Hip dysplasia can be a pretty painful condition for a dog. It is associated with abnormal joint structure and laxity of the tissues that connect as well as the ligaments that support the joint. The more that joint develops laxity the two bones are no longer connected. This causes a substantial change in not only the shape but also the size of the articular surfaces.
Most dogs are born with healthy hips but in some cases depending on the breed of the dog, there could be a genetic make up that is more likely to develop hip dysplasia. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it could be bilateral which would affect both the right and the left hip, but there’s always that chance.
Some Of The Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia
The age range for dogs having hip displasia is all over. Dogs of all ages can be subjected to it even puppies as young as just a few months old. One immediate sign is that they will often show signs of pain or some discomfort after any type of exercise such as running around outside, playing frisbee etc. Saldy, conditions will worsen to the point where just normal simple daily activities will become painful. Unless it is treated earlier you can put your dog in a position where it won’t be able to walk anymore. In most cases these symptoms don’t show until the latter ages of their lives.
The symptoms are very much like the ones dogs get with arthritis. Some signs may be that they will have this sort of hop to their run like a rabbit and they will often try to resist full extension in their back legs. They will encounter some stiffness in the morning or after a long period of resting.
Medical Treatment Of Hip Dysplasia
Introduction of a number of effective new drugs has made a lot of improvement in medical management of osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia. There are currently no medicines available that can prevent the development of hip dysplasia as it is primarily an inherited condition. There are a number of ways to slow down the progression of this degenerative joint disease such as anti-inflammatory, pain relief, supplements, exercise and proper diet among others but these won’t change the joint or bone looseness.
For many pet owners, medical management remains the only viable option as corrective surgeries cost a lot of money. There are multiple facets of medical management. Here is a list of some of the modalities that should be instituted for best results.
Dog Food Weight Management
Perhaps, the most important thing an owner can do for their pet is to help the dog maintain the recommended weight. The medical therapies and surgical procedures are going to be far more successful when the animal weighs within the suggested weight limit. As the owner, you have complete control over the diet of your dog. It is not difficult to maintain an ideal weight provided you feed your dog high-quality food in appropriate amount as per his activity level, breed and size.
You should also try to keep treats to a minimum. It is estimated that 50% of the pets in the country are overweight which means it is highly likely that many dogs suffering from hip dysplasia are overweight. Get in touch with your veterinarian for advice regarding an exercise program and low calorie dog food in case your dog is overweight.
Another way to maintain an ideal weight is regular exercise. The best exercises help with good range of motion, muscle building and put minimum wage and tear on joints. Some of the examples of low impact exercises include swimming, slow jogging, walking on treadmills and leash walks among others. The exercise program for each dog needs to be individually designed keeping in mind his physical condition, age, weight as well as severity of the osteoarthritis.
While too little exercise can be highly detrimental but performing the wrong type of exercise can lead to actual harm. For instance, Frisbee is a fun activity but it puts a lot of strain on the joints.
It’s also important to exercise on a daily basis and you need to be aware that allowing your dog to exercise only on weekends does more harm than good. It is recommended to go for shorter sessions of regular exercise instead of long workouts on the weekends. It is also recommended to warm up muscles before beginning and have a warm down period after the workout. The best way to design an exercise program that is right for your dog is to consult with the veterinarian.
Warm and Comfortable Sleeping Areas
It has been observed that symptoms of osteoarthritis worsen during damp and cold weather. Therefore, it is important to keep the pet warm to make him more comfortable. One of the ways to keep joints warmer is to make him wear a pet sweater. It is also recommended to keep your home a tad warmer to make it more comfortable for your pet.
There are also orthopedic foam beds available in the market. These have been specially designed for dogs suffering from arthritis. These are dome shaped and help in evenly distributing the weight on the bed which helps in reducing pressure on joints. Pets also find it easy to get out of these beds. It is important that you place this orthopedic bed in a warm place.
Physical and Massage Therapy
Massage and physical therapy can go a long way in a relaxing stiff muscles and promoting a good range of motion in your dog. In case, you do not have any experience, you can learn it from the veterinary staff or your veterinarian. You need to build trust before starting as your dog is in pain.
Therefore, you should start slowly and begin by petting the affected area. Gently knead the joint muscles with the help of your fingertips in small circular motions. Slowly start massaging the surrounding muscles. Some dogs may also find comfort in moist heat.
Ramps held in reducing the pain associated with daily activities. Arthritic dogs have trouble going up and down the stairs as their joints feel a lot of pain which means they find it difficult to go outside to urinate and defecate. One of the solutions to this problem is to buy or build a ramp. These ramps can be placed on stairs to make it easy for the dogs. Arthritic dogs also find it easy to get in and out of the car with the help of ramp.