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Understanding Canine Hip Dysplasia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment Options

Canine hip dysplasia is a common orthopedic condition that primarily affects large and giant breed dogs, such as German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Saint Bernards. It occurs when the hip joint develops abnormally, causing the ball and socket to fit poorly, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. At The Pet Rehab App, we're here to help you recognize the symptoms of dog hip dysplasia and explore treatment and management options to improve your furry friend's quality of life.

What Is The Cause Of Canine Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia in dogs is primarily a hereditary condition, with genetics playing a significant role in its development. However, other factors can contribute to the severity of the condition, such as:

  • Rapid growth and weight gain

  • Improper nutrition, especially during puppyhood

  • Excessive exercise or overexertion at a young age

  • Environmental factors, like slippery floors or lack of proper exercise

Dog in Nature
Dog with a toy

What are the signs/symptoms my dog has Canine Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia can manifest itself in dogs as young as four months old. Others acquire it alongside osteoarthritis as they get older. There are a few indications that owners should be aware of in both circumstances. The severity of the condition, the level of inflammation, the degree of looseness in the joint, and the length of time the dog has had hip dysplasia can all affect the symptoms.

  • Decreased activity and reluctance to play, run, or climb stairs

  • Difficulty standing up or "bunny hopping" gait

  • Hind leg weakness and limping

  • Pain in the hip area, especially after exercise

  • Stiffness or decreased range of motion in the hind legs

  • Grating sound during joint movement

  • Loss of thigh muscle mass

  • Enlarged shoulder muscles due to compensating for hind-end weakness

Treating a dog with Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia in dogs can be treated in a variety of ways, ranging from lifestyle changes to surgery. Your veterinarian may propose a nonsurgical method if your dog's hip dysplasia is not severe, or if your dog is not a surgical candidate for medical or economical reasons.

Conservative Management for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia
Nutritional management and weight control, exercise moderation, physical rehabilitation, Hydrotherapy Rehab  and pain management are all options for dogs with mild or intermittent clinical symptoms.

Surgical Treatment for Canine Hip Dysplasia 

Biocompatible osteoconductive/shelf arthroplasty, femoral head and neck excision arthroplasty, with or without muscle sling interposition, and complete hip replacement are among the surgical options for clinically debilitating hip dysplasia. Despite the lack of direct study comparing the two salvage methods, studies imply that complete hip replacement is more beneficial in bringing large dogs to full functional weight bearing.

Giving a Hand

Treatment Options for Dogs with Hip Dysplasia 

Treatment for canine hip dysplasia depends on the severity of the condition, your dog's age, and overall health. Non-surgical management is often recommended for mild cases or when surgery is not a viable option. This may include:

  • Weight management and controlled exercise

  • Physical therapy and targeted exercises to maintain muscle mass and joint mobility

  • Pain relief medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

  • Joint supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin

  • Modalities like cold laser therapy and therapeutic ultrasound

Managing Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: Tips for Pet Owners

As a pet owner, you play a crucial role in managing your dog's hip dysplasia and improving their comfort. Here are some tips:

  • Maintain a healthy weight to reduce stress on the joints

  • Provide a balanced diet and consider joint supplements

  • Encourage low-impact exercises like swimming or short, controlled walks

  • Use orthopedic dog beds and provide soft bedding for comfort

  • Install ramps or stairs to help your dog navigate heights

  • Work with your veterinarian to create a personalized management plan

Training a Puppy

June Canine Hip Dysplasia Awareness  Month 

What Our Clients Say

Sarah jackson

I can not even put a price on the help the girls at fit4dogs have given us, helping floss with the weekly tread mill sessions but also helping me with weekly advice on nutrition, exercise and most importantly confidence.

We finished our course today and felt quite emotional as they really have given Floss her life back. She is like a different dog!

We will still be coming monthly so it’s not goodbye. Thank you

Chelsey Atkinson

Absolutely amazing team! The help and support throughout Roxie’s recovery has been brilliant! The passion for the dogs they see and treat is so clear to see!

Roxie loves her hydrotherapy sessions and I do not believe she would have recovered as well without you guys.

 She is a much happier and healthier dog and is able to enjoy life to the full thanks to the work of Fit4dogs!

Terri Thompson

We would definitely recommend Fit4dogsuk. We’ve recently started taking our Doberman Bear after he had surgery to repair his cruciate ligament and help his hip dysplasia. He’s hated water but with lots of encouragement and praise he’s overcome this and is getting much better. The team are really nice and friendly. You can see they are very passionate about their job. X

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