Have you noticed that your dog's gait has changed from a walk to more a waddle? Is he having trouble going up or down stairs? Does he struggle to sit down or stand up? If so, there's a good chance he could have hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is a crippling disease that causes a deterioration and weakening of a dog's hips. It occurs in dogs who have an abnormal development of the hip joint in that the head of the femur doesn't fit properly into the hip socket.
The effects of hip dysplasia are varied - it can be mild or it can cause severe arthritis. Genetics play a big part in determining whether or not your dog will develop hip dysplasia. Breeds like German Shephards, Rottweilers, and Golden and Labrador Retrievers are genetically predisposed to the disease. Male dogs are also more prone to hip dysplasia than female dogs.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia
Back legs appear to be lame
Exaggerated swaying or staggering
Simple movements like standing up or sitting down are difficult
Running and jumping activities cause discomfort
Contact your veterinarian if you notice that your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms:
Treating Hip Dysplasia
Your vet will do a series of x-rays to confirm that the hip joint is dysplastic. Once hip dysplasia is confirmed, there are a number of treatments available that can ease your dog's discomfort and restore mobility.
To help alleviate pain and inflammation around the hip joint, your vet may recommend weight loss and light exercise. If the condition is more severe, femoral head and neck ostectomy or total hip replacement surgery may be required.