Understanding Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

hipdysplasiaLabCanine hip dysplasia is a common joint problem that affects millions of dogs worldwide. It results from abnormal hip development when your pets were puppies, therefore causing their hip joints to degenerate as they grow older.

If left untreated, hip dysplasia can lead to extreme pain and serious mobility issues. However, when diagnosed early, dogs diagnosed with the disease are not in any danger of living their lives to the fullest. They can still lead active lives if the disease is diagnosed early enough and proper treatment is given and maintained.

Hip dysplasia is caused by numerous genetic and environmental factors. Some dogs can be diagnosed with early onset hip dysplasia while others may develop the disease at an older age due to arthritic conditions. Additionally, weight gain and obesity are also attributed to be common causes of hip dysplasia.

If you want to be able to pinpoint whether your dog has hip dysplasia, you have to be cautious of the following telltale signs:

  • Reduced Movement

While it is normal for dogs to slow down as they get older, its activity level should not slow down, unless it falls ill or overweight.

  • Difficulty in Getting Up and Resting Down

Dysplastic dogs that are in pain are known for their hesitation in lying down and getting up. This is because the pain worsens when they are in resting position.

  • Excessive Drooling

Most often than not, dogs that are physically inactive are prone to licking themselves excessively to the point of causing rashes or hair loss on their flank, hips and legs.

  • Abnormal Gait

If a dog experiences pain on his hips, it is most likely to take shortened steps. This leads to a swiveling hip motion that may cause it to walk in a hopping or limping fashion. While surgery and medical treatment are highly recommended to treat hip dysplasia, there are many changes you can make in the home and in the dog’s everyday habits that can make a big difference towards their overall feeling and disposition. These include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Avoid Hard Floors

Dysplastic dogs should not be sleeping on cold and hard floors. They need to be comfortable in their resting positions; therefore investing in a comfortable pad or dog bed will make a big difference. Orthopedic foam is highly recommended by vets.

  1. Shift to Low Impact Exercise

Dogs need their physical activity, so it is highly recommended that you plan low impact activities that involve muscle building for your dogs. Hydrotherapy works very well for dysplastic dogs, but walking and jogging would do just fine. Make sure to avoid jumping or playing Frisbee, as this puts additional pressure on their joints. Also, when walking, make sure to stay on grassy areas to cushion your dog’s steps.

  1. Effective Weight Control

The heavier the dog, the more painful their joints will be if they have hip dysplasia. You should consult your veterinarian for a special diet that would minimize any weight gain as much as possible.

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