Can Dogs Live a Normal Life with Hip Dysplasia?

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Introduction

There are a number of different health conditions that can be prevalent in dogs, and one of the common problems is known as hip dysplasia. This is a condition that can affect any dog breed, although it is more common in some breeds over others. 

As a dog lover, it is natural for you to be concerned when you find out your dog has hip dysplasia, as this can be a debilitating condition. However, it is also important to remember that while there may have to be some changes made in your dog’s life in order to accommodate the condition, there is treatment available that will enable them to continue enjoying life. 

Signs and Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia

First off, as a responsible dog owner, it is important that you are familiar with the possible signs of hip dysplasia in your dog. This will make it far easier for you to get your pooch checked out by the vet and for a firm diagnosis to be made. Once the vet has confirmed the presence of hip dysplasia, you can ensure your dog gets the right treatment and that you get the necessary advice to make life as comfortable and enjoyable as possible for your dog despite their condition. As long as they get the right treatment and care, there is no reason why your dog shouldn’t continue to enjoy life.

One of the signs that you need to look out for is your dog struggling when walking, getting up, or lying down. You may notice that your pooch develops an unusual gait as a result of the condition. Also, if you touch your dog around the rump area, they may growl or show obvious signs of discomfort because of the pain that they may be experiencing. Obviously, another thing that will be affected is your dog’s activity levels, as they will not be able to play and run around as they may have before the onset of the condition. 

Your dog’s body language can be a valuable, telltale sign that there may be something wrong, especially when it comes to physical problems such as hip dysplasia. You may notice that your dog has developed a different walk, that they move far more slowly, and that they struggle when sitting down or getting back up. Your dog may also spend a lot of time alone, which is often because getting involved in activities can be painful. Your pooch may be experiencing pain and discomfort in the hip area so they may flinch or growl when touched in or around there. 

Body Language

If you think your pooch has hip dysplasia, be sure to look for:

  • Growling
  • Whining
  • Snapping
  • Tail tucking

Other Signs

Also be on the look out for:

  • Flinching when touched near rump
  • Loss of interest in physical activity
  • Pain when sitting back down
  • Pain when getting up
  • Unusual gait or walk

History and Research into Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Over the years, we have discovered a range of common ailments in dogs, with many affecting certain breeds and others able to affect all breeds. Hip dysplasia has come to be known as one of the most common skeletal conditions to affect canines. While it can affect all breeds, it has been discovered through research that it is more likely to be the larger and giant breeds that are affected. Research over the years also indicates that gender does not seem to affect the risk of hip dysplasia in dogs.

If a dog gets this condition early on in life, it tends to show up around four months of age. However, it is not just a disease that develops in puppies – it can also occur in senior dogs as a result of related problems such as osteoarthritis.

The condition is basically the result of the ball and socket joint in the hips not being properly developed, which in turn means that it can cause pain, discomfort, and movement difficulties for your pet. The condition can deteriorate over time and this can result in your dog losing proper function of its hips due to the debilitating nature of canine hip dysplasia.  

Science Relating to Canine Hip Dysplasia

Quite simply put, the science behind hip dysplasia in dogs relates to a malformation in the hip area where the ball and socket fail to connect to each other as they should. This can then lead to grinding joints that are at risk of further deteriorating because they are rubbing. 

The condition often develops in younger dogs that are still in puppyhood but it is not unknown for adult dogs to be affected by it. Also, hip dysplasia can affect smaller dogs but you are less likely to notice the symptoms in small dogs compared to large and giant breeds, due to the added weight stressing the joints.

Helping Your Dog with Hip Dysplasia

Being able to recognize the possible symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs is vital if you want to ensure your dog gets early and appropriate treatment. If the onset of the condition is early on in your pooch’s life, you may not notice the symptoms right away. Likewise, if you have a small dog breed you may not notice the symptoms as quickly as you otherwise would. Eventually, however, these symptoms will become far more obvious, so you need to make sure you keep your eye out and get your dog checked if you are concerned, particularly with a large or giant breed.

If you do notice that your dog is moving with greater difficulty and stiffness, has lost interest in activity and exercise, and shows signs of discomfort when you touch anywhere around the rump area, this is a sign that they may be experiencing pain due to hip dysplasia. However, this does not necessarily mean that your dog cannot live a relatively normal life providing they get the right treatment. 

Of course, another thing you may need to do is look at things such as your dog’s exercise and activity levels to ensure that there is not excessive pressure or strain put on the hip. A change in diet could also help, as it can reduce weight and strain as well as help to strengthen the area.

Once you take your dog to the vet, checks will be carried out on your dog’s hip area to confirm that it is hip dysplasia that is causing the problem and not some other issues. An x-ray and blood tests are amongst the procedures that may be performed to determine the onset of hip dysplasia. Treatment options can vary based on the age and size of your pet. Some may require surgery while others can be treated with life changes such as weight control and the right exercises including swimming. 

What to Do if Your Dog Shows Signs of Hip Dysplasia:

  • Take them in for a check with the vet.
  • Assess body language when your dog moves or is touched.
  • Check for signs of discomfort and pain.