Hip dysplasia is most often caused by genetic disease. This is why breeders selectively breed dogs with certified hips (hips that have had an OFA test to prove they are free of hip dysplasia); This is a good reason to buy your puppy or new family member from a breeder, not a pet store or mill where the puppies parents are not known and the puppy is confined to a small kennel space. If purchasing a puppy, it is a good idea to ask about the puppy’s bloodlines and the incidents of hip dysplasia and other genetic issues in his/her family.
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) has been the standard method for diagnosing hip dysplasia sense 1966. The OFA is the worlds largest database of canine hip evaluations and is the standards set for most radiographs taken by veterinarians. Nearly all breeders have their dogs analyzed by the OFA for certification of the dog’s and are the number one most important step in ridding hip dysplasia in breeds prone to the issue.
Along with OFA Radiograph standards, regulations for the certification of a dog’s hips are also very strict and accurate. Tests evaluate the hip joints for size, shape, the architecture of the femoral head and neck, congruity, subluxation and overall condition of the acetabulum. Once radiographs are taken, three veterinarians grade the results with either an excellent, good, or fair grade. Dogs that show signs of dysplasia will receive a rating of mild, moderate, or severe and aren’t eligible for important breeding IDs.
OFA and PennHIP are working wonders for dogs by improving the regulations on dog breeding drastically. If you buy a puppy from a certified breeder, there is a much MUCH better chance your dog has been properly bred and nourished as a puppy. This is the right step forward in removing hip dysplasia from breeds plagued by the disease and there have been drastic improvements in the diagnosis rate of hip dysplasia — unfortunately, we can thank puppy mills for reversing much of the positive results seen by selective breeding.
Preventing Canine Hip Dysplasia
Keeping your dog healthy and active is very important from puppyhood all the way through adulthood. As a puppy (and much like a toddler), bones are still developing and require physical activity to increase muscle mass. However, excessive running or demanding activities on hard floors like sidewalks will increase the potential for development issues in the hips, legs, and back.
As a puppy, play time should consist of running around the backyard, on soft, padded ground. Puppies might seem full of energy but can really only handle small periods of intense activity—you’ve seen a puppy pass out after running around and playing, you never thought it would happen but they’re out like a light! The main point is: Don’t take your new puppy on your standard two-mile jog and don’t run intense agility and jumping competitions with your puppy! It’s best to look at your puppy as if they are a 1-year-old toddler; they’re still delicate and growing – even if it’s hard to see the resemblance between your hyperactive puppy and a newborn child.
A Puppies Diet Is Extremely Important
More and more studies regarding the effects of puppies diets during the first weeks and month of birth. Puppies allowed to feed by choice for the first three years of their life had a remarkable higher incidence of hip dysplasia. Puppies that eat an over-abundance of proteins and calcium have rapid growth to the point where the hips cannot develop and fuse properly. Popularity in home-made dog foods or non-commercialized (higher quality) dog food alternatives in dog health activists has continued to climb because you can better monitor the nutritional value of the food your dog gets depending on the stage of life the dog is in.
Overweight Dogs With Hip Dysplasia and Arthritis
Weight reduction and stability in your dog is the most important aspect of reducing the risk of hip dysplasia. Dogs overfed as puppies and into adulthood have an extremely higher chance of developing hip problems. Hip dysplasia prone breeds are also relatively large, heavy dogs and also prone to obesity. Before changing your dog’s diet, check for thyroid problems.
Keeping Your Dog Comfortable with Hip Dysplasia
A comfortable atmosphere for your dog is important. Warmth, padded bedding and over all status of living is not only a preventive measure but should be a standard for all dog owners to follow. Dogs and human alike cannot sleep in cold–hard surfaced uncomfortable places. Our bodies will begin feeling the physical beating and increase the risk of developing worse issues.
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Medical Journals and Studies
- Selection against canine hip dysplasia: success or failure?
View Abstract »
- The pathogenesis and diagnosis of canine hip dysplasia: a review
(SUP: 7585436. PMC1687006)
View Abstract »
- Canine hip dysplasia and the breeder. A layman’s point of view
View Abstract »
- Canine hip dysplasia: study of heritability in 401 litters of German Shepherd dogs
View Abstract »