Canine Hip Dysplasia Symptoms & Treatment

Canine hip dysplasia is a problem that causes pain and lameness for the dog suffering from it.  It can become a lengthy and serious problem, turning in to a progressive osteoarthritis.  While hip dysplasia can occur in all breeds of dogs, it is most common within the larger breeds.  German shepherds, rottweilers and Labrador/golden retrievers are particularly at risk for this health problem.  It’s generally a genetic condition amongst dogs, but also has environmental factors as well.  Dogs that are overweight, as well as those who haven’t been spayed or neutered may have an increased risk for the condition.

The easiest way to explain hip dysplasia is that it is a laxity of the muscles, tissues and connective ligaments surrounding the hip joints.  Once this laxity occurs the two bones in the hip joint lose contact with each other, causing instability in the joint.  The dog continues to bear weight and the “ball comes out of the socket”, leading to the dog developing abnormal wear-down of their cartilage, and eventually osteoarthritis.

Identification of hip dysplasia is key to getting your dog on the proper treatment path.  If you notice your dog has recent trouble with rising from the floor, walking up and down stairs, or seems to be losing muscle mass in the hip-rear legs area, these are all signs of hip dysplasia.  Your dog may exhibit symptoms of lameness or pain as well, due to the condition.  An orthopedic exam and pelvic X-rays will be used to determine if your dog has the CHD condition.  Bringing your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible will help to alleviate your dog’s condition and pain, as a treatment can be discussed and devised.

To prevent an increased risk of CHD in your dog, make sure your dog stays within the veterinarian’s recommended weight.  Also, make sure your dog gets adequate amounts of exercise to keep them fit.  Most cases of dogs with CHD can be managed using pain medications as well as weight loss, exercise and in some cases surgery.  Hip replacement surgeries have been used, and these can be quite costly when you add up all the charges involved.  There are unfortunately no cures for Canine Hip Dysplasia, but with proper care provided to the dog, you can help to extend its life expectancy and improve its overall quality of life.

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