Hip Dysplasia in Dogs:Causes and Symptoms

Hip Dysplasia in dogs is a disease that affects the hip joint that attaches a dog’s hind leg to its body. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint with the ball portion being the head of the femur (the main bone in the thigh) and the socket which is attached to the dog’s pelvis.

In a healthy, normal joint, the ball rotates easily within the socket. The hip joint is strengthened by a strong ligament that attaches the femur head directly to the socket. The joint capsule is a very strong band of connective tissue that circles the two bones and provides stability for a dog’s rear legs. In healthy dogs, the area where the bones actually touch each other is smooth and cushioned with a layer of spongy cartilage. The hip joint also contains a thick fluid that keeps the joint lubricated. In a dog with normal hips, all of these components work together and help the joint function smoothly to support the dog’s stability.

Hip dysplasia is a result of abnormal joint structure in the dog’s hip which results in the muscles becoming slack; it also affects the connective tissue and ligaments that support the hip joint. As the dog’s hip joint continues to deteriorate, the surfaces of the two hip bones start to separate in the joint and cause structural changes in the surfaces of the bone. As the cartilage is progressively worn away, the pain becomes intense when the dog stands or walks.

Most dogs are born with normal hips and will never develop this debilitating disease unless their genetic background includes a predisposition for hip dysplasia or arthritis. Hip dysplasia will sometimes affect both the right and left hip joints but more often only affects one hip.

Hip dysplasia symptoms usually don’t appear until a dog reaches middle-age or older. The disorder will get worse until all normal movements of the dog’s legs become too painful to endure. Surgery is sometimes recommended by veterinarians but is costly and not often advised if a dog is older. Rimadyl is a pain killer vets sometimes prescribe for dogs suffering from hip dysplasia and/or arthritis.

There are many pros and cons about giving a dog Rimadyl for hip dysplasia and arthritis pain. As a responsible pet owner, it would be a very good idea to research this drug as thoroughly as you can before giving your dog this medication. A much safer treatment, and one that many owners agree is more effective, is to put your dog on a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, an all-natural formula developed by a Naturopathic Doctor to heal his own beloved dog who suffered from hip dysplasia. For more than 20 years this proven formula has been giving relief from pain and stiffness to all breeds and ages of dogs.

The symptoms of hip dysplasia are almost identical to the symptoms of arthritis. A dog with arthritis will limp when walking and may avoid any movement that requires full extension or the flexing of its rear legs. The dog will also experience stiffness and pain in the rear legs after exercising or when awakening in the morning. Climbing stairs will become difficult or impossible. As hip dysplasia increasingly impairs the dogs movement it will lose most of its muscle tone and may need assistance in getting up and lying down.

Hip dysplasia is primarily a disease of large breeds like Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Saint Bernards, and Great Danes. The disease can affect medium-sized dogs also but very rarely affects smaller dogs. Hip dysplasia occurs most often in purebred dogs but is known to develop in mixed breeds if the parents were prone to developing hip dysplasia.

Obesity will increase the pain and inflammation of hip dysplasia in dogs that are genetically predisposed to the disease. An overweight dog genetically prone to hip dysplasia is at a much higher risk of developing hip dysplasia.

Exercise is sometimes a factor in the development of the disease. Dogs that are genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia will have an increased incidence of hip dysplasia or arthritis if over-exercised when they are puppies or young adults.

Find Out More About Hip Dysplasia & Your Dogs Health.

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