What is canine hip dysplasia?

In medical terms, canine hip dysplasia is when the hip joint is unstable or ill-fitting. The best way to visualize the hip joint is to imagine a ball and socket. The ball is the head of the femur, and the socket is attached to the pelvic bone called the acetabulum.

When the hip joint is working properly, the ball should move smoothly in all directions within the socket, thanks to the thickness and elasticity of the cartilage. When it doesn't work properly, i.e., when joint laxity sets in, there is a risk of cartilage loss, scar tissue development and bone spurs forming around the patella, resulting in hip dysplasia.

The good news is that this condition is preventable. Puppies are not born with hip dysplasia, but the condition develops during their childhood.

What causes hip dysplasia?

Large breeds are often affected by hip dysplasia, but while all breeds are susceptible, it is primarily a matter of genetics. In addition, diet, environment, exercise, growth rate, muscle mass and hormones can also contribute. In puppies, overgrowth can lead to abnormal skeletal growth.

Common symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs :

Lethargy: Although lethargy can be a symptom of many other conditions, it is possible that dogs' lack of interest in moving around is related to their hip joint pain.
Loss of muscle in the thigh: Dogs put pressure on another leg to relieve pain, resulting in deterioration of the muscle in the painful leg.
Lameness: The dog may favor one leg over the other.
No interest in jumping: Instead of jumping, dogs may lift themselves up using their front end to access furniture or a bed.
Bunny Hopping: Watch dogs as they run or climb stairs. They should alternate their back legs, not use both at the same time.
Sitting on the side: The dog's legs should be placed close to the body when sitting. However, as dysplasia sets in, the legs seem to stick out to the side or even be placed directly in front of the body.

Don't let your dog fool you. He may show signs of hip dysplasia for a while and then stop for a while. This does not mean that the condition has improved or disappeared. Instead, the dog's body naturally produces fibrous tissue to stabilize the condition and temporarily fix the problem. If your dog has symptoms of hip dysplasia, contact your veterinarian. Early intervention is always best when it comes to your dog's health.

Treatment options, aside from surgery, may include:
-Weight loss
-Exercise restrictions
-Physical therapy to improve muscle strength
-Anti-inflammatory medications
-Joint fluid modifiers to lubricate the joints and keep them from scratching, which can help them move more easily.

How can hip dysplasia be prevented in dogs?

It is important to intervene and protect your dog's hips and joints from deterioration as early as possible.
Keep your dog in good shape. Body weight and nutrients are essential during puppyhood, so stick to a regular feeding schedule as much as possible. Keep your puppy active with exercise, but know when restrictions are necessary. Early intervention reduces discomfort and suffering. Act as soon as possible if you suspect your dog has hip dysplasia by watching for signs of lameness, and schedule routine checkups with your veterinarian.

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