Hip dysplasia is a relative common hereditary disease that affects the hip joints in dogs. This arthritic disease is more prevalent in particular breeds like rottweilers, German shepherds, and golden retrievers. Characterized by mild to severe pain and discomfort, hip dysplasia can have a significant impact on the quality of life of your dog. While the early stages of this condition are often manageable by dogs, as the disease progresses the pain associated with the dog hip dysplasia can be so severe that it is debilitating.
Logic would have it that hip dysplasia, being a kind of arthritis, is only seen in older dogs but symptoms of this condition can even appear in dogs less than a year old. Still, the disease is progressive and serious symptoms are usually seen in middle-aged and older dogs. Most pet owners will notice changes in their dog’s behavior due to the pain associated with hip dysplasia. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Pain when moving after a period of rest
- Abnormal gate
- Abnormal stance
- Avoidance of stairs/climbing
If you’re concerned that your dog might be suffering from hip dysplasia, you’ll want to make an appointment with your veterinarian. Diagnosis usually involves some x-rays and simple observance of your dog’s behavior.
Currently, there are a range of hip dysplasia treatments which focus on ameliorating pain or even reconstructing the joint. Analgesic drugs, like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) control the pain but surgical procedures like total hip replacement are becoming more common. Moreover, veterinarians today are impressed by the benefits of nutritional supplements that contain glucosamine which is a vital component of joint healing. Not only can glucosamine supplements promote joint healing but they also seem to prevent damage while reducing the severity of the arthritic symptoms. Finally, ensure that your dog leads a healthy lifestyle including appropriate diet and exercise as joints in overweight dogs tend to degenerate more quickly.