Some dog breeds are, unfortunately, more susceptible for developing hip dysplasia then others. Many of the larger breeds are commonly diagnosed. In this group are breeds such as the Labrador Retriever, the German Shepard, the Alaskan Malamute, the Bloodhound, the Bull Mastiff, the St. Bernard and the Border Collie. In medium to smaller breeds, the dogs that are mixed breeds are commonly affected, as well as the Keeshond, the Brittany Spaniel and the Bulldog.
Hip dysplasia affects the hip joints. Because the femur bone does not set correctly in the hip socket, it causes arthritis to form. Some of the symptoms of hip dysplasia include limping or lameness in one or both legs, soreness when the area is touched and a stiff gait. If left untreated the dog may eventually become lame. It can be a very painful disease for a dog to have to endure.
Treatment is available if the dog is generally healthy and if the condition is caught early before it damages the joints too severely. If the owner suspects that his or her dog has hip dysplasia, the Vet will determine it by taking x-rays of the hips. The vet will also watch how the dog walks to see if there is an evidence of arthritis. Young dogs that are diagnosed are usually eligible for surgery to correct the problem. In dogs that are between the ages of twelve to eighteen weeks old, the surgery is referred to as Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis.
Are heavy dogs more likely to be diagnosed with hip dysplasia? The answer is yes. Although genetics play the biggest role in this disease, a dog that is obese may become more likely to also be susceptible. Although obesity doesn’t cause hip dysplasia, it can irritate the symptoms and cause the dog to show signs much earlier. Carrying extra weight puts more strain on the joints, which in turn causes more severe arthritis. Feeding your dog a 100% nutritionally complete dog food with no table scraps or people food is the healthiest way to go, and this is especially true if the dog has already been diagnosed with hip dysplasia. It’s very important to make sure the dog has the proper amount of calcium in its food, along with all of the other vitamins and nutrients needed to stay at a healthy weight.
Dogs need and enjoy exercise, but it has been shown that dogs that are exercised too often may be at more of a risk of developing hip dysplasia. Moderate exercise is actually great for dogs and keeps them healthier then those not receiving any exercise at all, but for a dog that is prone to hip dysplasia, it is best to ask the vet exactly how much exercise is best for the dogs health. Exercises that include jumping are not usually recommended for dogs that are in prone to the condition due the extra stress it causes on the joints, but swimming and taking walks are usually fine.
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