Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Labrador Dog

Hip Dysplasia in Dogs and How to Treat it

hip dysplasia and arthritis in dogs

Hip dysplasia is surprisingly common in dogs, particularly large dogs. It is caused by an abnormal formation of the hip socket and can render a dog in crippling pain, lame or can cause arthritis. In a regular hip joint, the bone sits comfortably within the joint and is covered in cartilage, which enables a smooth movement for the dog along with a range of motion.

A dysplastic hip, however, shows a loose fitting joint, where the bone is not housed comfortably in the hip. The area where the bone sits isn’t round, but misshapen which then causes abnormal wear and tear for the dog.

Arthritis or Hip Dysplasia? Which is your dog suffering?

The dysplastic joint is in a constant battle as it continuously tries to repair itself. This kind of cartilage repair takes time that the joint simply does not have and the new cartilage wears down quickly causing inflammation and pain. The joint may not support the dogs weight or allow it to walk. The more damage occurs the less it is able to repair the damage.

Dogs may compensate for this by reducing the movement in the joint to avoid further pain. You can see them walking in a ‘bunny hop’ motion, keeping their legs close together and moving them at the same time.

The causes of this are hereditary, but the environment the dog is in also contributes to hip dysplasia. Which of these is the more likely cause is a topic of current debate, but it is proven that neutering a dog before it reaches adulthood almost doubles the chances of a dog getting a dysplastic hip. Environmental factors include the dog being overweight, suffering an injury to the bone or ligament or repetitive motion in the joint. The problem almost always appears before the dog reaches 18 months old.

Supplement for Canine Arthritis or Hip Dysplasia

Arthritis supplement for dogs

The aim of treatment is to enhance the dog’s life wherever possible. The condition will change during the life of the animal because it is a degenerative disease, so is likely to get worse with age. Because of this, tests should be repeated through adulthood to gauge the continuing health of the hip.

X-ray of dog with hip dysplasia

Non-surgical elements include weight control, exercise control and medication. If these options fail then hip modification surgeries are an option, where surgeons try to rebuild the damaged joint. Hip replacement surgery has the highest rate of success as it completely replaces the faulty joint. It also completely cuts off the chance of reoccurrence.

Once the hip is repaired the dog can expect a new lease of life. With a completely new joint it will have a range of movement it’s not had before and as long as the dog has regular check ups, there is no reason why it can’t enjoy a full range of movement that it’s never had before.