Canine Hip Dysplasia is a genetic / environmental problem that appears from 4 to 12 months of age. All puppies in a litter will not develop it, but if your dog has hip dysplasia, it should not be bred.
What is Canine Hip Dysplasia?
The hip joint consists of a “ball” on the femoral bone and a “grip” on the hip bone.
Canine hip dysplasia is simply defined when a dog’s hips do not develop normally and the ball is not properly fitted into the socket.
Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is one of the most frustrating diseases in veterinary medicine today simply because it is so difficult to prevent and treat. CHD is a developmental disease of the bones in which the head of the thigh bone poorly fits the hip socket, causing damage to the cartilage, gradual destruction of the joint, pain and swelling. This disease should not be confused with hip arthritis. Rather, it is the most common cause of arthritis in the hips.
What are the causes of Canine Hip Dysplasia?
Canine Hip Dysplasia is commonly known as a heritable disease. It is passed on by the parents to the offspring. The only effective measure therefore to eradicate the disease is to prevent dogs with hip dysplasia from breeding. However, this is easier said than done, because not all dogs with hip dysplasia show signs of the disease. Seemingly normal dogs still carry the gene for CHD and are bred, causing the disease to stay within the genepool.
Although there is no “conclusive evidence” of the cause of hip dysplasia, there are two streams of general ideas about its cause
These two different points of view often place breeders and dog owners at odds, forcing each to blame the other for the problem.
Genetics: the puppy is born with the problem.
Environmental: The puppy is too heavy, resulting in excessive growth and / or excessive or insufficient effort for a puppy during its growth phase, resulting in developmental problems.
The most common theory is that Canine Hip Dysplasia is truly genetic. Most breeders have the hips of their breeding dogs evaluated by the Orthopedic Animal Foundation or hip improvement programs, or by various other international orthopedic groups.
We could discuss other differences of the two theories, but that does not change the facts. If your dog has hip dysplasia, you have to deal with it. You may decide what to do next or you may have done so already and want to know what to expect.
When does a dog have Canine Hip Dysplasia ?
If you adhere to the theory that it’s genetic, they’re born with it. Dogs with severe Canine Hip Dysplasia often start having problems as puppies. Sometimes, dysplasia of the hip in dogs does not cause pain in dogs. As a result, he shows no sign until his dog has arthritis. In some cases that are not as severe, dogs can live all their lives with little or no symptoms.
What are the symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs?
A dog with hip dysplasia generally has less energy and movement. It has difficulty rising from a sitting position, lameness in the back legs, is hopping like a rabbit when running, and is reluctant to go up the stairs. However, these symptoms are usually not evident till the dog reaches middle age. In extreme cases though, some dogs exhibit obvious hip problems as early as 5-6 months of age.
There are a number of symptoms of hip dysplasia. Some dog owners only say that their dog can not walk well. Others will say that they have not seen any symptoms, or that their dog has started to limp. Below is a list of common symptoms that your dog may have and do not have hip dysplasia:
- Bunny Hopping: The dog tends to use both hind legs together rather than one after the other. This occurs when the dog runs or climbs stairs.
- Sitting Laterally: When the dog is seated, its legs are not placed or folded. They can be loose and spread on one side, or one or both legs can be straight ahead.
- Sway Walk: Also called free walk. When the dog is walking, the back end is swinging because the hips are loose.
- Unusual pose position: The legs are straight and to the side when the dog is lying on his stomach or the legs are straight behind the dog.
- Lameness: the dog can favor one or the other leg and alternate the legs that he prefers.
- Quiet puppy: Puppies who already have Canine Hip Dysplasia tend to be very good puppies. They do not abuse the same way as normal puppies. They also tend to sleep long after playing or walking. Some owners describe their puppy with hip dysplasia as the best puppy in their life.
- The dog does not jump: not only do they not jump on your head, but they seem to pull upwards by their front end on a piece of furniture instead of jumping.
- Underdeveloped hindquarters and over-developed chest: This is due to the normal non-use of the hind legs and the jump. The dog can also actually move the weight forward.
Diagnose Canine Hip Dysplasia Diagnose
Radiography is the only way to diagnose hip dysplasia. However, it should be noted here that you must treat the dog and not the X-rays. Some dogs with apparently slight hip dysplasia suffer a lot, while other dogs with severe and apparent hip dysplasia do not present no symptoms.
What can be done for my dog?
If you have done x-rays of your dog’s hips at your regular veterinarian, you may have been referred to an orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon will recommend various surgical options for your dog.
- Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis (JPS)
This operation is performed on puppies less than 20 weeks old, usually when the puppy is neutered. It looks very promising as a preventive measure, by changing the growth of the basin. This operation has a short recovery period, but is usually done before a puppy can be diagnosed. However, once you have lived with hip dysplasia, this option may prove useful for a puppy considered at risk of developing hip dysplasia.
- Dorsal Acetabular Rim (DAR)
This operation involves taking bone grafts from other areas of the pelvis to create the rim on the hip cavity (cup). The idea is that the femoral head has a deeper cell in which to insert. It’s relatively new, so there’s a question of how a dog will do in old age – there are not many older dogs that have done it.
- Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO)
This surgery involves cutting the bone around the hip socket and repositioning the socket for a better fit with the femoral head. The bones are clipped together so that they heal in the proper alignment. This operation is performed on young dogs before they have finished growing.
- Total Hip Replacement (THR)
This surgery involves replacing the hip joint in the same way as replacing the human hip. A new cup is usually attached to the hip bone and the femoral head is cut from the leg bone and an implant is inserted into the leg bone. This operation is practiced on more mature dogs that have finished growing. Because of the size of the implants, this operation is performed on larger dogs. Previously, all the artificial components of the hip were cemented in place. More recently, hip arthroplasty without cement has been performed.
- Femoral Head & Neck Ostectomy (FHO)
This involves removing the femoral head from the leg bone to eliminate the pain caused by hip dysplasia. The dog’s body will then develop scar tissue to create an artificial hip joint. Long considered appropriate only for small dogs or as a rescue operation for a failed THR, it has become increasingly popular for larger dogs.
Non-surgical or conservative management option
Many people choose to have their dog operated as a last resort. Some are able to manage their dog’s hip dysplasia with supplements, acupuncture, chiropractic care, exercise and weight management. Sometimes the puppy will show signs of pain due to hip dysplasia. Once the growth is complete and the muscles are developed, they seem to “go into remission”, developing signs of hip problems as the dog ages. Surgical options are always available if the conservative path fails.