One of the biggest challenges dog owners face is to keep their pets strong and healthy. Having a dog can provide a lot of physical and mental benefits to its owner, but on the other side of the coin, pet ownership will require responsibility and commitment. As a dog owner, you need to exhaust your resources, so your dog lives healthily, especially as they age.
Canine hip dysplasia is one of the most common skeletal conditions among large or giant breeds. Leaving this condition untreated can cause lameness and painful arthritis in dogs. Fortunately, early detection can keep your dogs safe from hip dysplasia.
What Is Hip Dysplasia In Dogs?
Dogs with this health condition have hip joints that are either undeveloped or don’t fit with each other. This disconnection can cause dog’s joints to rub and grind against each other, instead of sliding and moving smoothly whenever your dog moves. This can expedite bone deterioration and loss of joint functions among dogs.
There are several reasons why dogs experience hip dysplasia:
- Genetics plays a big role in a dog’s susceptibility to this health condition.
- Big breeds, such as the Great Dane and German Shepherds, are prone to this condition because they have higher risks of excessive bone growth that can lead to hip dysplasia.
- Receiving inadequate nutrition and physical exercise can also trigger hip dysplasia in dogs.
What Are The Symptoms Of Hip Dysplasia In Dogs?
Although hip dysplasia is common among big breeds, smaller breeds aren’t safe from the condition. In fact, some small breeds can show symptoms of hip dysplasia as young as four months old. Small and young dogs with hip dysplasia can develop severe skeletal conditions, such as osteoarthritis, as they age.
As a dog owner, you should know the symptoms of hip dysplasia among dogs. Having this knowledge will make it easier for you to detect the condition and seek professional care as soon as possible. The earlier you seek treatment, the better chances your dog will have in surviving hip dysplasia.
To ensure that your dog lives a life free from hip dysplasia and all its health risks, look out for the following symptoms:
1. Decreased Energy Levels
Dogs, regardless of the breed, are generally active animals. They want to play with their owners as often as possible. So, when you start to notice that your dog is no longer excited to go for walks or play with you, be wary. A decreased level is one of the most common symptoms of hip dysplasia among dogs.
Dogs lose interest in doing anything when they have hip dysplasia because of the pain associated with this health condition. Dogs would rather remain stationary than move around and suffer extreme pain in their legs and hips. This is especially true for senior dogs with hip dysplasia.
2. Difficulty In Climbing Stairs Or Ability To Jump
Your dog’s legs can significantly affect their mobility and their ability to make sudden movements with their legs, such as climbing the stairs and jumping.
Dogs with hip dysplasia won’t have the vigor to do all of these movements because this condition can cause severe inflammation to their joints. As a result, your dog can suffer unbearable pain and a decreased range of motion whenever they attempt to use their joints. Jumping around in your yard might be exciting for your dog, but hip dysplasia can turn this activity into a painful experience.
Check how your dog climbs up the stairs and how fast they can get in your car. If you see that they’re having problems with any of these movements, visit a vet.
3. Problems Rising
Whenever your dog rises from lying on the ground, they’ll heavily rely on their front legs to support their entire body weight. Healthy legs and joints will make it easy for your dog to stand even after hours of lying down.
Hip dysplasia can cause difficulty in rising because their legs will become too stiff that it’ll require a lot of time to adapt from a lying to a standing position. Observe if your dog’s attempt to rise. If it starts to slow down, hip dysplasia might be the culprit.
4. Bunny Hopping
If you’ve been living with your dog for years, for sure, you already know their gait. Being a pet owner for years allows you to identify whether your dog is walking with ease or experiences difficulty.
Another symptom to watch out when detecting canine hip dysplasia is to assess if there have been changes in your dog’s gait. Bunny hopping or a dog’s tendency to lift both of their hind legs at the same time, just like what a bunny does, is a symptom of hip dysplasia.
A dog affected by hip dysplasia will “bunny hop” whenever they’re walking or climbing the stairs as an attempt to lessen the pain caused by their coxofemoral joints.
5. Sensitivity And Pain Around The Hips
Hip dysplasia can make even the healthiest breeds suffer. It may affect a dog’s entire body, but the pain and discomfort will be more severe in their hips. Since the joints are no longer in its proper place, hip dysplasia can cause fractures in the dog’s soft tissues and force their hip joint to stretch excessively. These changes can be seen in a dog’s hypersensitivity and pain on the hips.
Hip dysplasia might be the reason why your dog is in pain or experiencing discomfort whenever their hips are touched. Over time, this health condition can result in the breakdown of a dog’s cartilage, causing more pain and hypersensitivity.
Seek Help ASAP
Seeing any of the symptoms above should prompt you to see the vet immediately.
Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t wait for another symptom to come out, thinking that the first one will go away on its own. As your dog’s health can worsen by the minute, time is a crucial factor when it comes to hip dysplasia.
If you suspect your dog has hip dysplasia, talk to your vet and ask for recommendations on how your furry friend can avoid the condition in the long run. Your life as a pet owner will be more fruitful if you get to live with your dogs for years!