Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a common orthopedic disorder among dogs, particularly larger breeds. It’s caused when their bones in their hip joints don’t fit together properly, causing abnormal development and pain. Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe hind leg lameness. In some cases, hip dysplasia can even cause arthritis and permanent disability.
Early diagnosis and treatment are key in helping manage and reduce the pain associated with hip dysplasia. Treatment can include weight management, exercise, physical therapy, medications, and surgery.
It’s essential to stay in contact with your veterinarian and follow their advice closely. With preparation and care, hip dysplasia can be effectively managed so that your dog can live a happy, healthy life.
Symptoms of Canine Hip Dysplasia
In most cases, hip dysplasia is a progressive disease that will worsen over time. Symptoms usually start out mild and can range from subtle signs to more severe lameness in one or both of their hind legs. Some of the common symptoms include:
- Pain in their hips or hind legs when walking, running, or jumping
- Difficulty going up and down stairs or getting up from lying down
- Reluctance to exercise, run or play
- Visible signs of lameness and an altered gait
- Stiffness or difficulty when turning or walking in circles
If your dog has any of these signs, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Diagnosing Canine Hip Dysplasia
Diagnosing hip dysplasia is typically made through a physical exam and X-ray. During the physical exam, your veterinarian will assess your dog’s gait and range of motion. The X-ray will allow them to evaluate their hip joint to determine if there is any evidence of hip dysplasia. In some cases, additional testing could be ordered such as a CT scan or arthrogram.
Stages of Canine Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is a progressive disorder that can worsen over time. It’s important to understand the stages of hip dysplasia in order to effectively manage the condition. There are four stages of hip dysplasia: mild, moderate, severe and end-stage.
This stage is characterized by subtle signs such as occasional lameness or stiffness when turning or walking in circles.
At this stage, lameness becomes more pronounced and difficult to manage with medication or physical therapy alone. Surgery could be necessary to treat the condition.
This stage is associated with significant lameness, difficulty getting up from lying down, and an inability to walk without assistance. Surgery might be needed for pain relief.
This is the most advanced stage of hip dysplasia and can be very painful. Surgery will usually be necessary to help relieve pain and improve mobility.
Treating Canine Hip Dysplasia
Treating hip dysplasia will depend on the severity of their condition. In mild cases, your veterinarian can recommend weight management, exercise, and physical therapy to help reduce pain and maintain mobility. Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or glucosamine can also be prescribed to manage pain and inflammation.
In more severe cases, surgery will be necessary to realign or reconstruct their hip joint. Surgery is typically recommended when your dog is young, because it can help reduce pain and improve mobility, as well as fix the problem.
Preventing Canine Hip Dysplasia
The best way to prevent hip dysplasia is by keeping your pet at a healthy weight and giving them regular exercise, because obesity can make their hip dysplasia symptoms worse. It’s essential to stay in contact with your veterinarian and follow their advice closely. With preparation and care, hip dysplasia can be effectively managed so that your dog can live a happy, healthy life.