Feb 26 2020

Hip Dysplasia In Dogs: Everything You Want To Know

If you’ve had the unfortunate displeasure of hearing the words “hip dysplasia” when it comes to the health of your dog – you’re not alone. A common misconception with hip dysplasia is that only larger dogs suffer from it. The sad reality is dogs of any size, of any breed and of any age can be affected by this painful condition. It’s essential as a dog owner to understand the symptoms, treatments and preventative measures of hip dysplasia in order to help your dog live a healthy, happy life.

What Is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a skeletal condition that primarily affects large dog breeds. In a functioning and healthy hip, a dog’s hip joint should move like a ball and socket with the accompanying parts moving together smoothly. Unfortunately, for those affected by the unpleasant condition, the animal’s ball and socket don’t fit properly, leading to the parts rubbing and grinding with one another. As time progresses, so does the condition. The joint slowly deteriorates and eventually loses function. 

What Causes Hip Dysplasia?

Genetics arguably plays the most significant role in the presence of hip dysplasia. The disease is hereditary and often found in larger dog breeds, such as German Shepherds, Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers and Saint Bernards. A dog’s growth rate, their exercise, their nutrition and their weight can additionally influence hip dysplasia. As obesity can put additional stress on your dog’s joints, it’s especially important to speak to your veterinarian regarding your dog’s diet and exercise to help prevent the condition. At Don Valley Animal Hospital, we help educate pet owners on the best options for your dog. Our animal clinic in North York can advise you in what will keep your pooch cheerful and active!

How Do You Treat Hip Dysplasia?

The treatment options for hip dysplasia can range from altering your dog’s lifestyle to surgery, with the severity of the condition determining which route you should take. In a non-surgical approach, your vet may suggest joint supplements, helping your pet lose weight to reduce the stress on their hips, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications. The most common surgical routes to help heal your animal are a double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO/TPO), a total hip replacement (THR), or a femoral head osteotomy (FHO). 

What Are The Symptoms Of Hip Dysplasia?

The most common symptoms for the condition are pain, stiffness and weakness in your dog, a significant reduction in their energy levels, difficulty standing, running, jumping or performing any traditional doggie activities, a loss of muscle mass in their thighs and lameness in their hind legs. As dogs are notorious for hiding pain, if your animal is showing any signs of distress it’s important to take them to get treatment as soon as possible because it can mean they’re suffering significantly. 

How Do You Prevent Hip Dysplasia?

It’s best to use a combination of techniques to help avoid your pooch from suffering from the condition. Ensuring they get proper exercise, providing them with a well-balanced diet and keeping them at a healthy weight are the most noteworthy. Providing your larger dog with a specifically formulated diet as the disease is more prevalent in bigger dogs is another alternative. Lastly, it’s important to research the breed of your dog and your breeder to ensure they undergo the appropriate screening to prevent the condition. You can visit us at our animal clinic in North York to help establish what steps to take to help ensure the health of your dog!

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