Hip Dysplasia Symptoms
Understanding Hip Dysplasia and Proper Treatment Options
Hip dysplasia is a bone condition that affects dogs, usually those of larger breeds. With this, the ball of the femoral bone and socket of the hip bone are affected. Typically, the hips do not develop as they should, which causes problems with the ball fitting firmly into the socket. However, larger dogs with excess weight can suffer from this disease as well due to excess pressure on the hip bones.
Interestingly, veterinarians are not 100% sure what causes dysplasia although some believe it has to do with the environment and others believe the problem is genetic. Because veterinarians cannot agree, often dog owners feel frustrated as they look around for solutions to provide their beloved pet relief from pain. If the problem were environmental it would mean the dog’s weight is too great from growing quickly, along with lack of exercise. On the other hand, if the problem is genetic, it means the dog was born with the condition.
While controversy surrounds hip dysplasia, a common theory is that genetics play a significant role. If you were to talk to a number of breeders, they would tell you that although genetics are likely involved, both of these potential causes should be considered when diagnosing and treating a dog living with hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, when this condition is severe, the problem begins while a very young puppy. Keep in mind that most dogs experience discomfort and even pain although a few do not. In mild to moderate cases, proper treatment would allow most dogs to live a long, healthy, and normal life.
Hip dysplasia is usually identified by the dog owner as symptoms appear. For instance, dogs will sometimes have a limp, they may have an awkward gait, or perhaps whine or even yelp when standing or lying down. Some of the other symptoms expected with the development of hip dysplasia include the following:
- Bunny Hopping – With this, the dog would use both of the back legs simultaneous rather than one at a time when running or climbing up stairs.
Sitting to the Side – Sometimes, this type of sitting is called “lazy sit”, which means when the dog sits, rather than putting weight on the buttocks, the legs would go to the side so the dog takes pressure off the hip joint.
- Swaying – Another symptom associated with hip dysplasia is seen in the way the dog walks. In this case, the backend would sway from side to side more than usual.
- Odd Laying Positions – When lying down, the dog with hip dysplasia puts the front legs out to the side while keeping them straight when on his or her stomach or sometimes, back and straight.
- Quietness – Puppies are always busy so if the dog is quiet and even withdrawn, it could be a sign of being in pain due to this hip condition. Any abnormal behavior seen in puppies should be viewed as something potentially being wrong.
- Lack of Jumping – Another common behavior seen in puppies is jumping so if the dog does not jump or even try to get up on furniture, again this could be a sign.
- Large Chest and Small Backend – When a dog does not use the back legs as normal, they do not develop normally. As a result, the dog begins to push weight forward, which could be yet another sign of hip dysplasia.
Anyone suspicious of a pet may have this condition should have him or her seen by a veterinarian. As mentioned, if the case is mild to moderate, medication often helps, along with rehabilitation. However, if the hip dysplasia were severe, sometimes surgery to repair the defect is the only viable solution.