Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: Understanding the Signs, Causes, and Treatments
Introduction to Canine Hip Dysplasia
Dog owners are generally familiar with hip dysplasia. The condition afflicts the hip joint, with larger dogs at greater risk of developing it. The symptoms vary from breed to breed, but the disease can cause intense pain. Moreover, CHD is a disease that that develops and continues over time. As a pet parent, you will find the experience extremely discomforting. The last thing you want is for your pet pooch to suffer any kind of pain and discomfort. Some breeds are more susceptible to canine hip dysplasia (CHD). Though larger dogs are at greater risk, hip dysplasia in small dogs is not uncommon.
CHD is common in certain breeds, including Great Danes, German Shepherds, and St. Bernard’s. Regardless of your dog’s breed, you have to seek ways to prevent the condition. In addition, you have to be aware of the signs and symptoms your dog might display if he or she is suffering from hip dysplasia. Noting the symptoms allows you to take the necessary steps to manage the condition. Do note that the disease will worsen over time, causing even more pain to your dog. Learning about the signs, causes, and treatments can help you prevent and/or manage CHD.
What Dysplasia Means
Talking about CHD, the common assumption is that the condition is specific to older dogs. Even in the case of humans, joint conditions are far more common in old age. However, the first signs of hip dysplasia in dogs can show up at an early age. You have to watch out for any symptoms that your puppy shows, which are similar to those caused by CHD. That said, older dogs are more vulnerable to developing the condition. Even usual wear and tear can cause deterioration of the joint. Moreover, inflammation can lead to joint conditions.Dysplasia is an orthopedic condition. CHD primarily affects the hip joint, which is why it is important that dog owners have some idea of the canine anatomy. Like any other joint, the hip joint has a ball and socket. When the joint is working perfectly, the ball and socket function properly. There is no friction when your dog moves around. However, if your dog develops hip dysplasia, the joint remains underdeveloped, leading to the ball and socket rubbing up against each other. This not only creates friction but causes the joint to deteriorate.
To sum it up, hip dysplasia hampers the development of your dog’s hip joint.
The Causes of Hip Dysplasia
The Common Risk Factors
There are a wide variety of factors that can cause CHD. According to experts, the most common cause of CHD is genetics. As mentioned above, certain breeds are more likely to develop the condition. Hence, genetics pay a major role in development of this condition. However, don’t assume that just because you own a dog from a breed that isn’t prone to CHD, your dog is safe.
Besides genetics, there are a number of other reasons why your dog might develop hip dysplasia:
- Lack of proper nutrition
- Excessive or insufficient exercise
- Environmental factors
- Obesity and weight problems
Do note that if your dog’s weight exceeds the normal range, considering his/her age, size and breed, the risk of hip dysplasia is greater. Moreover, the disease will progress rapidly if your dog weighs more than he/she should. The bottom-line is that you should be clear about the fact that dogs of all ages and breeds can suffer from this condition. Even dogs from a small breed can develop CHD over time. You have to learn about the signs and symptoms that show your dog is in pain and discomfort. Once you notice this, make sure you take your dog to the vet without delay.
The Signs and Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia
Spotting hip dysplasia in dogs can be a challenge sometimes. Not every dog will display the same or similar symptoms. Hence, you really have to look for signs that your dog is facing discomfort in the hip area. The symptoms can vary based on the nature of the condition. For instance, the symptoms of chronic hip dysplasia are different to the signs your dog might show when suffering from acute CHD. The symptoms can also vary based on the age at which your dog’s condition is diagnosed, as well as how long your dog has been suffering from this condition.
Acute and Chronic Hip Dysplasia
Younger dogs are more likely to develop acute hip dysplasia. The symptoms associated with this condition including severe pain in the hip. Moreover, your dog might also have trouble moving around, i.e. lameness. The main concern is that even if the pain is moderate, your dog will experience significant discomfort. The symptoms of acute CHD can span several months, depending on the extent of the condition. Keep in mind that if you don’t get the necessary treatment for your dog, the acute condition can turn chronic within a matter of months.
That said, there is no rule of thumb regarding the length of time the condition takes to move from acute to chronic. In some cases, the process can take several years. The intensity of the pain can vary based on the stage of the condition, while also limits your dog’s mobility. Your dog might develop arthritis at this point, and that condition worsens with time as well. The condition affects each dog differently. Do note that there are cases in which a dog does not show any signs of suffering from the condition. Therefore, you have to be extra attentive when caring for your dog.
The most obvious symptoms that your dog might show are that he/she starts tilting towards one side when walking. The main reason for this is that their hip is unstable. Hence, you will notice your dog trying to alleviate the pressure from their hip. You have to be watchful for these signs. In fact, if you notice your dog trying to avoid placing pressure on the hip joint, take him/her to the vet without delay. Let’s look at some other symptoms that your dog might display:
A Noticeable Drop in Activity Levels
- Your dog will not have as much energy as before. The excruciating pain can make it difficult for your dog to move around, leading to a significant drop in activity levels.
- Limited Range of Motion
- As mentioned, your dog might start moving in a new position, trying to reduce the pressure on the hip joint. This posture can limit his/her range of motion.
- Difficulty in Getting Up
- Your dog might have a hard time getting up off the floor, especially when lying down.
- Change in Gait: Lifting the Hind Legs
- You might notice your dog lifting the hind legs, or even hopping like a bunny. The reason for this is to reduce the pain on the hip joint.
- Constant Pain or Stiffness in the Hip Area
- Your dog might flinch or wince if you touch their hip area, even if you don’t place enough pressure on the joint.
Why You Need to Pay Extra Attention
As a species, our canine friends don’t show discomfort or pain easily. It is only if the pain is severe that they actually react to it and display any signs or symptoms. Hence, you can assume that the condition they are suffering from has progressed to a certain stage. Otherwise, your pet pooch is unlikely to cause you any worry. The foremost sign of the condition is often lameness in the back legs. Your dog can cover for this condition by changing his/her gait or habits. You have to pay extra attention to your dog’s movement so that you can be aware in case something doesn’t seem right.
Early diagnosis is the key to ensuring pain relief for dogs with hip dysplasia. There are a range of treatments available for dogs suffering from this condition. You cannot only help your dog overcome the disease, but at the same time, reducing the pain. Therefore, it is crucial that you keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms of CHD.
1. Effective Diagnosis
Now that you have some idea of the signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia, you will be in a better position to identify the condition in your pet pooch. You should not wait to schedule an appointment with your vet so that you can ensure that your dog doesn’t have to suffer more than he/she has to. Don’t fall into the trap of waiting for your dog’s annual checkup. By then, the condition might progress to a point where your dog might be in constant pain. The key to effectively treating and managing the condition is early diagnosis.
For an effective diagnosis, you have to take your dog to the vet. It is likely that your vet will put your dog through a number of tests. The vet will check the condition of your dog’s hind legs, and also assess the range of motion. The focus of the testing is to look for signs of pain and excessive grinding in the hip joint. You might also have to take your dog for an X-ray before he or she makes the final diagnosis. The vet also checks the deterioration caused by the condition, so that he or she can customize a treatment plan for your dog.
You might also have to get your dog’s blood count and electrolytes checked, along with a complete blood chemical profile. Based on the results of these tests, your vet will be in the perfect position to make an accurate and effective diagnosis.
2. Treating Your Dog’s Hip Dysplasia
The treatment plan comes into the picture once your dog receives his diagnosis. The treatment varies from case to case. Your vet will consider the intensity of the pain, the progression of the dysplasia, and your dog’s age when coming up with the plan for treatment. Do note that in some cases, a few simple lifestyle changes can help you manage your dog’s symptoms. Surgery is advisable when the condition is severe. Therefore, it is important that you consult your vet regarding the extent of your dog’s condition. You might have to play a crucial role during the treatment process.
There are several treatments available for CHD other than surgery, including:
Altering your dog’s diet and increasing his/her exercise level can help him/her lose weight. Vets recommend that dogs suffering from hip dysplasia lose weight to relieve pressure on the hip joint. This is particularly true for dogs that are obese or overweight. Excess weight can cause the condition to worse quicker than it would otherwise, which increases the pain level your dog has to deal with.
Dogs with hip dysplasia can benefit immensely from physical therapy. Among the most effective types of therapy available for dogs is swimming. The great thing about swimming is that your dog’s hip joint doesn’t have to bear any extra pressure. Your dog will be able to move around freely in the water.
Inflammation can lead to the pain increasing. Your dog will suffer from discomfort, which can be heart-wrenching for you as a pet parent. Talk to your vet about giving your dog any medications that might help with countering inflammation.
Should You Try Supplements?
You can add a number of supplements to your dog’s diet to help manage hip dysplasia. Glucosamine is one of the best options in this regard. This supplement not only reduces the pain but also helps alleviate the stiffness in the joint. Do consult your vet about any other nutritional supplements you can give to your dog for CHD.
How CBD Can Help Improve Your Dog’s Joint Health
Cannabidiol, known popularly as CBD, is among the most popular natural herbs today, thanks to the wide range of health benefits it offers. The extent of its benefits is not limited to humans. Even your dog will benefit from taking CBD supplements, especially for managing CHD. You can simply add a few drops of CBD oil to your dog’s meals to reduce the intensity of the symptoms. The great thing about CBD is that it not just helps you manage your dog’s pain, but also prevent hip dysplasia.
Here are the different ways in which CBD can help dogs with hip dysplasia
1. Pain Management
CBD oil is effective for pain management. Regardless of whether the condition is acute or chronic, you can give your dog CBD oil for reducing the intensity. You can make the supplements palatable for your dog by giving him/her Relief CBD Dog Treats. These treats carry a nice peanut butter and turmeric flavor.
2. Inflammation Reduction
The pain your dog feels intensifies if there is inflammation. CBD is anti-inflammatory by nature, enabling your dog to overcome inflammation. Generally, the medication prescribed to dogs for reducing inflammation often lead to a number of side effects. Therefore, CBD is a viable form of treatment.
3. Joint Health
As mentioned above, supplementation can help improve your dog’s joint health. You can opt for the poultry-flavored CBD Dog Chews. These chews not only contain CBD but also glucosamine. In other words, these chews are perfect for not only enhancing your dog’s joint health but also reduce pain and inflammation.
Effective Ways to Prevent Hip Dysplasia
The fact that the main cause of hip dysplasia in dogs is genetics means that preventing the condition is virtually impossible in some cases. However, you can still take some steps to prevent the disease altogether or at least keep it from worsening once your dog develops it. Here are some tips you can follow:
1. Weight Loss
As mentioned, weight loss can be an effective non-surgical treatment for dogs suffering from hip dysplasia. If your dog is even slightly overweight, put him/her on a regimen so that your pet pooch can drop a few pounds.
Keep in mind that a lack of exercise as well as excessive exercise is both harmful for your dog. You have to find the right balance to ensure your dog can find some relief from hip dysplasia. Talking to your vet can help you discover how much exercise your dog needs.
Giving your dog supplements, regardless of whether you go for glucosamine or CBD, can help your dog deal with CHD. Don’t give your dog any supplements without consulting your vet. Also, be careful about the dosage when administering any supplements to your dog.
So, hopefully now you know everything you need to know about canine hip dysplasia. There is no doubt that CHD is among the most painful conditions your pet pooch can develop. Watching your dog suffer from the constant pain and discomfort can be difficult for you as a pet parent. Therefore, you should use the information provided above, especially about the signs and symptoms, to get your dog to the vet early. You can improve your dog’s quality of life, even if he/she is suffering from CHD, by using the treatments mentioned above and also helping him/her lose weight.