How Can You Tell if Your Dog Has Hip Dysplasia? By Dr. Jan Bellows
One of the most common health problems that affect dog is known as “Hip Dysplasia.” Found in dozens of different breeds with different levels of commonality, hip dysplasia can cause your dogs a great deal of pain, due to poor positioning of the hips that is exacerbated over the course of your dog’s life. It is not uncommon for hip dysplasia to lead to such issues as paralysis, extreme discomfort, and immobility.
Finding Out if Your Dog Has Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia may be based on bone formation, but it gets worse over time due to various muscles around your dog’s body being too weak to keep the hip in place, causing it to be pushed into various other parts of the body. Over time, more muscle and tissue problems occur, and the hip dysplasia gets worse and worse.
It becomes very important, then, to catch hip dysplasia as early as possible. Though there is no surefire treatment, there are various ways that the vet can help reduce the effects of hip dysplasia in order to ensure that your dog is able to continue moving as usual, and reduce the long term effects of this painful health concern.
To catch hip dysplasia it is important you know the signs. Some of these signs include:
- Uncomfortable Rest – Dogs usually rest comfortably, with their hips turned in order to easily keep their legs to the side. A dog with hip dysplasia may not be comfortable relaxing in this manner.
- Reduced Activity Level – Dogs that do not want to participate in exercise or other fun doggy activities (or those that do but do not appear to be enjoying it) may have hip dysplasia that are making these activities too painful or difficult for them.
- Standing/Jumping Problems – The most hip pressure is going to come from the back legs. If your dog is having any problems standing when forced on their hind legs (such as sounds that indicate extreme pain) or it chooses not to jump or go up or down stairs, hip dysplasia is a possibility.
One final way that can be tricky is if you see your dog running in an odd formation that looks more hop like than it does a healthy gait. Dogs may run in odd ways anyway, but if you see your dog appearing to hop and – when compared to others of the same breed – this hopping appears considerably different, then you may want to get your dog checked for hip dysplasia.
Hip Dysplasia is Treatable – So Catch it Fast
Modern medicine has continued to create new and effective ways to treat hip dysplasia, including various fake joints and better formations through surgery. It is also now known that hip dysplasia, in general, is fairly preventable by ensuring that your dog is fit (so that it does not have extra weight pushing on its hindquarters) and giving your dog foods that are effective for bone and joint health. The surgery to fix hip dysplasia can be expensive and painful, but prevention is free, easy, and may considerably reduce the risk of your dog experiencing hip dysplasia pain.
Hip Dysplasia affects millions of dogs across the nation, and is one of the primary genetic diseases found in most dog breeds. Though it may not be life threatening, it may still threaten your dog’s way of life, which is why prevention should be your first priority. Give your dog lots of exercise, watch for warning signs, and be sure you let your vet know if you notice anything that worries you.