Hip dysplasia is one of the most widespread orthopedic diseases that many dogs suffer from. Some purebred medium-sized, large and giant breeds of dogs are particularly prone to hip dysplasia (Labrador retriever, Golden Retriever, Rotweiller, German Shepherd Dog, Great Schnauzer, Bern Mountain Dog, Swiss Shepherd Dog,…). Smaller breeds, mixed breeds, as well as cats (Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat) also was not spared from this disease, but in a much smaller number of cases.
What is the Hip Dispersion?
Hip dysplasia is basically a developmental irregularity (anomaly) of the structure of the hips, when the fast-growing bony part of the hips is not sufficiently secured by the supporting structures (muscles, ligaments, tendons, joint bushes).
It is important to know that such loose hips exposed to excessive loads suffer from the degenerative changes that present a lifelong problem. (breeds of extremely fast-growing, dogs which suffering from overweight, dogs which moving mostly on concrete and asphalt or slippery floors, dogs which walking a lot on stairs or often jumping in and out of a car ). As a result, your pet will have movement problems throughout his lifetime, most often accompanied by pain. The activity of a dog with hip dysplasia will be reduced: the dog will more lying than moving, gets up harder, reluctantly runs, jumps awkwardly and walks down a rabbit-like staircase.
What is the Cause of Hip Dysplasia?
It is a hereditary disease, but environmental factors such as rapid growth, excessive physical activity of young dogs, and over nutrition of some nutrients have a major impact on the development of the disease. A clinical problem occurs in young dogs when hip dysplasia develops or in older dogs when arthritis (joint inflammation) develops as a result of dysplasia.
Environmental Factors that Adversely Affect Hip Development
One of the environmental factors that adversely affects the development of the hips is physical activity, so it is recommended that dogs of particularly heavy breeds in the first year of life have limited activity (Bernese Mountain Dog, Bernardine, German Dog, Rotwailers, …). This means that they should not be stimulated to run after you while you are cycling or throwing a ball at them.
Some other Factors:
- Unbalanced diet, feeding the dog food containing protein (predominance or lack of meat, poor dry food).
- Permanent overeating and resulting obesity (If the dog is obese, it is mandatory to reduce weight and limit excessive physical activity).
- Feeding the animal cheap food.
- Various limb injuries (sprains).
- Insufficient or excessive intake of vitamin C D B₁ in the dog’s body, as well as the introduction of a large number of phosphorus-calcium supplements.
- Sedentary lifestyle, leading to muscle weakness and abnormal joint development.
Symptoms of Dysplasia in Dogs
Hip dysplasia occurs mainly in adult dogs, so owners will notice the first symptoms between the ages of 5 and 12 months. This is natural because during this period the dog grows rapidly and gathers mass. In some dogs, especially late adults, the symptoms are not apparent until the age of 2 to 5 years.
It is important to emphasize that at an early age the body can make up for the lack of deposition of new substance on the bones, but with age the disease worsens.
It is necessary to keep a close eye on the puppy: when he prefers to lie with his hind limbs extending to the side and often takes that position, he has dysplasia. In addition, caution should be exercised, especially if the dog is quickly tired while walking or running, while pushing the front both paws simultaneously.
On which symptoms of dysplasia should pay attention:
The disease is most often observed after strenuous exercise, jumping, after long lying down when the animal will squeal.
Hip dysplasia can be indicated by poor hind corner angles (X attitude), when the animal lies on the abdomen the paws are unnaturally turned to the side. difficulty getting up after lying down for a long time, reacting when touching the hip while cleaning or bathing, avoiding certain activities, as well as an attempt to relieve the extremities of strenuous exercise or jogging.
This is manifested by various irregularities in gait and race, with an effort to avoid bending and stretching the legs. One of the described ways of such movement is the so-called. “rabbit walk”. An abnormal walk is sometimes described as “swinging”.
Body proportions change: the front becomes larger and more massive than the rear, so the dog can fall when making sudden turns.
If the dog shows signs of dysplasia, the doctor should be consulted immediately. Neglecting treatment will lead to the fact that after a certain period your pet will not be able to move and will feel pain.
Dysplasia of the joints in young dogs occurs without signs, and is expressed much later. In the abandoned stage of the disease, the dog may become irritable due to regular painful feelings.
Treatment of dysplasia in dogs
Dysplasia in dogs is treated with medication or surgery. The choice of treatment depends on the characteristics of the course of the disease, the individual characteristics of the organism, and the animal’s health. In most cases, the treatment of elbow joint dysplasia in dogs can be performed by conservative methods and surgery.
In dogs with dysplasia, drug treatment involves prescribing medications for several groups with different effects:
- Chondroprotective – for joint regeneration;
- Antispasmodic – to reduce pain;
- Anti-inflammatory – to relieve inflammation of surrounding tissues.
Dietary supplements with glucosamine and chondroitin are also used to accelerate the regenerative processes in the joints. In addition to taking medications and dietary supplements, the animal is prescribed a special diet for weight loss while using vitamin-mineral complexes.
Good effect gives extra physiotherapy. The most popular are:
- Paraffin or ozokerite;
- Magnetic and laser therapy;
- Massage of damaged joint.
During the treatment period of the dog, physical activity is not excluded, but should be moderate – swimming, running lightly, walking.
It should be remembered that conservative treatment for hip dysplasia in dogs only provides temporary improvement – the pain was removed and claudication was eliminated, but the wrist joints destroyed were not restored. Therefore, experts recommend that operational corrections be made immediately.
Surgical treatment of dysplasia in dogs is aimed at changing the shape of the femoral head to fit the parameters of the joint cavity. The complexity of the surgery depends on the degree of the disease. For minor injuries, the procedure can only consist of removing a small portion of the cartilage. In more severe cases, the following operations are performed:
Endoprosthetics – complete replacement of the hip joint with a titanium prosthesis. After the rehab period, the dog will move normally without any discomfort.
Osteotomy – changing the position of the joint and giving the right physiological shape to the joint. Surgery can only be performed in the absence of difficult arthritis dysplasia.
Removal of the neck and head of the femur – the technique does not guarantee the implantation of an implant, but is associated with a very long recovery period. But after recovery, the dog will have no signs of illness, will be able to run and jump without restriction.
The decision on the method of surgical treatment is made by a doctor based on the diagnosis and condition of the animal. Any dysplasia surgery is a very delicate job that only a surgeon with extensive experience and deep knowledge of anatomy can perform qualitatively. Therefore, it is extremely important to find such an expert.
The pathological process in the joints can also develop at a hereditary level and as a result of a poorly imbalanced diet and an irregular lifestyle of the dog. Prevention of the disease should be carried out from the first weeks of the birth of the puppies, only in this way can stop the occurrence of dysplasia. Only proper animal care will help resist the destruction of joints:
- Do not feed a four-legged pet too much, as being overweight puts a lot of pressure on your joints.
- The most attention should be paid to a puppy whose age does not exceed six months. It is a period that the joints and bones grows, forming a skeletal system. It must be remembered that in puppies of large breeds, these processes can take place too intensely.
- Do not abuse protein foods. The diet of the animal must be balanced. The diet includes proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamin complexes, probiotics, fiber-rich foods. In addition, the pet should receive the required amount of phosphorus and calcium.
- Perform regular diagnostics of the dog’s body, monitor and control the pathology initiated.
- For the first 6 months of a puppy’s life, he or she must be protected from strenuous physical training. The most proper walking with a dog involves running, swimming, long-distance walking.
- Bring vegetables into your pet’s diet. Such food absorbs quickly and nourishes the dog’s body well.
- From a very young age, dietary supplements that prevent dysplasia (glucosamine, chondroitin) are introduced into the diet of puppies.