to hip dysplasia
Hip dysplasia occurs less frequently in medium-sized dogs and rarely in small dogs. Though the disease typically affects purebred animals, if a mixed breed inherits the trait from both parents, the dog has a chance of suffering from the condition. Realizing that certain dogs have an increased risk toward dysplasia, reputable breeders ensure disease free lineage by having their animals evaluated by a veterinarian. Eventual disease eradication may only occur if breeders continue practicing stringent selective breeding.
Genetics remains the predominant reason that dogs develop dysplasia. An animal may inherit the genes from one or both parents, the dog may or may not develop the problem, however, they carry the genetic information. By practicing selective breeding, responsible owners do not breed hip dysplasia carriers.
What nutrition plays in development of symptoms of hip dysplasia
Nutrition also plays a part in the development of symptoms of hip dysplasia. The joints of overweight dogs endure greater stress. If a dog carries dysplasia, and becomes overweight, they have an increased risk of exhibiting symptoms. Likewise, puppies provided with liberal meals often undergo rapid growth during the first year of life, which also adds stress to the hip joint and encourages malformation. Homemade diets lacking in calcium or other minerals might also have an effect on growth and development.
Physical activity and its role in hip dysplasia
While physical activity maintains a dog’s overall health from infancy through adulthood, the wrong type of exercise poses a threat to dogs carrying the dysplasia gene. Running or swimming builds strong muscles, connective tissues and bones, but any activities involving jumping create possible trauma.
Diagnosing Hip Dysplasia
Dogs as young as four months may undergo evaluation. However, owners often bring pets to a veterinarian when the animal shows signs of a problem. Upon physical examination, the veterinarian determines if the hip joints display subluxation or the animal expresses discomfort with range of motion. The veterinarian also usually uses X-rays during the diagnostic process, as the condition may exist before outward symptoms appear.
The veterinarian then sends the images to the Orthopedic Foundation of America, referred to as the OAF, for assessment and rating. The OFA established three categories of ratings. Normal means the animal displays no symptoms of the disorder and may further indicate a rating of excellent, good or fair. Borderline may signify unclear images along with a recommendation to reassess the animal within a year. The dyplastic rating includes grades of mild, moderate and severe.
Medical Intervention for hip dysplasia
The type of treatment recommended by the veterinarian often depends on the severity of the condition. Oral supplementation with chondroitin and glucosamine products help maintain healthy connective tissue. Oral or injectable anti-inflammatory, pain and disease modifying medications may slow the degenerative process. Affected dogs also require proper diet, comfortable, warm sleeping areas and a strict exercise regimen as recommended by the physician. Modified exercise helps maintain joint flexibility and cardiovascular fitness without causing further injury or discomfort. Swimming remains the best option because the activity encourages non-impact range of motion.
Options for hip dysplasia treatment
Depending on the dog’s age, size and the severity of the condition, veterinarians may suggest corrective surgery. Younger dogs might undergo pelvic realignment procedures that encourage proper positioning of the femoral head and the acetabulum. Older dogs usually qualify for total hip replacement surgery. Similar to the procedure performed on humans, the process entails replacing the defective joint with synthetic materials. Under certain circumstances, the dog may only require femoral head replacement. But, this option may limit range of motion.
Determining whether a dog qualifies for expensive corrective surgery also depends on the owner’s willingness to comply with the necessary post-operative care. Following surgery, dogs require a period of rehabilitation designed to return range of motion and strength. Physical therapy in the form of passive range of motion, ambulation or swimming all aid in the healing process of hip dysplasia.