What is Hip Dysplasia:
To understand hip dysplasia we must have a basic knowledge of the hip joint. The hip joint forms the attachment of the hind leg to the body. It is composed of the ball and the socket. Hip dysplasia is the failure of the hip joints to develop normally, gradually failing and leading to loss of function of the hip joints and sometimes in its later stages, results in osteoarthritis.
Some breeds are more likely to have the genetic tendency for hip dysplasia than other breeds. Large and giant breeds are most commonly affected. Rarely, small breed dogs can also be affected, but are less likely to show clinical signs. It is primarily a disease of purebreds although it can happen in mixed breeds, particularly if it is a cross of two dogs that are prone to developing the disease. It can affect any gender of dogs.
Canine Hip Dysplasia can be identified by the symptoms which depend on the degree of joint looseness or laxity, the degree of joint inflammation, and the duration of the disease. Hip dysplasia may or may not be bilateral; affecting both the right and/or left hip.
Activity Oriented Symptoms:
1. Decreased activity
2. Difficulty rising, reluctance to run, jump, or climb stairs
4. Decreased range of motion in the hip joints, grating detected with joint movement
Visible Symptoms on Body:
1. Joint looseness or laxity in earlier stages resulting into joint degeneration and osteoarthritis at later stages
2. Intermittent or persistent hind-limb lameness, often worse after exercise
3. Back legs unnaturally close together or narrow stance in the hind limbs
4. As dog tries to avoid weight on its hips, leading to extra work for the shoulder muscles and subsequent enlargement of shoulder muscles due to more weight being exerted on front legs.
Hip dysplasia often begins while a dog is still young and physically immature. Early onset usually develops after four months of age. Influences on the development and progression of hip dysplasia are concurrent with both genetic and environmental factors:
1. Genetic receptiveness for hip looseness or laxity
2. Rapid weight gain and plumpness
3. Nutritional factors and deficiencies
4. Mass of Pelvic-muscle
The diagnosis of canine hip dysplasia is typically made by combining clinical signs of arthritis and pain, a complete physical exam, and radiographs (x-rays). The best person to diagnose the disease is your veterinarian.
Typical hip dysplasia is not curable with any classical methods but there exist a number of surgical and non-surgical options to help alleviate a dog's pain and improve its quality of life. Surgery is usually reserved for severe cases, as the consequences of hip surgery can include pain and other debilitating symptoms that already are associated with the disorder.
Conservative, non-surgical medical management are also possible on an outpatient basis for mild cases of hip dysplasia. It may include physical therapy, water exercises, dietary management and weight control. The treatment to adopt depends on the patient’s age, size and intended function, the severity of hip joint laxity, the existence and degree of arthritis and the financial and other considerations of the owner.
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