Canine Hip Dysplasia

Canine Hip Dysplasia is a degenerative joint disease that affects mostly large and giant breeds of dogs. This disease is a result of abnormal hip joint development in adolescent dogs and is genetic. With the correct diagnosis by a veterinarian, the disease and its symptoms are treatable.

The symptoms of Canine Hip Dysplasia can present themselves anytime in a dog’s life, but usually when the dog is getting older, not generally as puppies. Dogs with this disease will show pain and discomfort during and after a strenuous workout. The pain and discomfort will become worse as the condition worsens, making even everyday activities painful. Dogs with Hip Dysplasia may also have an altered gait when they walk or run and will usually decrease their activity level. Dogs will also resist movements requiring full extension or flexion of the hind legs. The hind legs may also be stiff and painful after exercising or first thing in the morning. As this condition worsens, the dog will loose muscle tone and may require assistance when getting up. Any dog with these symptoms should be taken to the veterinarian. The veterinarian will make a diagnosis using a physical exam where he will feel for looseness in the joint as well as pain through extension and flexion.

Treatment of Canine Hip Dysplasia ranges from oral supplements and medications to surgery depending on the severity of the case and the age of the dog. Treatment may also include changes made in the dog’s home.

Oral supplements and medications used to treat Canine Hip Dysplasia are non-prescription anti-inflammatory and painkillers such as creatine and buffered aspirin. Prescription anti-inflammatory, painkillers, and corticosteroids are also used.

Surgical techniques used to treat Canine Hip Dysplasia depend on weight and age of the dog as well as the severity of the disease. A Triple Pelvic Osteotomy is performed on dogs under 10 months of age. Total Hip Replacement is performed on mature dogs that weigh at least 20 pounds. Femoral Head and Neck Excision is performed on dogs weighing under 45 pounds. Juvenile Pubic Dymphysiodeses is performed on dogs under 20 weeks of age and more generally done at 16 weeks of age.

Changes at home can also help the ailing dog. These changes include controlling the dog’s weight, exercising the dog daily and customizing the dog’s sleeping area

Weight control is very important when treatment or prevention of Canine Hip Dysplasia. Dogs with this disease should not be allowed to become over weight. Extra pounds add to the pressure on the infected joints.

Proper exercise daily is important. The proper exercise will provide a good range of motion, build the canine’s muscles and aid in limiting the damage to the infected joint. Exercises generally recommended are leash walking, swimming, using a treadmill, slow jogging and going up and down stairs. Frisbee catching should never be done.

Changes at home are generally to make the dog more comfortable. The affected dog’s sleeping quarters should be warm and relatively soft. Cold, damp areas are not desired at all.

Canine Hip Dysplasia is a very painful and debilitating joint disease. It can strike dogs at any point in their life. The good news is that this disease is treatable; the bad news is the cost can be expensive depending on the severity of the disease and the treatment used. This disease is genetic, so before buying any large or giant breed dog, make sure the parents have been checked out and there is no chance of the puppy you are considering purchasing having it. Canine Hip Dysplasia can also lead to Osteoarthritis, which will also have to be treated.

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