Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
An improperly formed hip bone is a resultant of a condition known as Hip Dysplasia. The ball and socket joint of the hip don’t properly meet each other which in other terms is malformed, which results in causing painful wear and tear as the joint rubs and grinds instead of sliding smoothly.
Sadly, hip dysplasia is the most common single cause of arthritis of the hips. There are methods of treating hip dysplasia, which can range from expensive surgery (to correct the joint abnormality) to supplements or medication to help lubricate the joint and help the pet deal with the discomfort. More information on treatment is below, but first it may be helpful to understand more about dysplasia and what causes it.
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History Of Common Breeds:
Each case of hip dysplasia is different; it all depends on the dog. A puppy of five months old can begin to develop hip dysplasia and it can become worse with their age (although the symptoms of this condition start showing up in dogs in their middle or later years).
Larger breeds of dogs are commonly affected by hip dysplasia, such as, retrievers, Staffordshire terriers, mastiffs, bulldogs, rottweilers and St. Bernards. However dogs of any breed can be susceptible to inherit this condition which can also include small breeds such as French bulldogs and pugs (who are among the most likely, by percentage, to have hip dysplasia according to data from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals).
As the dog’s bone moves around because the joint is loose, it causes excruciating wear and tear. Dysplastic changes in a dog can be irreversible, once osteoarthritis is also diagnosed. Dogs may be treated with medical management. Around 76% of dogs suffering from secondary arthritis are able to live comfortable lives and function properly.
To understand hip dysplasia better, it is important to understand how the joint has been affected. In a normal joint, the ball rotates easily and freely within the socket. The head of the femur is the ball portion while pelvis has a socket located on it. The bones are shaped perfectly to facilitate each others’ movements and to strengthen the joint. The two bones are held together by a strong ligament. The ligament attaches the head of the ball with the socket. Another strong connective tissue called the joint capsule also surrounds it, adding further balance. The articular surface is a cushioned and smooth surface of spongy cartilage where the bones actually touch each other. All these elements work together in a normal joint to function with stability and smoothness.
What Causes Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?
Did you know that hip dysplasia is the main cause of rear leg lameness in dogs? If your dog is suffering from lameness or other unusual change in activity he may be experiencing hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia can end up limiting your dog’s activity or causing pain if not properly treated. To understand and recognize the symptoms of this condition, it is important to know the causes of hip dysplasia in dogs.
Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition and has the highest-incidence rate in large breed dogs. The condition results in an improperly formed hip joint. Because the joint is improperly formed, the dog’s leg bone moves around causing painful wear and tear. How does a dog develop this condition and why?
If a dog’s parents have hip dysplasia, the animal’s offspring are at a greater risk of developing hip dysplasia. Just because a dog’s parents have hip dysplasia, it does not guarantee that the offspring will get it, but it does pass along the gene. Therefore, even if an offspring does not develop the condition, they may also pass it along to their future offspring. This is one reason why it is more common in some breeds than others.
2. Inappropriate Exercise
Dogs that are genetically susceptible to the disease are at an increased risk of developing the disease if they are over exercised at a young age. However, exercise is extremely important for dogs and their health, especially when they are young. We recommend keeping a routine of moderate low impact exercise for your dog that is not hard on the joints. Running on pavement, jumping in situations where they land on their hind legs, and standing up on their back legs should be avoided.
According to peteducation.com, the amount of calories a dog consumes and in what stage of his or her life they are consumed, is the most important factor in determining whether or not a genetically susceptible dog will develop hip dysplasia. Obesity can also increase the severity of hip dysplasia in dogs that have the genetic predisposition for the disease. Not only can carrying extra weight put strain on the joints, it will also increase your dog’s risk for osteoarthritis and other weight related conditions. It’s also important to monitor your dog’s daily diet for sufficient calcium and nutrients. A diet with too little calcium or other minerals could negatively impact the development of the hip joint.
As your dog ages it will be up to you to determine his activity and comfort levels. Conditions like hip dysplasia can limit their lives and create pain – situations we never want to see our pets go through. By educating yourself on the causes of hip dysplasia in dogs, you’ve taken the first step to giving your pets a more fulfilling life.
How to Diagnose Hip Dysplasia In Dogs:
Physical examination, manual tests on the hips of the dog and radiographs are included in the evaluation for hip dysplasia.
- Bunny hopping
- Reluctant to jump, run or climb stairs
- Swaying gait (moving your rear end back and forth)
- Soreness of hips
- Standing on hind legs or limping
- Hesitating to exercise
- Weight control to reduce mechanical stresses to the hip joints is the key to medical management of arthritis.
- Controlled exercise can help relieve or prevent inflammatory process that can lead to pain related to arthritis.
- Exercise should be started with short walks and should be gradually increased until the desired level of activity of the dog is attained.
- Swimming is a great exercise, for dogs who are able, in order to maintain muscle tone as swimming is non-weight bearing exercise and range of motion can also be maintained without placing strong forces on the joints.
- The dog can be made more comfortable by exercises that help to improve joint range of motion and a dog’s intensity level to its maximum and cardio-vascular function without any pain, inflammation or stiffness to the joint.
- Keep the dog in a warm environment by providing them with a well-padded, warm bed. The pain of arthritis from hip dysplasia can be controlled with the help of warmth, as the pain is worse in a cold and damp environment.
- Several surgical options may be available.
- Healthy diet is important.
- Pain-relieving medication provided by the vet can help manage the condition, though many times dogs are better served by natural supplements.
If hip dysplasia is left untreated, dogs can often develop osteoarthritis. The dysplasia also continues to develop. which eventually causes the crippling of the ball and socket joint. In severe cases, the dog will eventually be unable to use his/her hind legs and can suffer from extreme pain. If the disease is diagnosed and treatment is started, then the dogs can live an active and full life.
Problems faced by dog owners whose dogs are suffering from hip dysplasia:
There are a lot of problems that dog owners face that are a result of the dog having hip dysplasia. Dogs having hip dysplasia need a lot of extra care and attention. Dog owners also spend a lot of money on treatment and surgeries of dogs. Dog owners cannot bear the pain of seeing their beloved dogs suffer, as they are a part of their family. As a result, they make sure the dog is treated and cared for – as we know they should. They do spend hours and hours on their dogs taking them for swimming and other exercises, keeping them warm, maintaining a healthy diet, etc. Ultimately, caring for a dog with dysplasia can mean a lot of extra time, energy, and expense.
Flexpet is produced by Flexcin International, the makers of the Flexcin joint supplement for humans. Founded in 2000, Flexcin originally made a supplement for humans with bad joints. It worked so well, that people started giving it to their pets with arthritis and joint conditions. As a result, Flexcin International created a formula exclusively for dogs.
For pet joint health, Flexpet is a great product with all-natural ingredients. It helps to reduce inflammation in the pet’s body as well as aid in the lubrication of its muscles and joints. This product supports better overall muscle health and better cartridge health. This supplement is available in a tablet form which is chewable and is loved by dogs.The product only contains natural ingredients, so there are no side effects with existing medications, and does not contain any artificial coloring or flavoring.
The active ingredients used are:
- Cetyl Myristoleate
- Proteolyytic Enzyme Blend
- Chicken Collagen
There is a full list of ingredients on the Flexpet product page.
Flexpet can be easily consumed by your pet, and comes in a chewable tablet form. In order for the product to be fully effective, it is important to give your dog the proper dosage for their size:
Small Dogs & All Cats
(under 25 lbs )
Flexpet tablets daily
Medium to Large Dogs
( 25 – 75 lbs )
Flexpet tablets daily
( 75 + lbs )
Flexpet tablets daily
Maybe your dog doesn’t have dysplasia after all. There are a lot of issues that could be causing your dog to limp or have an irregular gate. We are asked this a lot, so we took the question to Dr. Randall, to have him talk more about why your dog may be limping and what to do about it.
My Dog Is Limping – Ask the Expert Dr David Randall
We know that Flexpet works, but understand that people can be apprehensive. So, we offer a full money-back guarantee.
Try a 90-day supply of Flexpet, and if you’re not satisfied with the results your dog experiences, simply return your first order (up to 3 empty bottles) for a full refund of the purchase price, less shipping and handling.