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Let’s Talk About Hip Dysplasia In Dogs

Hip dysplasia is a condition that affects dogs and occurs during growth. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint, and during growth, both the ball and socket must grow at an equal rate.

Hip dysplasia is a condition that affects dogs and occurs during growth. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint, and during growth, both the ball and socket must grow at an equal rate.

Hip dysplasia is a condition that affects dogs and occurs during growth. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint, and during growth, both the ball and socket must grow at an equal rate. When a pet has hip dysplasia, the ball and socket do not fit smoothly, causing an unstable joint that can lead to arthritis.

Although all dog breeds can develop hip dysplasia, large breeds such as German Shepherds, Saint Bernards, and Labrador Retrievers are more predisposed to it. Hip dysplasia is less prevalent in cats than in dogs and is typically seen in two sets of patients: puppies between 6-18 months and elderly dogs. Young dogs may have hip dysplasia without arthritis, resulting in no pain and thus not being evaluated. The same dogs may show up later as elderly dogs after walking on their poorly formed hips for many years.

Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that is affected by factors such as diet, environment, exercise, growth rate, muscle mass, and hormones. It is essential to avoid nutritionally pushing large breed puppies to grow faster by providing extra protein, more calcium, or extra food, as this can lead to bone and muscle growth at different rates, causing dysplasia.

Signs of hip dysplasia include reduced activity, difficulty rising or lying down, difficulty going up stairs, and bunny hopping. Dogs with hip dysplasia may not cry or whine in pain, making it challenging to identify.

To diagnose hip dysplasia, a physical examination by a veterinarian is necessary, along with proper radiographs taken under sedation. Treatment options include non-surgical treatment such as nutritional supplements to help repair cartilage, pain medications, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, massages, and weight management. Surgical treatments include FHO, JPS, TPO, and THR, with each surgery having its own benefits depending on the dog’s condition.

Surgical Procedures:

FHO (Femur Head and Neck Osteotomy) – performed in dogs weighing less than 22 kg
  • This procedure is more suitable for active dogs. The head of the femur is cut off and removed along with the neck, allowing the joint to heal as a false joint. The joint capsule is then closed to avoid bone to bone contact. The affected limb will be a bit shorter after the surgery. After some time, the operated leg will have a normal range of motion and function. 
JPS (Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis) – recommended to be done before 5 months of age. 
  • This procedure prematurely seals the symphysis, which in turn results to rotating the developing hip socket.
TPO (Triple Pelvic Osteotomy) – best to be done between 8-18 months of age
  • This procedure is recommended to dogs with dysplasia but without degenerative disease. A triple osteotomy involves making three osteotomies of the pelvis to allow rotation of the pelvis that creates better coverage and greater contact for the femoral head with the acetabulum. 
THR (Total Hip Replacement ) 
  • This is a highly invasive procedure but has been performed for over 30 years now with great success. THR is mainly about replacing the hip or hips with a prosthetics. Post-surgery, exercise restriction of at least 3 months is highly recommended.

In conclusion, hip dysplasia is a severe condition that can cause discomfort and pain in dogs. It is crucial to identify the signs of hip dysplasia and consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment. Preventative measures such as proper diet, exercise, and weight management can help reduce the risk of hip dysplasia in dogs.

Dr. Ansar Mahmood Lakhi

Dr. Ansar Mahmood Lakhi

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