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“My dog has hip dysplasia; what should I do?”
If your dog has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, talk to your veterinarian about the different treatment options that are available.
• If your young dog qualifies for a TPO, early surgical intervention can restore joint function and reduce degenerative damage to the joint.
• For more advanced cases, an FHO or surgery for an artificial hip may be needed.
• Talk to your veterinarian about which painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications are right for your pet.
• Ask about physical therapy, cold laser therapy, and acupuncture.
• Low-impact exercises, like swimming, will help your pet stay active without stressing the hip joint.
Canine hip dysplasia is the abnormal formation of the hip joint and one of the leading causes of rear leg lameness in dogs. Hip dysplasia is most prevalent in larger breed dogs, especially German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Saint Bernards and Rottweilers. On the other hand, hip dysplasia is uncommon in the Doberman, Great Dane, and Greyhound. The condition can occur in small and medium sized dogs as well, for instance, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Pug, and the Sussex and Clumber Spaniel. This condition affects male and female dogs equally. With hip dysplasia being a common condition in dogs, it is important that dog owners understand the symptoms, causes and treatment options.
Hip dysplasia is caused primarily by genetics, although other factors also play a role. Studies have shown that feeding a puppy too much of a high-calorie diet can cause the puppy to grow too quickly, which then increases the risk for hip problems.
The earliest symptoms can occur between four months and one year, although the signs may not be apparent until the dog is middle-aged or older. These symptoms include pain when walking, a swaying gait or limp, “bunny hopping” when running, and, most commonly, difficulty getting up due to pain in the hindquarters. Hip dysplasia is not an “all or nothing” condition, but occurs on a spectrum determined by the amount of hip dysfunction.
In a normal hip joint, the head of the femur (thigh bone) fits snugly into the socket. Dogs with mild dysplasia have a mild separation between the ball and hip socket. Dogs with moderate dysplasia will have more separation, which causes wear and tear leading to degenerative arthritis. Dogs classified as severely dysplastic have a full separation of the femur from the hip socket which leads to severe arthritis.
Diagnosing hip dysplasia requires x-rays of the hips; this almost always requires sedation or anesthesia for proper positioning. This can be done by your veterinarian. There are three methods of getting the hip x-rays: OFA, Penn-Hip, and DLS. These are just different methods of positioning and measuring. With OFA and Penn-Hip you can also send the hip films to a radiologist for an official evaluation and certification. People who want to breed their dog often do this; if you breed two dogs with good hips you are more likely to get puppies with good hips. OFA will evaluate your dog at any age, but the dog needs to be at least 24 months of age to be certified. DLS is a new system recently developed by Cornell University.
Treatment for hip dysplasia depends on the severity of the disease, the age of the dog, and what expense the owner is willing to incur. Some young dogs may be helped by a surgery called a triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO). Especially in small to medium dogs, another effective surgical option is an FHO (femoral head ostectomy) where the head of the femur is removed. On the other hand, the dog with a severely arthritic hip may be helped only by surgery to implant an artificial hip. Most cases will need pain meds, anti-inflammatory drugs, and glucosamine. Other treatment modalities are laser therapy, physical therapy, water treadmill, and acupuncture.
Baker Institute for Animal Health, Cornell University
We have been clients of Los Robles Animal Hospital since 1986 and have always received excellent service and pet care.
Best vet clinic in town!!
We love Los Robles!
There are no words to truly express how wonderful Los Robles is. The staff there has taken such good care of our dog over the years, and there is no one I trust more when it comes to her health and well being. Without their genuine care for her, she would not be the relatively healthy dog she is today. It is this attention to detail and genuine care for our pets well being that makes them like family to us. We are forever grateful for the people at Los Robles and all the things they have done for us and continue to do.
LRAH always exceeds my expectations. I LOVE this place - you have a customer for life
We very much appreciate the kind, professional and respectful care our cat receives at LRAH! The clinic always looks wonderful and the staff are great. Our pet feels very at ease and well cared for by Dr. Donofro during her visits! :-)
Its hard to comment on perfection. It has always been a pleasure working with the Los Robles Team no matter what the situation and the landscaping and facility look great
I am very happy I found your practice!
Thank you for the high level of care you provide our little family member.