One of the most common skeletal diseases in dogs, hip dysplasia is rooted in a mix of environmental and genetic causes. Large dog breeds, such as Saint Bernards and Labrador Retrievers, are most commonly affected. Though smaller breeds can also be affected, they are less likely to show symptoms.
Besides genetics, factors that can influence the development or progression of hip dysplasia include: rapid weight gain or obesity, nutritional factors, and pelvic muscle mass.
Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the ball-and-socket hip joint, leading to malfunction and deterioration of the hip joint. It often begins when a dog is still physically immature. Early signs of hip dysplasia are usually related to joint looseness and laxity. Later symptoms are related to osteoarthritis, a form of joint inflammation that is characterized by chronic degeneration of the joint. Some symptoms include difficulty rising, reluctance to climb stairs, swaying gait, hind-limb lameness after exercise, and grating detected with joint movement.
Usually once hip dysplasia has been diagnosed through a full panel of tests, there are several treatment options. Whether or not your dog should have surgery depends on his age, weight, overall health, and the severity of joint looseness. Physical therapy such as swimming can improve joint function. In addition, weight control is a very important factor in dealing with hip dysplasia.
There’s a lot more to learn about hip dysplasia, so talk to your vet and check out the link below.