Since hip dysplasia is one of the most common orthopedic pet diseases out there, it only makes sense that we here at IndulgeYourPet take a moment and discuss exactly what it is and what it would be like to own a pet that has been diagnosed with this condition.
Because let’s face it…
A lot of times, folks with through words out there without really knowing the true meaning of them or maybe they may “sort” of know what something this but not be fully aware of all the little details.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Hip Dysplasia defined
In layman’s terms hip dysplasia is a term used to define a condition where the hip and the ball and joint socket it fits in to are badly matched. And the main problem with it is that this is a degenerative joint disease medical issue which means that over time, if left untreated, it will continue to get worse and worse.
Worse and worse, we mean more painful. This is why it’s so important to try and diagnose your pup’s condition as soon as possible so that both you and your vet can create a treatment plan that will ensure the best results for your furry buddy.
Now in more…
Technical terms, hip dysplasia is a term used to describe the Femoral head of the bone (that’s the ball part of the ball and socket joint) misaligns with the Acetabulum of the hip (the socket part of the ball and socket joint – the ‘joint capsule’).
May cause the bones grind against each other causing significant pain as well as possible causing additional complications involving your pet’s ligaments and muscles as well.
This condition can cause lameness in the worst-case scenario. It is treatable through anti-inflammatory medication – but only to a point. Which is unfortunate because this isn’t necessarily a condition that will only affect older dogs.
This condition can occur in puppy’s from as young as four months old, but sometimes you won’t see any symptoms at all until the dog hits later life, when painful osteoarthritis starts to manifest itself, usually through limping.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs
As a general rule of thumb, diagnosing hip dysplasia can be a bit “tricky”. This is because hip dysplasia in dogs can manifest when they are puppies or signs might only come to light in later life. It could also cause your dog to start limping or he or she may just be fine and not really show any signs of discomfort (at first).
This is because…
The actual joint will try to grow more bone to stop the joint from moving – so afflicted dogs don’t always carry a limp. In cases where this is successful, you may not notice that your dog is struggling. In other cases, your dogs pain will be obvious.
This is why…
You’ll want to watch out for “signs” that your dog is experiencing pain when he gets up or lies down. Be on the lookout for any reluctance to run, jump or play – especially in younger dogs.
The truth is…
That Hip Dysplasia might never be apparent until your dog is in his later years when he is suddenly plagued with arthritis. An X-ray will tell you for certain.
Diagnosing hip dysplasia in dogs
If you are based in the US, your Vet will likely perform an X-ray and then send that X-ray to the Orthopedic Foundation who will, in turn, confirm or disprove your individual case. The OFA have the best diagnostic methods available.
Breeds in the High-Risk Category
- The Bulldog
- The Newfoundland
- The Neapolitan Mastiff
- The Saint Bernard
Breeds in the Medium Risk Category
- The Bernese Mountain Dog
- The Bloodhound
- The Bouvier des Flandres
- The Brittany Spaniel
- The Bull Mastiff
- The Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- The Chow Chow
- The English Springer Spaniel
- The German Shepherd
- The Giant Schnauzer
- The Golden Retriever
- The Gordon Setter
- The Great Dane
- The Kuvasz
- The Labrador Retriever
- The Mastiff
- The Norwegian Elkhound
- The Old English Sheepdog
- The Portuguese Water Dog
- The Rottweiler
- The Samoyed
Other Breeds Known to be at Risk
- The Airedale Terrier
- The Alaskan Malamute
- The Bearded Collie
- The Border Collie
- The German Wire-Haired Pointer
- The Great Pyrenees
- …And the Pointer
So, after that exhaustive list, you can see that hip dysplasia is a common problem, although large breeds of canine seem to be the worst affected.
Possibly because this is such a common condition, there are several treatment options for you to choose from. Unfortunately, most are surgical and thus likely to run your vet bills through the roof.
Non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs…
Can be used to keep the swelling to a minimum and depending on your dog’s age and ability to stomach this medication this treatment is probably your least invasive option.
In milder cases…
regular anti-inflammatory medication can be used. This will manage your pet’s pain levels at least in the short term.
However, in more severe cases…
A triple Pelvic Osteotomy is a more severe option better for puppies that have been diagnosed before the symptoms present. Basically, the pelvis is realigned manually via surgery. This operation will give your puppy a fairly normal life.
A Femoral Head Osteotomy…
Is another radical option better suited to dogs whose symptoms are not too severe.
In older dogs a combination of medication, exercise and weight management may be enough to stem off the worst of the symptoms. In the worst of cases, a total Hip Replacement is the only viable option.
As you can see, depending the on the age of your pet and the severity of the dysplasia, your vet may recommend a wide variety of different treatments to try to ensure that your pet enjoys the “best” quality of life that is out there. This is why, it’s so important to have a qualify veterinarian to check out your pet as soon as you notice that there is something “wrong” with him or her.
While we here at IndulgeYourPet may know a lot about animals, were certainly not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals which is why we would encourage you to follow our rule which is:
“When in doubt, have a vet check it out!”
Not only will you be able to ensure the least amount of pain and suffering for you little buddy, you might also be able to save yourself a ton of money by preventing a minor health issue from becoming a MAJOR health issue.
Which reminds us…
Once again encourage any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.
Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?
No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?
For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.