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Hip dysplasia in dogs

You might be wondering what signs to look out for to identify hip dysplasia in your pet, if you notice changes in your dog’s behaviour for example your dog appears wobbly and is reluctant to rise from a sitting or lying position, your dog might have hip dysplasia.  So what can cause hip dysplasia in dogs, there are a few things, like excessive growth rate, different types of exercise and improper nutrition which leads to weight gain.  These can magnify this genetic predisposition as hip dysplasia is hereditary and is especially common in larger dogs. 

Hip dysplasia is a deformity of the hip that occurs during growth where one or both hip joints develop abnormally while they are growing. It can be a painful condition for your pet. During growth both the ball and the socket in the pelvis must grow at equal rates. In hip dysplasia, this uniform growth during puppyhood does not occur.

Can hip dysplasia correct itself in dogs?  Unfortunately, not, it is not something your pet will be able to grow out of and there is no cure for hip dysplasia in dogs.  However, there are many treatments that have proven to be effective in providing pain relief in older dogs and preventing further damage in puppies. The most basic treatments are also the most important, which are, maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine. 

Hip dysplasia frequently affects large breeds of dogs, but it can affect small dogs too. Certain breeds of small and medium sized dogs are also prone to developing the disease.  It is more commonly found in rapidly growing dogs and especially larger dogs like the Great Dane, Saint Bernard, Labrador Retriever and German Shepherds. 

At what age do dogs get hip dysplasia? If you visit your local vet, they should be able to diagnose if your pup has hip dysplasia between 6 and 12 months of age

Is walking your dog a good exercise for hip dysplasia?  Consult your vet first but movement of the hip is recommended because the motion can help lubricate the joint.  Hip dysplasia is not arthritis, however arthritis will develop in every dog born with hip dysplasia. 

How long can a dog live with hip dysplasia?  Once your dog has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia they can still live a comfortable life for many years.  If your dog is older than 7 years, they may need additional support which could entail surgery and medical management.  It is important to ensure joint health and promote muscle mobility. 

Hip dysplasia dog treatment depends on many factors but the most important is the severity of the clinical problem and it can be treated satisfactorily without the need for surgery. Monitoring your dog’s weight or even speaking to your vet and placing them on a diet to reduce weight can take the stress off the hips.  Restrict the amount of exercise especially on hard surfaces and, if possible, consider physical therapy.  Hip and Joint supplements containing Chondroitin, combined with Glucosamine, can help to give extra joint protection and is also an important building block for cartilage, as well as supporting joint structure.  It helps to maintain synovial fluid viscosity to aid joint support

Hip dysplasia in dogs and cold weather - just as in humans - joint pain is perceived to increase when the weather temperature drops, however, there is no conclusive scientific evidence of increased joint pain with cold weather.

However, there is no harm in adding a warm water bottle to your dog’s bedding to warm it up for them as long as they don’t want to chew it!   We all want to protect our dogs from cold weather, particularly those suffering from hip dysplasia, so it is worth considering everything that would make them more comfortable for your dog during the cold months.

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