Canine Hip Dysplasia

Human beings are not the only one’s who suffer from arthritis. Your best four-legged friend may also be suffering from this often painful and debilitating disease. One of the most common forms of pet arthritis is canine hip dysplasia. Canine hip dysplasia is characterized by painful inflammation, stiff hip joints, and overall reduced mobility and flexibility.

Dysplasia technically means improper growth. The disease’s name refers to the fact that the canine hip does not grow properly, causing too much movement in the hip. Over time, the cumulative effect of this movement may cause the canine to develop canine hip dysplasia. Canine hip dysplasia is a progressive disease, meaning that the symptoms of the disease tend to worsen over time.

The disease may afflict different dogs at varying levels of severity. Some canines may experience a severe loss of flexibility and mobility, while others may only display subtle symptoms. If the disease is left untreated, the dog may eventually develop arthritis and even lameness.

Risk Factors

What types of dogs appear to be more prone to developing canine hip dysplasia? Statistics show that larger dogs are at a greater risk. Nearly 50 per cent of all dogs that suffer from canine hip dysplasia are from large breeds. Many small and medium sized dogs are also susceptible to canine hip dysplasia, but it may take longer for their symptoms to become evident. How can you know if your dog is suffering from canine hip dysplasia?

Many pet owners find out that their dog is afflicted with this disease when they notice that their dog is having trouble walking up flight of stairs. They may be slow to rise after sitting, and experience fatigue or lameness after a period of activity. Many owners report that their pet experienced some noticeable change in personality. For instance, a once gentle pet may become more aggressive. Animal experts believe this is caused by the animal’s pain. Dogs that are suffering from canine hip dysplasia may also become more vulnerable to injury.

Diagnosis

However, the signs of canine hip dysplasia may not always be so obvious. The only sure way to make an official diagnosis of canine hip dysplasia is through a radiographic X-ray exam. Most diagnoses of canine hip dysplasia are made in this manner. However, there are some specialized orthopedic veterinarians that can be consulted for a second opinion. Treatment for canine hip dysplasia has traditionally consisted of NSAID class drugs. These are non-steroidal drugs that fight the inflammation caused by arthritis. Some vets also prescribe glucosamine as an alternative to NSAID drugs.

What causes canine hip dysplasia to afflict some dogs? It appears the disease may be genetic and environmental in nature. There appears to be a genetic predisposition for the disease in larger breeds. Environmental factors for the disease may include malnourishment during puppy hood and poor breeding. Some breeds appear to be more susceptible to developing canine hip dysplasia than others. Breeds that are more at risk for the disease include Golden Retrievers, St. Bernard’s, Labs, Boxers, Bloodhounds and Rottweilers.