Treating Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
What causes hip dysplasia in dogs?
Canine hip dysplasia, or CHD, in dogs is an abnormal formation of the hip socket that in it's most severe form, can eventually cause crippling lameness and painful arthritis of the joint in the hind end. It is a genetic trait or polygenic trait that is affected by environmental factors. Certain large type breeds are predisposed to developing CHD. Breeds such as the Newfoundland, Saint Bernard, Old English Sheepdog, Rottweilers, Mastiffs, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Alaskan Malamute, Labrador Retrievers, and the Samoyed. CHD occurs less commonly and smaller breeds.
Symptoms of CHD
Symptoms of CHD in your pet could range from decreased activity, decreased range of motion, difficulty or reluctance rising, jumping, running or climbing stairs, also a narrow stance, lameness in the hind end, looseness in the joint during movement, swaying or ?bunny hopping? gait, loss of thigh muscle mass, pain and stiffness
Treatment for CHD in Dogs
Once you've gotten an actual diagnosis of CHD from your Vet pertaining to your pet, there are quite a few treatment options, ranging from lifestyle changes and modifications, to surgery depending on the severity of CHD in your pet. If your pet is not a candidate for surgery your vet may suggest a non-surgical approach to treating CHD.
Recommendations may include weight reduction to take stress off of the hips and hind in, exercise restriction, especially on hard surfaces, and physical therapy. Your Vet may also recommend medications that are anti-inflammatory such as nonsteroidal drugs, or NSAIDS, aspirin and corticosteroids, and also joint fluid modifiers.
For dogs who are good candidates for surgery there are several options depending on the CHD diagnosis these include, double or triple ostectomy or DPO/TPO, this surgery is usually performed in young dogs under 10 months of age and improves the function of the joint by selectively cutting the pelvic bone and rotating the segments.
Femoral Head Ostectomy or FHO, this surgery can be performed on young and mature dogs and involves cutting off the femoral head or ball of the hip joint which causes the body to create a false joint that reduces the discomfort and improves mobility of the hip joint. FHO does not create normal hip function but is rather a treatment to manage pain more effectively.
Total hip replacement, or THR, is the most effective surgical treatment for CHD in dogs and is a total hip replacement. During the surgery the surgeon replaces the entire joint with metal and plastic implants. By doing this you're returning hip function to a more normal range and helps eliminate most of the discomfort associated with CHD.
How to prevent CHD in your Pet
Things you can do in order to prevent or reduce the severity of CHD in your dog.
When purchasing a large breed puppy, find breeders who PennHIP certify their dogs. There is also the OFA certification which is still the established standard but PennHIP is a much better indicator of hip health.
Watching your dogs diet and nutrition, especially calorie consumption in large dog breeds, especially between the ages of 3 to 10 months can have a major impact on whether a puppy who is predisposed to CHD will actually develop the disease. High calorie and carbohydrate diets can cause the frame of the dog to grow too fast for the cartilage in the body to keep up with. You can help lower this risk by feeding your dog a portion-controlled, balanced, species appropriate diet throughout his life.
Obesity plays a large factor in CHD. It can increase the severity of hip dysplasia and can accelerate the degeneration of joints. Activities such as running and swimming are great ways to exercise your dog and helps maintain good muscle mass. These things can actually decrease the incidence and severity of hip dysplasia.