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.

Alternatives To Surgery For Canine Hip Dysplasia

Canine Hip Dysplasia Signs and SymptomsCanine Hip Dysplasia is an unnatural formation of the hip socket that can be quite painful for a dog. It is a form of arthritis and just like most forms of arthritis that affect humans it has no definite cure. There are several ways to improve the dogs quality of life, reduce the pain considerably and wipe out most of the clinical signs. However, it is important to note that this condition is a degenerative one so it naturally gets worse. Treatments are designed to counter the degeneration and not to cure the condition. Due to the varying degrees of Canine hip dysplasia, some dogs do not need intensive care but rather medications to assist the dog deal with the condition better.

In intense conditions, surgery is usually the first option but for those who cannot afford surgery or choose not to go with that option usually, use one of the following.

Medication – The medication for more severe conditions would not be the same for the minor degree. These medications are designed to reduce the damage, pain and possible swelling. The usual drug recommended is the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It is very important to consult a veterinarian before purchasing any NSAID because the drug type varies in different species. This drug combats arthritis that has occurred because of the hip dysplasia. The veterinarian may also try glucosamine-based nutritional supplements which may help with the joint repair. The usual testing time for these supplements is three to five weeks. Your dog will probably have to try several anti-inflammatory drugs in order to find the perfect fit. This trial period lasts two to four weeks for each brand of the drug. This trial is conducted alongside the glucosamine-based supplements and if the dog doesn’t respond to treatment, medication may be ruled out.

Weight loss – An overweight dog who suffers from this condition would be placed on a strict diet in order to reduce the weight placed on the hip bone. Weight loss may reveal the hip dysplasia to be minor instead of severe. Reducing the dog’s weight is a surefire way to fight all forms of arthritis.

Exercise – Canine Hip Dysplasia can be caused by jogging with a dog under one year and repeatedly placing weight on the bones which are not fully grown yet. Thus, increasing or reducing the dog’s exercise is a great way to curb the symptoms of dysplasia. A healthy exercise system can encourage the growth of cartilage and reduce the degeneration reasonably. Long, relaxing walks are also well recommended for your dog during the early stages of canine hip dysplasia or for mild dysplasia. This will help to fight the degeneration of muscle mass.

Canine Massages – Canine massages are said to reduce the pain in the affected area. The massage reduces the discomfort and pain whilst encouraging the movement of nutrients as well as lymph in the system.

Mesenchymal stem cell therapy – Another form of non-surgical treatment which has been proven to increase the dog’s range of motion, reduce the crippling and alleviate discomfort.

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.

Tips For Making Life Easier For Your Dog With Canine Hip Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia is often very painful for a dog and because it is a degenerative condition, which means it steadily gets worse without treatment, it cannot be totally cured. There are medications and ways to help your furry friend have the best quality of life possible. These tips are not extravagant, expensive things. Most times it’s the little things that matter. Here are ten things you can do to make life easier for your dog with this form of arthritis.

Exercise – A reasonable amount of exercise is a perfect way to reduce the degeneration of muscle mass. Recommended types of exercise are long walks that will build the hip muscle and fight degeneration by encouraging cartilage growth. It is important that your dog is not overworked and underworked. The key is to be perceptive to the dog’s body language and keep the exercise optimized.

Massages – A veterinarian should be able to give your dog a massage.  Massages will ease discomfort and encourage the spread of nutrients and lymph. Massaging the affected hip bone/area will reduce the pain and curb soreness.

Happy Life With Canine Hip Dysplasia Facts

Watching your dogs weight – It is said that a weight loss can almost cure any type of arthritis in dogs. Due to their build, most joint pains can be mitigated by weight loss. They walk on all four legs so losing weight would remove pressure on the hip bone and sometimes reduce the level of dysplasia they suffer from. It is the single most effective way to fight canine hip dysplasia.

No Stairs – If your dog suffers from this condition, it is highly advised for them to avoid using stairs. The movement will cause strain on the already sensitive hip bone, make the pain worse and increase swelling. If it is absolutely necessary for the dog to use the stairs, try carrying them or using ramps.

Medication – If you are not going to consider surgery, especially if your dog doesn’t suffer from a severe case of canine hip dysplasia, there are several options of medication available. This should be discussed in depth with your veterinarian because some dog breeds may be allergic to drug brands that work for other dogs.

Reduce Stress – If your dog is under stress, try to reduce the amount of work or places they can run to. If you have a large compound, consider investing in some borders so that the dog doesn’t run off and further endanger their hip bone. Their exercise must be monitored by you in order to achieve desirable results.

Layer – During the colder months, the pain may get worse so you should invest in sweaters or blankets for your dog. Keeping them warm will help fight the cold that would end up seeping into their bones and causing pain and friction

Adjust the environment – There isn’t much you can do about the external environment especially when it is not your property but the house can be adjusted for the dog. If you have tiled floors consider investing in rugs or maybe some dog socks so they don’t fall down whenever they’re running or playing. Make your living space more conducive so that they’re not at risk of worsening the condition.

Symptoms Of Canine Hip Dysplasia

It is almost impossible to predict that your dog will develop hip dysplasia or already has hip dysplasia until the symptoms are severe enough to be noticed through physical limitations unless you are aware of the issue and run regular x-rays on your dog. Dogs unwilling to run and play as much as they usually do, trouble getting up from laying, sensitivity to the hips or a change in their stance or walk can be clear signs of developing or worsening hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, hip dysplasia is a degenerative cycle that causes more and more un-comfort and will eventually lead to crippling pain and can eventually leave your dog not being able to walk at all.

During the early stages and development of hip dysplasia, signs can be relatively minimal. Typically, the first signs of arthritic behavior are your dog having increased difficulty getting up after long exercise or sleep. Additionally, the pain and discomfort quickly wear off once your dog is up and moving. This is the number one reason to bring your dog to the vet. Dogs, especially ones with great health records and boisterous personalities should never be soar on a regular basis. As symptoms develop, your dog may become uneasy with children or strangers petting them because of the pain. A change in the stance and walk will be obvious and as more time passes you will notice your dog spending more time laying down and increased pain in their hips.

Radiographs are used to diagnosis Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) but results may not be present until your dog has fully matured. Additionally, affected dogs of CHD show clinical signs much differently. Some dogs manifest problems of Canine Hip Dysplasia before six months of age, others won’t show signs until well into adulthood but the damage could still be occurring. Fortunately, research and advancements in technology have increased the success rate of surgical procedures greatly in the past 10 years. Total hip replacement and stem cell regrowth are two of the newest options for dogs diagnosed with hip dysplasia.

Canine Hip Dysplasia InformationSYMPTOMS

  • Noticeable decrease in activity
  • Difficulty getting up after laying
  • Strange posture (gait) when walking
  • Calluses and sores from excessive laying and inactivity

It is important that other conditions like Cauda Equina Syndrome (lower back issues) and ligament tears are not the actual culprits of your dog’s pain. However, these conditions are much less prevalent compared to Canine Hip Dysplasia and symptoms are usually on the extreme side and appear and worsen rapidly. It is always so important to bring your dog into the vet on the first indication that something might be wrong. Catching hip dysplasia early is the key to returning your dog to full health.