Treating Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
What is Hip Dysplasia?
Dysplasia actually means malformed hip. Hip dysplasia in dogs, known as canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a genetically inherited condition. Hip dysplasia is cause for the development of malformed hips causing overall weakness, pain, and deterioration. This eventually develops into arthritis of the hip.
The Importance of the Hip Bone
All bones serve some level of importance within the body of your pet. However, the hip bone functions as one of the most important joints within the body of your pet. It is necessary for the movement of the leg bone (the femur) in all directions (forward, back, left and right) in addition to overall rotation of the leg.
How Common is Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is commonly noted to be caused by genetic inheritance of a certain gene that makes the dog more susceptible to the development of malformed hips. Hip dysplasia is more common in larger dog breeds, but can develop in smaller breeds and even cats.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia?
There are many signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs. Typically, many of these signs and symptoms are present and without proper treatment will increase in severity over time. It is also possible for healthy dogs with normal hips to display these symptoms and some dogs with hip dysplasia may not display signs or symptoms for years.
- Avoidance of hip extension while standing
- Difficulty rising from a sitting or lying position
- Lameness after exercise
- Painful reaction to rear leg extension
- Painful reaction to touch
- Pelvic swing or stilted gait while walking
- Reluctance to climb stairs, jump, play, or walk
How is Hip Dysplasia Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of hip dysplasia is impossible without the owner taking notice of the symptoms. The diagnosis of hip dysplasia is typically achieved through the use of X-ray technology. These x-rays are very effective and can usually show even the beginning signs of arthritis of the bones.
Treatment for Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
There are many treatment methods available for canine hip dysplasia. Typically, your veterinarian will prescribe the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory inhibitor drugs for the control of inflammation and pain. Be sure to regulate the use of these and all medications, as side effects are common. Discuss with your veterinarian alternative treatment options if possible. If your pet is in extreme pain, your veterinarian may recommend hip replacement surgery. This surgery is often associated with various complications and can be very expensive. There are natural alternatives to medications for pain and surgery. In addition to the maintenance of a healthy diet and lifestyle (regular exercise and weight management are critical); there are certain dietary supplements that enhance the overall well being of your pet including the reduction of overall signs and symptoms. Additionally, it is possible to make changes to your home environment that can lead to the overall comfort of your pet, decreasing symptoms. The use of ramps and placement of pet food and water in easy to reach areas can make daily activities less painful. Providing warm areas for sleeping and the use of physical therapy or massage can also decrease symptoms. It is important to discuss any and all treatment options with your veterinarian.
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