Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
Content Sponsored by Glyde Mobility Chews
Overview of Canine Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is a painful, crippling disease that causes a dog’s hip to weaken, deteriorate, and become arthritic. It stems from abnormal development of the hip joint – a ball-and-socket type joint – in which the head of the femur does not fit properly into the socket. Hip dysplasia can be mild and slightly disabling, or it can be severe and cause crippling arthritis.
Several factors contribute to the development of hip dysplasia. It occurs more in males than females, and is most common in large and giant breed dogs. Some breeds are genetically predisposed to the disease, including German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, and Rottweilers. Environmental factors like type of diet, weight gain, and rate of growth also contribute to abnormal hip development.
By definition, hip dysplasia develops in young growing dogs. The earliest age at which clinical signs may be noticed is usually around four months, but some dogs may not show any abnormality until they are mature or even geriatric. Hip dysplasia occurs in young dogs between 3 to 12 months of age and mature adult dogs.
Rapid weight gain and growth and excessive calorie intake may increase incidence of disease.
What To Look For
If your dog has hip dysplasia, you might notice an abnormal gait, reduced function, or lameness. Your young dog may exhibit a “rolling” hind leg gait, in which the hips appear to slide up and down like a wiggle. Your pet may also be reluctant to exercise or have difficulty going up and down stairs, all of which might seem strange for a puppy. There may be overt lameness on one or both hind legs. Your older dog may show greater exacerbation of these signs and may struggle to lie down or get up from a lying position.
If your dog exhibits any of the following symptoms, consult your veterinarian:
- Hind leg lameness (one or both legs)
- Swaying or staggering
- Discomfort when attempting to lie down or stand up
- Reluctance to run and jump
- Difficulty rising
- Abnormal or “bunny-hopping” gait
- Changes in jumping behavior/reluctance to jump
- Decreased activity/exercise intolerance
- Clicking sounds that you can hear when they walk or rise to get up
- Diminished muscle mass in rear legs (in chronic cases)
Diagnosis of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
When your dog is examined, your veterinarian will look for lameness while walking or trotting, a “rolling” hind leg gait, and difficulty standing up or lying down. Your veterinarian will move the dog’s hip joint to assess its range of motion and check for pain with the joint extended, and they will also listen for the “click” of the hip popping out of joint and the grating sound of bone on bone that indicates cartilage loss.
Radiographs (X-rays) may confirm the hip joint is dysplastic. X-rays will show the degree of dysplasia and the amount of associated arthritis.
In playful young dogs, this thorough evaluation may require sedation or even anesthesia because palpation and manipulation of the hips can be very painful. Also, in young dogs with hip dysplasia, it’s possible to dislocate (subluxate) the hip by manipulation due to the poor fit of the ball of the femur in the hip socket.
Treatment of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
Treatment, such as weight loss, exercise restrictions, physical therapy, joint supplements, and anti-inflammatory medication, will help to alleviate the pain and inflammation around the hip joint.
If your veterinarian diagnoses your dog with hip dysplasia, they may consider adding joint health supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin into the treatment plan.
Since they are generally safe for long-term use, joint supplements like Glyde Mobility Chews are frequently used as a preventative measure and ongoing as joint issues such as arthritis develop. Supplements might help lessen hip dysplasia symptoms; however, research is currently limited.
For dogs being managed medically, it’s important that you monitor body weight and avoid obesity. You will also want to avoid strenuous exercise – exercise your pet regularly but moderately. Swimming can be very beneficial when available; it helps to maintain good muscle mass and tone while keeping weight off the hip joints. If your veterinarian has recommended medication, you will need to be aware of potential side effects.
If your dog has had TPO or THR surgery, strict rest will be important for six weeks followed by a gradual increase in exercise. If your dog has had FHO surgery, controlled exercise with short, slow leash-walks should be started two weeks after surgery. Carefully observe the incision daily for swelling, redness, or discharge.
Preventative Care for Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
There are few things you can do in the way of prevention, but you should consider the following:
- When selecting a puppy, find out the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) hip score for the sire and dam. You should be looking to purchase offspring from parents whose hips have been evaluated and scored good to excellent. The PennHIP program for evaluating canine hips can provide excellent objective information about hip joints in dogs as young as four months of age.
- Picking up the problem as early as possible affords your puppy the best chance of finding the right option, whether medical or surgical, to minimize the arthritic changes that will develop secondary to hip dysplasia.
- Avoid high-energy diets in young fast growing large breed dogs. Switch young dogs from high-calorie, high-protein puppy diets to adult food.
- Maintain weight to an ideal standard. If your dog is obese, consider a weight loss program.
- Encourage a regular exercise routine to maintain good muscle mass. Exercise must be moderate and regular.
- Add joint supplements to your dog’s diet to improve mobility and reduce pain.
Unfortunately, there is also no way to reverse the effects of hip dysplasia. While you may consider prescribed medication to lessen pain and inflammation, remember just as in humans, pain medication may not be a good long-term solution. Consider using a natural supplement, like Glyde Mobility Chews Hip & Joint Supplement for Dogs, which includes the proven ingredients of glucosamine, chondroitin, and Green Lipped Mussel. Of course, we love our dogs and want nothing but the best for them. As always, if you see obvious behavior changes, call your veterinarian, and schedule an appointment.
Glyde Mobility Chews for dogs, made by Parnell Living Science, are a powerful joint supplement with strong scientific backing to promote healthy joints. Glyde is the only joint supplement for dogs with proven levels of the three key ingredients of green-lipped mussel (GLM), glucosamine, and chondroitin. Count on Glyde’s ingredients to help reduce inflammation and pain, improve function, and slow progression of joint damage and arthritis for your dog. With Glyde, protecting your dog’s joints is as easy as giving them a daily chew they think is a treat.