Hip dysplasia is one of the most common orthopaedic conditions, particularly in medium and large size breeds of dogs. Sometimes confused with arthritis which generally comes with ageing, hip dysplasia actually develops while your dog is still young.
So, what is Hip Dysplasia in dogs?
It is the result of a malformed joint growing at uneven rates which means the joint can become loose and unstable and excessive movement within the joint can lead to painful bony rubbing, possibly even small fractures.
What are the early signs to look out for? If your young dog - or even puppy – often struggles to get himself up easily once he’s laying down or sitting and shows signs of discomfort or if he isn’t so keen to go out for his regular walks and is looking uncomfortable when exercising, then it’s time to talk to your Vet.
Most Vets will check for hip dysplasia during your dog’s regular check-ups, by looking for signs of joint pain and watching how he walks or even taking X-Rays if he thinks there may be a problem.
Do we know what causes it? It is thought that not only genetics but also nutrition can play their part. Any dog can be affected by Hip Dysplasia but it is often seen in larger, heavier breeds so it’s important to choose the right food – not too high in calcium, or calories – and to try to avoid too much rapid weight gain early in life.
There are many treatment options available from surgery to alternative therapies and milder cases not requiring surgery may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Your Vet may also recommend something "over-the-counter" to help them.