Hip and joint problems often terrify large-breed dog owners. However, these problems can also happen to any dog breed regardless of size. It’s usually a severe condition to your dog that drastically reduces his wellbeing, making it difficult for you to watch.
The good news is that educating yourself about the importance of maintaining good hip and joint health and embracing responsible dog ownership may help keep your dog comfortable.
Here is everything you should know about common hip problems in dogs, including the clinical signs, diagnosis, treatment options, and ways you can prevent them to keep your furry friend healthy, happy, and active.
What are the Common Hip Problems in Dogs?
The hip is the largest joint in the body and is susceptible to several issues. If your dog is having difficulty getting up or limping on a back leg, the problem could be in the hip joint.
Here are some of the common hip problems that you should watch for in your dog:
1. Hip Dysplasia
Hip dysplasia is a disease that causes malformation in hip joints. It results in the loosening of the hip joint leading to uneven rubbing of the cartilage in the joint, followed by intense pain, lameness, and the onset of osteoarthritis.
2. Hip Dislocation
Traumatic hip dislocation in dogs occurs when the hip joint ball is pushed out of the socket. Hip dislocation resulting from trauma like being hit by a car is treatable, while a dislocated hip due to hip dysplasia requires surgery.
Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear condition in dogs. It happens when the protective cartilage cushioning your dog’s bones wears down over time. Although this condition can damage any joint, it usually affects joints in the hips. Cartilage loss leads to pain and reduced mobility in dogs. This can be a significant issue in large breeds.
Osteochondrosis is a disorder that hinders the normal growth of the skeleton in dogs. This condition usually affects large and giant dog breeds. It causes intense pain and swelling. It may also cause osteoarthritis in the joint.
5. Legg Calve Perthes Disease
Legg Calve Perthes disease often happens in small dog breeds like Miniature Poodles and West Highland White Terriers. It occurs when the blood supply to the head of the femur at the hip joint is temporarily interrupted. The cause of this condition remains unknown, and it can only be treated by surgically removing the affected bone.
What are the Signs of Hip Problems in Dogs
The most common clinical signs of hip problems in dogs are general weakness and pain in the hind legs. Even though some conditions like hip dysplasia affect puppies, most dogs do not show any symptoms until they are older.
It usually takes several years of bone degeneration until a dog becomes symptomatic. Other usual symptoms of hip problems in dogs include:
· General lameness- Your dog may limp with one or both hind legs
· Hopping instead of walking in a normal way
· Difficulty jumping or even getting up
· Unable to exercise for more extended periods
· Reduction in thigh muscle mass
· Clicking sounds from the hips when getting up or moving around
· Detectable enlargement of the shoulder muscle mass due to weight and support shifting
· Some dogs will be reluctant to climb the stairs.
What Causes Hip Problems in Dogs?
Numerous factors cause hip problems in dogs, genetics being the primary. A condition like hip dysplasia is inherited and often occurs in larger dog breeds like the German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Saint Benard, and Great Dane.
Factors such as unbalanced nutrition, infections, trauma, ways of exercising, growth rate, and improper weight can amplify this genetic predisposition.
How are Hip Problems Diagnosed?
The most preferred method for diagnosing hip problems like dysplasia is via hip radiograph under general anesthetic in both young and adult dogs. Some vets may also examine the hip and check for looseness using their hands.
What is the Treatment?
There are many available treatment alternatives for hip and joint conditions in dogs. The ideal treatment depends on your dog’s age, lifestyle, and condition.
If you adopt a puppy with a disease like hip dysplasia, getting surgery early may help prevent arthritis. Surgery offers the most long-term comfort for dogs with long, active lives.
There are two standard surgical alternatives for pets with hip dysplasia: femoral head ostectomy, which involves the removal of the femur’s head and neck to create a false joint, and total hip replacement, which involves implantation of an artificial hip joint.
Medical management at home is recommended for older dogs and those that cannot undergo surgery. Dog owners can effectively manage the pain and reduce their pet’s discomfort by using Rose-Hip Vital Joint Health Canine Supplement for dogs with mild to moderate disease.
Supplements like Caho Agility+ Premium Hip & Joint Supplement for Dogs and Cats and Naturvet Glucosamine Double Strength with MSM & Chondroitin, may help ease the pain and are essential for preventing cartilage breakdown in the joint.
Other prospective treatments include acupuncture and cold laser therapy. Consult your vet to help recommend the best options for you and your furry friend. Always seek advice from your vet because treatments often need to be adjusted over time.
How Can Hip Problems Be Prevented?
The best way to effectively prevent hip problems in dogs is to manage your pet’s weight, especially when he is young. Starting joint supplements early is another sure way of preventing hip problems. You can use the following supplements to avoid hip problems in dogs.
· NaturVet Arthrisooth GOLD Level 3 Soft Chew Supplement for Dogs & Cats– It is a clinically tested advanced joint supplement with Omega 3 designed to help support cartilage health, and joint flexibility, and alleviation of discomfort and aches related to daily exercise.
· 1-TDC® Periodontal and Joint Health Care Supplement for Dogs & Cats– It’s a veterinarian-approved product that promotes a healthy inflammatory response. What’s more, your pet will think it’s a treat!
· Dom & Cleo EON Joint Juvenate For Dogs & Cats– This product contains extra amino acids, organic minerals, trace elements, and plant cell vitamins that are usually missing in modern-day food. It’s a quality supplement that provides your pet with the raw materials required to repair and build new collagen for joints, skin, bones, and coats.
Always consult your veterinarian about the risks and signs of hip problems. Your vet will offer information and advice accordingly.
You can also screen your dog for hip diseases at a young age using hip x-rays because it will help you determine the possibility of your furry friend developing hip and joint conditions in the future.