Hip dysplasia is one of many orthopedic conditions that can be affecting dogs. Hip dysplasia can easily be managed in puppies if it is caught early. Even dogs suffering from arthritis due to hip dysplasia may enjoy a better quality of life through medical management or surgical intervention.
What is hip dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia refers to malformations of the hip joint that occur during puppy’s growth. The hip joint is made up of two parts, the head of the bone (ball) or the acetabulum(socket). The hip joint is also known as a socket and ball joint.
The head of the femur must grow at the same rate as the acetabulum. This ensures that the ball fits snugly within the socket. Hip dysplasia is characterized by the growth of the head of the hip femur at different rates and the acetabulum at a slower rate, causing laxity in the joint.
For an example of how this looks, make a fist using your left hand. This is the head of your femur. Now, place your right hand over your fist. This is the acetabulum. Rotate your fist in your cupped hand to see how the ball of your hip moves naturally within your socket.
The acetabulum is not snugly fitting around the ball and femur of a dog or puppy with hip dysplasia. Now, relax your right hand and let your fingers rest so that they don’t pinch your fist. Rotate your right hand and move your fist inside your right hand. Your fist will have a lot more room to move; this is similar to hip dysplasia’s joint laxity.
The cartilage that surrounds the ball can collide with the socket’s cartilage in unnatural ways when it moves around in the socket. Your dog’s body will eventually create scar tissue around the edges of the cartilage in order to stabilize the hip joint. The scar tissue is not smooth as cartilage, it is rough and uneven.
An arthritic hip joint is one that has scar tissue covering it. An arthritic hip joint can make walking difficult. You may notice lameness in your dog, whether it is chronic or periodic. A dog who has low levels of chronic pain might not be affected by lameness. They may have a shorter stride in their hind legs or atrophied hip muscles due to their inability to fully extend their hips.
What causes hip dysplasia
Hip dysplasia can be a hereditary condition. It is affected by many environmental factors that occur during the puppy’s growing period. These environmental factors include diet, exercise, growth rate, and nutrition. Hip dysplasia can affect any breed of dog, but it is more common in large breed dogs like Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers.
Large breed puppies (anyone who weighs more than 50 lbs as an adult) need to be fed high-quality, large-breed puppy food. Large breed puppies need to be fed a puppy food with a higher level of calcium and protein. This will ensure that their bones develop properly.
No matter what size or breed, puppies should be kept thin as they grow. Being overweight places additional strain on the hip joints, and encourages joint laxity. It is important to give your puppy at least two to three meals per day. Follow your veterinarian’s advice on the amount to be fed at each meal.
Dogs who are unable to do strenuous exercise, such as going on long runs or long hikes, may develop excessive muscles. This can lead to hip laxity by altering the mechanical forces that affect the joint as it develops.
What are the signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia
Hip dysplasia can cause puppies to walk with a bunny hop gait. Many puppies with hip dysplasia do not show any signs of lameness, gait abnormalities, or other obvious signs.
Dogs with hip dysplasia may experience lameness as they age, may have difficulty climbing stairs and may slow down when they are able to get up from a laying or sitting position. Hip dysplasia is not the only cause of arthritic hip joint pain. Osteoarthritis can also occur in other joints than the hips, causing the symptoms mentioned. Ask your veterinarian to assess your dog’s condition and help you develop a treatment plan.
How can hip dysplasia be diagnosed?
Radiographs of the hips are the best way to diagnose hip dysplasia. These radiographs will be completed with moderate to severe sedation, or even short periods of anesthesia.
With pups from the most common breeds of hip dysplasia, owners should be conservative. In a vulnerable breed, jumping should be limited. Jogging daily with a puppy under one year old is not recommended. Photo by Anita Kot/Getty Images
Two radiographic methods can be used to diagnose hip dysplasia. The first involves taking a single radiograph while your dog lies on his back, with his hind legs extended. This is known as an extended ventrodorsal view (or pelvis) This radiograph can either be read by a board-certified veterinarian radiologist, or sent to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals for certification and analysis.
The PennHIP method, which stands for University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program, is the second. Three views are required for the PennHIP method to be effective. The extended ventrodorsal view, which is discussed above, is used to determine if there are any arthritic changes in the hip joints.
The second view shows how your dog’s hip joints would look if he were standing, but not weight bearing. The third view shows how your dog’s hip joints might look if he was standing with his hind legs supported by weight. The special positioning device used for his hind legs allows this to be achieved.
Extended ventrodorsal views of the pelvis are the most commonly used radiographic method to diagnose hip dysplasia. This can be done by any veterinarian. It does not require special equipment or additional training. This method does not account for the pressure that hips are subject to when a dog stands. This method may not be able to diagnose hip dysplasia in dogs that are less than one year old. This view might not be useful for dogs younger than one year.
The PennHIP method, on the other hand, can be used to determine if a puppy may develop hip dysplasia. This method is suitable for puppies as young at 4 months. Only specialists who have been trained in the PennHIP method can use it to diagnose and screen for hip dysplasia.
A simple palpation technique can be used to check for hip dysplasia in dogs. It can be done during a dog’s wellness exam. The Ortolani Sign is a palpation technique that checks for hip laxity. To relax the muscles around your hip and to control a wiggly dog, light sedation may be necessary. ).
Positive Ortolani Signs indicate hip dysplasia. Some puppies may also have a negative Ortolani sign. As young as four months old, the PennHIP method was shown to be more reliable in detecting hip dysplasia in puppies.
How can hip dysplasia be treated?
Two surgical options are available for hip dysplasia dogs and puppies. Dogs who are unable or unwilling to have surgery can also opt for medical management.
Hip dysplasia can be a hereditary condition. It is affected by many environmental factors that occur during the puppy’s growing period. These environmental factors include diet, exercise, growth rate, and nutrition. Photo by Picture Alliance Images / Getty Images
Juvenile pubic Symphysiodesis is a surgical procedure that treats hip laxity in puppies between 10-18 weeks of age. This simple procedure prematurely closes the growth plate at the bottom of your pelvis. This simple procedure causes the acetabulum, which is located at the bottom of the pelvis, to cup the head and reduce hip dysplasia. This procedure is not recommended for puppies with hip laxity that are more than 18 weeks old.
A double or triple pelvic osteotomy (DPO/TPO) may be beneficial for infants aged between 4 1/2 to 10 months who have been diagnosed as having hip dysplasia. Two to three cuts are made in your pelvis during this procedure. Next, the acetabulum rotates so that the head of your femur is properly positioned.
Only dogs with moderate to severe hip laxity or mildness are eligible for the DPO/TPO procedure. A DPO or TPO should not be performed on puppies with extreme hip laxity, lameness or evidence of hip arthritic changes.
Two surgical options are available for adult dogs suffering from hip dysplasia. They can improve their quality-of-life and allow them to move their hips painlessly. These are total hip replacement (THR), or femoral skull osteomy (FHO).
Total hip replacement is the replacement of the acetabulum and femoral head with metal or plastic implants. It is very similar to what is done in humans. THR allows dogs with hip dysplasia to have the best chance of returning to normal, pain-free activity.
FHO is the total removal of the femoral ball, or head of the hip joint. The femur does not receive a replacement ball. The dog’s body will develop scar tissue over the remaining hip joint in the months following surgery to make a false joint. The pain caused by an arthritic hip is eliminated by removing the head of a femur. However, this does not allow the hip joint to move fully. An FHO is more comfortable for dogs, but it will not restore their pre-arthritic activity.
The medical management of hip dysplasia, as well as associated arthritis, consists of light daily exercises, non-steroidal antiinflammatory (NSAID), and other medications to manage pain. It also includes cartilage protector supplements like chondroitin and glucosamine, and an omega-3 and 6 fatty acid supplement. Physical therapy is also available.
Overweight dogs with hip dysplasia shouldn’t be allowed. Overweight can cause arthritic joints to become more painful. Discuss with your veterinarian the best medical management plan for your dog.
Dogs with hip dysplasia may live a normal life if they are treated and managed properly. It is important to get treatment early in order to maintain pain-free mobility.
Canine Hip Dysplasia Whole Dog Journal.
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