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Canine Hip Dysplasia Affects Millions of Dogs

February 28, 2017

Canine hip dysplasia is a common skeletal disease that can cause pain and mobility issues for any breed. It is a veterinary condition related to looseness in a hip joint that would otherwise be tight. As the disease progresses, the hip joints can degenerate to the point that the dog may suffer extreme pain and not be able to use their hind legs.

Although canine hip dysplasia is most often caused by genetic factors, there are a number of environmental causes, such as "wear and tear" seen in police or rescue dogs. Hip dysplasia is usually categorized as:

1) Early Onset - With this form of the disease, the dog is born with hip dysplasia as an inherited veterinary condition.

2) Later Onset - Dogs often develop the disease later in life along with arthritic conditions.

3) Environmental Onset - Rapid weight gain, obesity, poor hind muscle development, repetitive strains and injuries are common environmental causes.

Hip dysplasia can affect all breeds of dogs but it more common in large or giant breeds, such as German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweillers, Great Danes and Saint Bernards. Larger mixed breeds are also more susceptible to having problems with hip dysplasia than smaller mixed breeds.

Symptoms of Canine Hip Dysplasia

Symptoms of canine hip dysplasia most often include pain. However, the pain does not always correlate to the degree of degeneration. Some dogs experience extreme pain early on whereas others seem to cope well with pain even during more advanced stages. Other common signs include:

  • Rear End Swaying
  • Stiffness and Difficulty Getting Up
  • Reluctance to Run or Jump
  • Bunny Hopping Stairs
  • Narrow Stance in the Rear
  • Sitting in the Frog Position
  • Lameness in the Rear End

Treatment for canine hip dysplasia varies by dog and by progression of the disease. Conservative measures include weight control, pain relief medications, anti-inflammatory medications, nutritional supplementation, physical therapy, massage therapy and hydrotherapy. If required, there are several surgical interventions that your veterinarian may recommend. Surgeries range from femoral or pelvic osteotomies to a total hip replacement to an excision arthroplasty.

If your best friend displays signs of lameness, seems to be in pain or becomes aggressive when you try to pick them up or help them move, it is prudent to seek the advice of a veterinarian. At PrimeVet, our compassionate veterinarians are well trained in diagnosing, treating and managing skeletal diseases as well as naturally occurring degenerative conditions. You don't have to watch your pet suffer, call us today at 904-644-7876 to schedule an appointment for your dog.

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