Hip dysplasia is a painful condition for dogs that occurs when the head of the femur and the ball and socket joint of the hip are fitted too loosely together.
But never fear – there are plenty of options to ensure that it is treated and your dog can enjoy a long and happy life free of discomfort and pain. First, let’s try to understand this condition a little more! There are many reasons for hip dysplasia. Certain breeds have a higher chance of developing this condition, but no dog is born with it. 19.7% of purebred and 17.9% of cross-bred dogs show signs of this condition, and some breeds such as labradors may have up to a 50% chance of developing it over time, especially the bulkier ones!
With that being said, smaller breeds may also experience hip dysplasia. Other factors such as growth rate, muscle mass, hormones, nutrition, and activity level also influence the prevalence of the condition. Breeders have been attempting to slowly reduce the number of dogs with “bad” hips, but it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risks. As such, you should be on the lookout for signs of its development.
Some early symptoms are reduced playfulness, difficulty climbing stairs, swinging hips or scuffing back toes while walking, and discomfort when sitting, standing up, or being touched around the rump. Your dog should be checked for signs of hip dysplasia while under general anesthesia for desexing, especially for larger breeds. Sometimes, even if your dog shows no signs of hip dysplasia, a vet may want to take radiographs to be certain due to the fact that it is difficult to notice its development through physical examination alone.
Dogs all respond to hip dysplasia differently. Some dogs might experience a lot of pain despite having “bad” hips that don’t appear severe, and some dogs feel less pain despite hips that appear in very bad shape. Weight, anatomy, activity levels, and pain threshold all play a part in this, so if your dog has this condition, regular veterinary visits will help determine effective treatments. Stay tuned for more details on treatment options, but till then, don’t forget to share away!
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