Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: What Does It Mean If the Dog Has Hip Dysplasia?

This disease is a constant issue for many dog owners. No wonder, because hip dysplasia in dogs is very common. There are different forms, which is why various therapy and treatment options are also possible. This article explains the clinical picture, symptoms, treatments, and causes.

Canine Hip Dysplasia

  • It is one of the most common diseases that affect the animal’s musculoskeletal system;
  • All breeds of dogs can be affected, especially large and medium-sized breeds;
  • Hip dysplasia (HD) is largely hereditary;
  • Translated, dysplasia means “malformation”.

Definition: What is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is also known as hip dysplasia or HD for short. It is a malformation, malposition, or malformation of the hip joint. Mostly this malformation is congenital. It causes the head of the femur and the acetabulum do not to fit together properly. Often in dogs, hip dysplasia develops on both sides, although one side is always more pronounced. Every movement causes the animal sometimes severe pain. The condition worsens with improper diet or improper exercise.

The disease is incurable and largely hereditary.

The classification of hip dysplasia in dogs

There are different degrees of severity of HD, which are presented below. If you ask yourself in this context, for example, “What does HD free mean for dogs?”, You will get an answer here. The HD grades:

  • “HD free” is often marked as HD-A. It means that the finding is inconspicuous, i.e. there is no HD.
  • If “transition type” is spoken of, it means that the fur nose belongs to the HD-B category. There is a slight suspicion here that must be observed.
  • If the dog is classified as “HD mild”, it is the 3rd level, HD-C. The pet has an uneven joint. It is classified as “mild HD” with possible osteoarthritis.
  • “HD moderate” means the fourth degree of severity HD-D. A malformation can be seen here.
  • In addition, changes caused by osteoarthritis are already clear.
  • The maximum expression “HD high grade” is referred to as HD-E. This is the most severe form of undesirable development with severe osteoarthritis.

Signs and Symptoms of Canine Hip Dysplasia

The symptoms and signs of HD depend largely on the severity. Basically, however, these are often the following features:

  • The HD in the dog is shown by the gait pattern. Often this seems to be very unstable. In addition, the four-legged friend no longer likes to get up and only gets on its feet with pain.
  • Walking is torture. Either the dog no longer wants to run or only wants to walk short distances. Here doctors also speak of lameness, which can be differently pronounced.
  • The dogs are very sensitive to touch in the area of the hips and joints.
  • Often, dogs with HD sit down at a slight angle.
  • The desire to move is completely absent. Playing with fellow dogs is also no longer fun.
  • Dog owners often see the pain in the animals’ animals. The dogs suffer a lot.
  • At a later stage, it is also the case that the joint area crunches slightly. This is especially the case with progressive osteoarthritis and older animals.

Causes: where does HD come from in dogs?

Canine hip dysplasia is an inherited disease. Whether or not HD develops is anchored in the animal’s genome. Heredity is very complex here so that not every carrier of this genetic material automatically becomes ill. Basically, any race can be affected. However, large and medium-sized dogs are often affected. The first diagnosis was made in a German Shepherd, which is why this breed is often associated with HD. However, hip dysplasia can also be triggered by other factors. These include, for example, an incorrect diet, excessive and improper stress as a puppy or in a young dog, and the age of a dog. Then the HD is a sign of wear and tear on the joint.

This is how hip dysplasia can be detected in dogs

Often the first symptoms can be recognized at a young age. A dog’s gait, for example, gives the vet an early indication of a possible HD. If the puppy is hopping like a rabbit and pushing off with both hind legs, that is already an HD identifier. However, the veterinarian only makes an exact diagnosis after a few tests (Ortolani test). The hip joint is not only stressed but also stretched and moved. There is another test, but it only takes place under anesthesia. The joint dislocates, which would cause the animal tremendous pain when awake.

If you want to be absolutely sure, have your dog X-rayed if you suspect hip dysplasia. The four-legged friend is also anesthetized with this procedure. Because when taking pictures, the joint is overstretched, which is very painful for the fur nose. In addition, it is easier to classify according to the severity level. The cost of x-raying hip dysplasia in dogs varies from $150 to $230, depending on the practice.

Which Therapy is Best for Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?

Anyone wondering what helps with HD in dogs must first know that the disease cannot be cured. It is important that the treatment is started relatively quickly. This is the only way to contain pain, inflammation, and changes. Pain-relieving drugs are one way of improving the quality of life of the dog in hip dysplasia. A good solution can be found here in consultation with the veterinarian. When the dog’s hip dysplasia has progressed, all that remains is surgery. Surgical intervention can be done in different ways. In the meantime, veterinary medicine has even reached the point where artificial hip joints are possible for four-legged friends. It is no secret that the cost of an operation for hip dysplasia in dogs is not exactly low.

Tip: In order to cover the costs of hip dysplasia in dogs, we recommend that you take out appropriate insurance for your four-legged friend.

Take Further Preventive and Support Measures

If the diagnosis is (severe) HD, master and mistress are initially shocked. No wonder, because the little darling suffers and is in pain. But hip dysplasia in dogs does not necessarily mean being euthanized. Because in addition to the therapy and treatment options mentioned above, you could also try the following tips:

  • Physiotherapy: There are exercises that support dogs and owners in dealing with the disease in the case of hip dysplasia. These often include heat or cold treatments, massages, and specific movement therapies underwater or by ultrasound.
  • Diet and joint food: Diet is very important in HD in dogs. A healthy weight helps to improve the situation, as it relieves the joints. Therefore, the nutritional concept should be adjusted together with the veterinarian.
  • Homeopathy: Anyone who wants to treat HD in dogs homeopathically relies on Traumeel and ZEEL ointments. These are to be applied once or twice a day. They relieve pain and have a calming effect.
  • Movement: How much movement is right for dogs with HD depends on the severity and resilience. A walk on soft ground is ideal. Swimming is also a great way to build muscle.
  • Obstacles: If the dog suffers from hip dysplasia, stairs and other obstacles are initially taboo. The four-legged friend should no longer overwork. This also applies to fast movements such as running and romping with other conspecifics.
Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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