disease and can show signs very early in life or as they age. The most common breeds affected by this painful process are German Shepherd Dogs, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and the giant breeds like Great Danes and Saint Bernards. In severe cases, the malformation of the hip can cause pain as early a 4 months old.  Most animals develop pain later in life as the deterioration of the joint leads to osteoarthritis, pain, and inflammation in the hip.  

What are the symptoms of Canine Hip Dysplasia?

Symptoms of this debilitating disease can vary depending on different factors that are individual to each dog.  They include: 

  • How loose of a connection there is between the hip joint and femur bone
  • How long has this process be causing issues for your dog
  • How much inflammation and boney changes in the hip joint

You may see different symptoms in your dog:

  • Bunny hopping
  • Reluctance to jump on the couch, in the car
  • Reluctance to climb stairs
  • Slow to Rise
  • Not wanting to get up and play
  • Narrowing of the distance between the back legs
  • Grinding of the joint
  • Crying in pain when rising or walking/running
  • Muscle loss in the back legs

How is Canine Hip Dysplasia diagnosed?

Most hip dysplasia is seen by owners and brought to the attention of the veterinarian.  The above symptoms are concerning to an owner at a young or older age and usually become more severe as the pet ages.  Most degenerative hip conditions can be suspected with just a simple physical exam. During the exam, the dog may be put through a range of motion test and the vet will move the hips around.  A definitive diagnosis requires an x-ray of the hip. This process is sometimes very hard on an awake dog, especially if the pet is very painful. The veterinarian may recommend sedation to help the comfort level of your pet and to be able to get the appropriate views of the hip for the proper diagnosis.

Treatments for Canine Hip Dysplasia:

Depending on the level of pain, there are multiple modes of treatment for a dog with Canine Hip Dysplasia.  They can range from simple weight loss to long-term pain management, and in some cases surgical intervention.  In the last 20 years, Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) have become very prevalent and multiple medications are currently available and come in a variety of forms.  These medications can have side effects and should only be used under the direct supervision of a veterinarian.

Recently, supplements and all-natural options of all kinds have hit the canine market.  Some of those include Omega fatty acid products (such as the plant-based NatrixOne), glucosamine products, laser therapy treatments, and stem cell therapy.  Please contact your veterinarian to discuss the potential of a hip disorder in your dog and what they recommend for treatment of Canine Hip Dysplasia.

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