The 6 Common Signs Of Canine Hip Dysplasia

Any veterinarian will tell you that the most difficult and frustrating dog diseases are “Canine hip dysplasia. Canine hip dysplasia or CHD is a condition in which the dog’s femur does not fit properly with the hip socket. In this scenario, the cartilage is damaged, the joint is slowly destroyed and the dog experiences pain and swelling in the affected area. Hip dysplasia in dogs is not the same as hip arthritis. However, dog hip dysplasia is one of the causes of hip arthritis in dogs.

Canine Hip Dysplasia is an inherited disease that affects mainly large breed dogs. The word “dysplasia” means inappropriate growth. Hip dysplasia can be defined as abnormal or a faulty development of the hip. In this case, the hip becomes wobbly and loose, ultimately leading to a kind of arthritis commonly referred to as Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). The degree of lameness that takes place is usually dependent upon the level of arthritic changes in the hip joint. And also the environmental conditions such as the amount of physical exercise and weight gain contribute to the disease and bring out the following signs.

Decreased activity: Dogs with this illness usually become less active. Dog owners may notice that their pet sleeps or rests more, showing less enthusiasm to go for walk, less stamina or interest to play. It is important to mention your pet low activity to your veterinarian. Unfortunately, a lot of people attribute their dog’s inactive nature to effects of aging, while the dog may actually be suffering from pain associated with hip dysplasia.

Decreased ability to jump or climb stairs: For dogs, hind legs play a vital role in their ability to jump or climb stairs. When inflammation develops due to hip dysplasia, the dogs experience pain and finally suffer a decreased kind of motion inside the joint. Dog owners might initially notice dog’s hesitance to jump into a car or climb stairs. In the end, the dog can simply refuse these activities and become dependent on help.

Difficulty in Rising: As the pains of hip dysplasia increase, dog owners may notice that their dogs have trouble standing up from lying position. The sluggishness way the dog stands up is often associated with the length of time he was lying down. Trouble rising up is frequently the most obvious first thing in the morning after the dog sleeps through the night. With activity during waking hours, dogs can “warm out” from stiffness.

The surface on which the pet rests can also affect the ease with which he can get up. Carpets provide much better traction than hardwood, linoleum or tiles surface. You can take steps to improve your pet footing to avoid slips or falls. Carpet runners on wooden stairs can increase the mobility of a dog with hip dysplasia. Area carpet with no slip backing should be used in the areas often passed by the dog throughout the house.

Bunny Hopping: This is the abnormal change in walk sometimes exhibited by a dog with hip dysplasia. This is called Bunny Hopping because dogs are seen raising both hind legs simultaneously like jumping a rabbit. You can notice Bunny hopping when dogs are running, jumping, walking or climbing stairs. According to a specialist, the characteristic of Bunny hopping walk is believed to be an attempt to reduce the pain in the coxofemoral joints by sharing the forces on each hip in half during propulsion and weight-bearing.  It is important to distinguish bunny hopping from jumping that can be related to hunting behavior or play.

Persistent Hind Lameness: This depends on the harshness of the dog’s hip dysplasia and its level of activity, dog owners may notice recurrent or continuous lameness in the hind legs. Over time, abnormal wear or tear of the joint can causes bone proliferation. The “C-shaped” socket usually becomes shallow and flattened, while the femoral head loses its smooth appearance in the shape of the ball and begins to look like a mushroom. The subsequent pain and inflammation may result in mild favoring or a non-weight lameness of a rear limb.

Hip Pain and Sensitivity: Canines with hip dysplasia may show discomfort when a family member or veterinarian touching the hips. In the early stages, when the ball pops out of the socket, tiny fractures occur at the edge of the socket and the soft tissue surrounding the hip joint become stretched. These changes can result in pain in dogs as young as four months of age.

As the pup age, hip dysplasia causes the collapse of the cartilage, which acts as a shock absorber for the joints. The bone underneath the damaged cartilage is also subject to changes. These structural changes cause inflammation and a condition known as osteoarthritis. While early X-rays shows a normal ball shape and socket that are misaligned, future X-rays reveal a significant bone remodeling of both structures.

Management of hip dysplasia

Identify the initial signs of hip dysplasia and taking steps to reduce the progression of the irreversible joint disease is very important. Studies have shown that maintaining a healthy weight of dogs can significantly reduce the incidence and severity of arthritis. Exercise adjustment is also important with moderate to light movement recommended instead of strenuous activity.

In addition to asking your veterinarian about medications to relieve the discomfort caused by hip dysplasia, owners can also make adjustments to maintain the dog quality of life. As stated earlier, household alterations such as carpet runners on stairs and slippery surfaces can greatly improve the movement and safety of the dog. Ramps should be available to help dogs get to cars. Ramps can also be built to enable the dog to avoid stairs when leaving the house. Well-cushioned bedding should be provided throughout the house.

Questions and Tips When Talking With A Dog Breeder

Have you decided to get add a dog to your family? Congratulations! You are in for one of the best experience of life. The first thing that comes to your mind is where and how to get a dog that best fit into your lifestyle, family or work. No need to panic, breeders are all over the state but the major constraint is how to identify a reputable breeder with excellent track record of producing healthy, sociable and temperamentally sound puppies. There is various way of getting a competent breeder either you contact your veterinary doctor, local breed clubs or you attend dog shows. Therefore, take your time to find the best dog breeder that suit you, make phone calls and contact numerous persons who has lived with your preferred dog breeds. A professional dog breeder can enlighten you on dog breeds beyond your imagination or the information you have gathered.

Visit and talk to several breeders, this gives you an insight, separate the unique, dedicated, and serious breeders from the unserious ones. The environment should be good and smell good. You might be wondering what are you going there to talk about, but here are few questions that you will ask;

  • Brief History and Experience of the Breeder
    This question gives you the opportunity to know how long the breeder has been breeding this particular breed and to know whether he belongs to the breed club.
  • Genetics of the Breed
    Ask for health history of the parents of this breed probably there is a typical disease associated to them. Also, ask if the parents are registered with Orthopedic Foundation of Animals (OFA) and should provide health clearance and documentations. Have the puppies had their first round of vaccination and specify?
  • The Temperament and Characteristics of the breed
    Ask the breeder for the typical characteristics of breed, what type of family situation is best for the breed, and its relationship with class of people Small children, young adult and elderly person.
  • How many litters do you raise a year?
    A breeder with either one or two litters a year will have enough time to provide quality shelter, enough care and proper handling.
  • Can I talk to your previous successful Customer?
    A good breeder will be happy to share life experiences of previous customers with you.

Features of a Good breeder

  • Puppy Hip Dysplasia PreventionA quality breeder will have comprehensive knowledge of the breed. The breeder should know virtually everything about the breed, their genetics, temperament and other relevant information.
  • Their dogs live inside. Quality breeders raise puppies that are expected to be a family dog inside with their family. Therefore, do not buy puppies that are raised in a basement, backyard or garage as your family pet.
  • Quality dog breeders participate in dog shows or competitions, they are enthusiastic lover of the breeds and they do not breed dogs just for the love of money.
  • Quality breeders provide you a contract document with specific requirements and guarantees. The breeder gives you a spay/neuter requirement forms for your pup on which you will append your signature to maintain the health of the puppy. The reputable breeder’s contract should offer a health guarantee that the puppy is free from genetic defects up to the age of 1 year old.
  • A quality breeder will invite you to their home or place of business. This gives you an opportunity to meet the parents of the puppy and observe the conditions in which the animals are kept. Note that the environment should be clean, warm, and friendly.
  • A quality breeder does not release puppies for sale until it is AT LEAST 8 weeks old.
  • Quality breeders give you his/her phone contacts, website and email. This makes the breeder accessible for prospective and present clients.


Hip Dysplasia In Puppies

Dog hip dysplasia is a complex and serious problem for dogs. It results in a slight to severe paralysis of the animal due to excessive looseness between the socket joints and ball joints in the hips. The bone that formed the socket actually failed to develop enough to form a good joint. Also, the ball part of the joint may not be properly formed, causing a joint that doesn’t work properly.

Studies of hip dysplasia in dogs suggest that the problem often occurs in large breeds more seriously than small breeds. However, there may be some cases of hip dysplasia in almost all breed.

This disease is thought to have a hereditary factor. It is also alleged to have a nutritional cause, which may be serious by misconceptions about good nutritious practices. The genetic part cannot be overcome by nutritional therapy, but malnutrition can complicate matters further. A Well balanced nutrition that helps minimize genetic vulnerability may cover the genetic problem for dog breeders to maintain this trend.

Dog hip dysplasia is one of the most common skeletal diseases that affect dogs. It can occur in both female and male dogs. Though, some dog breeds tend to be more prone to this condition than others. The most commonly affected are big and giant breeds like a German shepherd, the Great Dane, Saint Bernard and Labrador retriever. Though, smaller dog breeds like Bloodhounds, Beagles, Clumber Spaniels and Brittanys can as well develop the condition.

This disorder often starts in young and physically immature pooches. It can arise as early as when the dog is about four months old. There are also cases of future onset where the condition doesn’t develop until the puppy is older. This later beginning usually occurs as the result of osteoarthritis.

The 3 Dog Breeds Most Prone To Develop Hip Dysplasia And Why

Hip Dysplasia is a genetic condition that in most cases is passed on from one generation to another where the hips of a dog are improperly formed. Hip dysplasia is aggravated by specific environmental factors such as weight gain, injury, age and more. The condition is more prevalent in some dog breeds and is characterized by painful joints, impaired mobility as well as arthritis.

The following are the top three dog breeds that are susceptible to hip dysplasia.

great dane hip dysplasiaGreat Danes

Also nicknamed the ‘Apollo of dogs’ the Great Dane is from Germany and is famous for its big size. They have a clam lifestyle but as quite susceptible to hip dysplasia due to its massive statures. The fact that it carries a heavy load in the form of its body around has proven to have an adverse effect on their joints.

bull dog hip dysplasiaBulldogs and Pugs

Bulldogs and Pugs are frequently referred to as the English bulldog because of the long time it has with the British Culture as well as nationalism. Research shows that about 71.8% of pugs and Bulldogs have hips dysplasia. These breeds have a passive nature that makes them very susceptible to the diseases. With exercise, however, the health of the joints is bound to improve.

German shepherd

The German Shepherd originates from Germany that is classified as working and as a herding dog mainly because of its intelligence and excellent trainability. The German shepherd is susceptible to hip dysplasia because of the heavy workload the breed has. Research also shows that the leading cause of ailments the German shepherd is mainly because of the long history of inbreeding that took place early in the breed’s history.

When it comes to the health of your dog, it is never too early to start. Put you dog on a proper diet, enough exercise, and supplements that can help them live a happy and comfortable life.

Why Do Dogs Develop Hip Dysplasia

If you have a pet, the chances that you are very attached to them are high. Most dog owners love their furry friends to a fault and they want only the best for their pets. Dogs on an average live for thirteen years and in order to optimize the time you will be spending with them you must be well educated on dogs. This article will be discussing Canine hip dysplasia. This is a condition that affects dogs and makes movement very painful for them. It is an unnatural development of the hip bone that could end up crippling your dog or causing them to suffer from painful arthritis. It is important to note that it is a genetic trait and it is very common in larger breeds. For working dogs it is the most common source of hip arthritis. Here is a list of the top 100 breeds most susceptible to canine hip dysplasia. It is maintained by Orthopedic Foundation for Animals. There are several causes of this condition. Some of which are:

Poor Development – It can be caused by a bad formation of muscles in the pelvic area whilst the dog was growing. This can be caused by a number of things. The first is injury at a young age (12 months and below), stressing or putting pressure at a young age which could also lead to a ligament tear. It is advised not to run or jog with a dog that is less than a year because the repetitive and straining motions might damage the developing muscles.

Canine Hip Dysplasia Treatment OptionsOverweight – It can be quite hard to resist giving your dog a treat especially when they are still puppies but discipline must be enforced. The chances your dog would ever reject a bowl of their favorite food or treats are very slim. Even if they do not deal particularly hungry they will still rush to eat it up. Your dog must be well exercised and healthily fed.

Neutering and Spaying – These are great ways to avoid your dog fathering or giving birth to little puppies that you won’t be able to take care of. There are several dogs being euthanized daily because they do not have a home. Neutering your male dog and spaying your female dog help to reduce that statistic as well as other benefits. However, neutering your male dog before they have reached sexual maturity can cause canine hip dysplasia. Some veterinarians recommend neutering your dog eight weeks after they are born while some strongly insist on six months. It is preferable to go with the latter and if you want to be extra sure, ask your vet what is best suited for your dog.

If your dog has difficulty moving, walks stiffly, lethargic behavior, reluctant to walk up stairs they eagerly climbed before, walking without putting pressure on the rear legs and is constantly chewing, licking or even biting at the hip joint, then there is a chance your dog may suffer from canine hip dysplasia. Canine hip dysplasia can only reflect on an x-ray by the time the dog is 18 months old which is also the time the condition usually appears.

Clinical Diagnosis Of Canine Hip Dysplasia

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.

Treatment Of Canine Hip DysplasiaDoctors 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.