There are many different conditions that have similar symptoms to hip dysplasia. Therefore, standards have been created to successfully diagnosis hip dysplasia in dogs. First, a complete physical and neurological examination followed an x-ray of the hips. Diagnosis is based on breed, pet history, physical examination and x-rays of the hips, back and legs and treatment are just as multidimensional.
Doctors will diagnosis the cause hip dysplasia based on genetic issues (history of CHD in the bloodline or no OFA examination), environmental or dietary/fitness issues (overweight, rough environment or sleeping conditions), a failure between muscle tissues and skeletal system to fuse correctly during growth, or a failure of the hip tissue to maintain proper joint structure after full maturity. Hip dysplasia is actually broken down into two types, Acetabular (most common) and Femoral hip dysplasia.
Acetabular Hip Dysplasia
Is the failure of the developing femoral head to align correctly into the socket cup causing an abnormal development of the dorsal rim and hip in general. Over time, the hip tissues are continuously rubbed by the grinding bones and become weak or disappear completely.
Femoral Hip Dysplasia
The femoral neck of the dog's leg is shortened which decreases the support of the acetabular and dorsal rim. Over time, the joint surfaces support is deteriorated and joint support becomes very disrupted and damaged.
Because scientists have not been able to identify the exact genes or reason for the development of hip dysplasia, veterinaries primarily use a physical exam to determine whether or not there could be other reasons for the decreased activity with varying joint pain. Additionally, and most importantly confirmed by radiographic x-rays.
During the physical examination, the dog will be manipulated to determine the pain and overall range of motion the dog currently has. More specifically, the Ortolani procedure is conducted–which indicates that the femoral head (ball) slips into the acetabulum (socket). Because joint hip structure develops during the first eight months of age, radiographs before eight months may not show any signs of dysplasia, yet development ran rapidly occur afterward, therefore radiographic tests of puppies is not a reliable diagnosis in puppies.
One of the primary x-ray procedures is called the dorsolateral subluxation (DLS) test. During the procedure, the dog is first anesthetized and laid on its side. Multiple images are taken in different positions and your dog is rated. A dog with a rating of 55 or better have normal legs, a dog under 55 is at a much greater risk of develop hip dysplasia if the dog hadn’t already.
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