7 Basic Questions About Hip Dysplasia
1. What is hip dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is one of the most common diseases in dogs, especially in large breeds.
2. What is the disease?
It is the misalignment of the femoral head and the acetabulum, in other words a bad gear of the hip joint. The femoral head is partially out of the acetabulum and therefore the hip cannot work properly.
3. Does it affect one breed more than others?
Yes, hip dysplasia is virtually nonexistent in Greyhounds and yet is very common in Saint‑Bernards and Mastiffs. It is also quite common in German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers and Rottweilers, among other breeds.
4. How does one determine the severity of the dysplasia?
There are several ways to determine the various degrees of dysplasia, the most common being X-rays, which should be taken around the dog’s first birthday. The X-ray should be performed in a very specific position with the muscles relaxed, as such the dog normally is anesthetized.
5. What are the symptoms?
Generally, dogs 5 to 10 months old will experience limping, however it can remain unproblematic during youth and adulthood, with significant problems presenting themselves in the geriatric period. A sideways movement of the hips may also be an indication of hip dysplasia.
6. Is it related to osteoarthritis?
Hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis are two distinct problems; nonetheless, hip dysplasia, or joint misalignment, can cause the degeneration of the hip joint thus over time causing osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is painful, especially in old age. Dysplasia can in great part be responsible for the dog developing osteoarthritis.
7. Are there treatments available?
There are various treatments, several surgeries can be performed before the dog’s first birthday and other methods such as hip replacement are possible when the dog is older and has finished growing.
There are also palliative treatments such as anti-inflammatories or protective cartilage (chondroprotectors). In severe cases, you can use a canine wheelchair so that your dog does not have to bear the burden of supporting all its weight.
Ortocanis Technical Team