Nobody wants to see an animal suffer, especially your own pet. At BluePearl Veterinary Partners we know that you love your animals and want the best for them. That is why we strive to provide the best treatment options possible for any condition. When you suspect that your dog is in pain, we want to help you pinpoint the cause and help Fido feel better. If your dog seems to be stiff and sore or is hesitant to play as much as he once did, dog hip dysplasia may be to blame.
What is Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is a condition caused by an inadequately formed hip joint. It is an inherited condition and the affected joint becomes loose, allowing your dog’s leg bone to move around more than normal within the socket of the hip. The looseness of the joint results in pain – and wear and tear that is gradually more painful for your dog. Some dogs are more prone to hip dysplasia, including:
- German shepherds
- Great Danes
- St. Bernards
Development of hip dysplasia can begin very early in your dog’s life, even as early as a few months of age. Over time the condition can worsen and symptoms may not appear until old age. In the majority of cases, dogs begin to exhibit the signs in their middle years.
Signs of Hip Dysplasia
It is not always easy to tell if your dog has hip dysplasia, because some cases are mild and have almost no symptoms. You may be able to tell if your dog has hip dysplasia if she displays some of the following signs:
- Stiffness when attempting to get up
- Hesitance to exercise
- Avoidance of standing on the hind legs
- Avoidance of climbing the stairs
- Limping or bunny-hopping
If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment for a complete physical exam so that a diagnosis can be made as soon as possible.
Treatment of Hip Dysplasia
While nothing can prevent this inherited condition, there are surgical options to repair the hip joint, which may include a hip replacement. However, there are less invasive measures that dog owners can take to help dogs deal with the pain and discomfort of the condition in earlier stages of development. Some of these options include
- Healthy diet
- Exercise and rehabilitation therapy similar to physical therapy in humans
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Joint supplements
- Warm and dry sleeping areas
- Pain relievers
- Underwater treadmill therapy
Improving Your Dog’s Quality of Life
A diagnosis of hip dysplasia doesn’t mean that your dog has to be in pain for the rest of his or her life. There are many things that you can do to improve your dog’s quality of life and alleviate pain. Creating an appropriate exercise regime can help strengthen muscles around the joint and a good diet can help maintain a healthy weight. Your commitment to your dog’s health will make all the difference. Contact your family veterinarian to set up an appointment if you suspect hip dysplasion. The sooner treatment starts, the sooner your pooch will be out of pain.