Why German Shepherds Are Prone To Hip Dysplasia And What To Do About It
German Shepherds are genetically predisposed to several diseases and conditions, but none so prevalent as hip dysplasia. Approximately 19% of all GSDs will suffer from the condition throughout their lives.
Hip dysplasia causes pain and exercise intolerance, and eventually leads to arthritis and difficulty with mobility.
Hip dysplasia causes pain and exercise intolerance, and eventually leads to arthritis and difficulty with mobility.
The reason why German Shepherds are so heavily affected is twofold. First, the symptoms often dont develop until a puppy is nearing or entering adulthood. Dog lovers often adopt or purchase a seemingly healthy puppy, unaware that the disease is laying in wait.
Also, there are several breeders out there looking to make a profit from the popularity of the breed. Rather than ensuring that the quality and integrity of their breeding stock is as high as possible, they knowingly continue to breed adult dogs with obvious signs of dysplasia in order to make money from unsuspecting buyers.
In order to avoid this, it is imperative to choose a reputable, certified breeder or adopt an adult dog whose hips are fully developed already. Many breeders have their dogs certified through OFA or PennHip meaning that a licensed veterinarian has X-rayed the hips under sedation and certified that the animals are suitable for breeding.
Should you find yourself purchasing or adopting a dog with hip dysplasia, you may notice any combination of the following symptoms:
What Are The First Signs Of Hip Dysplasia In Dogs
Weakness and pain in the hind legs are the usual clinical signs. The dog appears wobbly and is reluctant to rise from a sitting or lying position. Some dogs will limp or be reluctant to climb stairs. These signs can be seen in puppies as early as a few months old but are most common in dogs one to two years of age.
How To Prevent Hip Dysplasia In German Shepherds
Today we are going to talk about how to prevent hip dysplasia in German Shepherds. According to data collected from the Orthopedic Animal Foundation, this disease has an incidence of 20 percent and affects a wide variety of breeds. Next, we go into the details of this pathology.
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German Shepherd Health Problems
Your German Shepherd is a large, energetic herding dog. German Shepherds are very intelligent, loyal, and obedient. Originally bred for herding, modern-day German Shepherds work with police and search and rescue units across the world because they are task-oriented, curious, and creative.
Like all dog breeds, German Shepherds are uniquely vulnerable to certain diseases. German Shepherds are more likely than dogs of other breeds to suffer from degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, and dilated cardiomyopathy.
Degenerative Myelopathy in German Shepherds
Degenerative myelopathy is a nerve disease that starts in a dogs spinal cord. If your German Shepherd suffers from degenerative myelopathy, youll begin to notice them losing motor function in their hind legs.
Over time, the weakness will get even worse. Your dog might struggle to get up, and, as the disease progresses, and your dog could lose bowel and urinary control. The dog might also struggle to get up because the disease causes muscles to atrophy. Dogs with degenerative myelopathy can become paralyzed by the disease.
German Shepherds that become partially paralyzed by degenerative myelopathy are good candidates for wheelchairs. Custom made dog wheelchairs by K9 Carts can help your dog stay mobile and preserve their quality of life.
Hip Dysplasia in German Shepherds
Dilated Cardiomyopathy in German Shepherds
Consult Your Vet
Learn More About Your German Shepherds Health
Labrador And Golden Retrievers
Both Labrador and Golden Retrievers have strong genetic risks for hip dysplasia and are prone to weight gain. Studies show that being overweight worsens hip dysplasia symptoms including pain, reluctance to exercise, and difficulty getting up. In fact, a study of Labradors often cited by veterinarians found that lean labs live longer by almost two years! This difference was largely due to life-threatening mobility loss in the higher weight group.
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Does My German Shepherd Have Dysplasia
There are several signs and symptoms of the problem that can indicate whether or not your dog is developing or has already developed some degree of hip dysplasia.
- Being uninterested in playing or walking. Since the dogs are highly energetic, this is a sign that they are either sick or in physical pain.
- Hip injuries can greatly accelerate the chances of developing dysplasia.
- Having a hard time standing up
- Limping or tending to walk more with certain legs than others
- Bunny hoppingusing two legs when they are running or walking to help propel themselves
- Hesitation before going for a walk or a run
- Hesitation when being directed to go up stairs
- Aggression or whimpering when the area around the hips is being touched
If youve been noticing any of these problems occurring with your dog, then it might be time for you to get ahold of your vet. They will be able to give your dog an x-ray which will allow you to find out what steps youll need to take to help manage the issue.
German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia Outlook
Although it may seem scary, theres no need to panic if your GSD is diagnosed with this condition. The prognosis for hip dysplasia is generally good, especially if its caught early. If youre willing to put in some effort, your dog has an excellent chance at living a long and comfortable life after diagnosis.
Hopefully, this post gave you everything you need to know about German Shepherds and hip dysplasia. The most important thing to remember is that its not a death sentence. With proper management through surgery, use of a dog wheelchair, or supplements, your best friend can still live life to the fullest.
Please below if you have any more questions for me or if you have your own story to share. I always love to hear other peoples stories, especially about my favorite breed!
About Alexandra Animalso
I was raised to be a dog person. My first Shepherd grew up as I did and wanted to be where I was at all times. I got my second dog as a 16th birthday present, and her loyalty for me was just as strong as my first. I hope that my contribution to Animalso will help others find dogs who give them that same unconditional love.
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Finding A Good Breeder
Its important to make sure that you have a good breeder. Not all breeders are equal, and some of them dont put in as much effort as others. A responsible breeder wont breed with German Shepherds with hip dysplasia so the genes wont get passed on into their offspring.
There is actually a form of certification available through OFA and PennHip that ensures that German Shepherds and other dogs will be at a lower risk of developing the problem. By using x-rays on dogs, they can figure out which ones are best capable of breeding to pass on genes for healthy hips. This is particularly important for people who want to have working dogs, like police officers.
German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia: Is It Treatable
German Shepherd Hip dysplasia is definitely treatable. In fact, there are several different levels of treatment that may be appropriate for different degrees of severity.
You may also find that your veterinarian recommends different types of treatments as your puppy grows up and begins to develop symptoms.
This helpful short video from VetVid shares more about the different levels of treatment a veterinarian may prescribe for different stages of hip dysplasia.
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German Shepherds And Hip Dysplasia
Shepherds, just like many other breeds of large dog, have a very high risk of developing hip dysplasia. An analysis done by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals revealed that almost 20% of shepherds will develop the problem to at least some degree during their lives.
The condition occurs when the hip sockets are too loose. This causes the femur to rub up against the sockets and can lead to long-term damage. This can be quite painful and if the condition is not dealt with properly it will only continue to get worse.
Hip dysplasia in German Shepherds is often an inherited condition from the parents. However, there are steps that you can take to minimize the chances of them developing the problem or to reduce the impact of it. Many dogs already display signs of dysplasia by the time theyre 4 months old.
Even if they dont develop it by then, hip injuries can contribute to the problem even if their parents didnt have it. This is especially problematic because these dogs are very high energy and love to bound around and get stuff done.
Another thing that can contribute to the problem is arthritis. A lot of German Shepherds develop arthritis at some point during their lives, and this can greatly contribute to pain and inflammation in the hip area .
Duration Of Welfare Impact
Hip dysplasia is a progressive disease with signs seen from any age. For some dogs pain starts before a year of age. Signs may be intermittent to start with but often progress to be constant. Medical treatment and advice can help control pain and possibly slow progression, though a cure can only be obtained with major surgical intervention in dogs that are considered suitable candidates for such surgery.
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What Factors Influence The Appearance Of Hip Dysplasia In German Shepherds
Now, let us see what the most common causes are.
Two factors are generally involved:
Important!Use a good dog leash for German Shepherds when bringing them out to exercise.
Belgian Malinois Hip Dysplasia Symptoms
Hopefully, your Belgian Malinois will never develop hip dysplasia but below are some Belgian Malinois hip dysplasia symptoms. Hip dysplasia can begin at a young age. Listed below are symptoms.
- Stiffness Your pup is slow to get moving.
- difficulty rising Your Malinois has trouble getting up from a seated or prone position.
- Difficulty Sitting If your Belgian Malinois is healthy, they will have no problem sitting comfortably on their haunches. In hip dysplasia, your pup may splay or slouch to the side. Often, they favor one side over the other.
- Reluctance to Play If your pup has always enjoyed the play and gotten excited when youve pulled out a ball but now shows no interest, it could be hip dysplasia or another medical issue.
- Difficulty Jumping or Running Although jumping on people should always be discouraged, if your pup has run and jumped for frisbee or ball in the past and is now reluctant to do so, something is amiss.
- Lameness will occur and is another word for limping or hobbling with difficulty walking. Your pup may also, at times, bunny hop.
- A normally energetic and active Belgian Malinois becomes increasingly inactive.
- Pain Pain in the hip area when touched or with movement. Your pup may also exhibit a decreasing range of motion in the hips.
- Muscle Loss Your Belgian may lose muscle mass in the thighs from inactivity but their shoulders may bulk up and become more muscular from relying more on these muscles.
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Causes Of Hipdysplasia In Dogs
Studies have found that there are several factors that can lead to the development of hip dysplasia in dogs. The most common cause of hip dysplasia in dogs is solely based on genetics.
Large breed dogs, such as the Great Dane, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retrievers, St. Bernard, and German Shepherd dogs are among those canines who have the genetic predisposition for developing this disease.
Additionally, environmental factors,improper nutrition, as well as too much or too little exercise, are alsofactors when it comes to the development of hip dysplasia.
Obesity might also be an issue. Those canine friends that struggle with weight issues and obesity are at a higher risk of preexisting hip dysplasia rapidly worsening and are even responsible for the development of hip dysplasia in some cases.
What About Alternative Medicine Treatments
Acupuncture, class 4 laser, stem cell treatments, and traditional Chinese medicine have all been used to treat hip dysplasia with varying results. To date, rigorous scientific studies on these alternative therapies have been sparse, although some are very encouraging in small studies. Speak with your veterinarian about their experiences and recommendations for complementary medical procedures to help your dog.
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How To Manageyour Dogs Hip Dysplasia
One of the common dog health problems is hip dysplasia a condition that can affect any dog, although it is more common in some breeds over others. Although dog hip dysplasia can be a debilitating condition, it is really important to remember:
while there may have to be some changes made in your dogs life in order to accommodate the condition, there is treatment available that will enable them to continue enjoying life.
In this article, we will find out what exactly is dog hip dysplasia, what can cause it, what are the signs of this condition and how can it be treated to ensure your four-legged friend will enjoy his life on the fullest.
What Is The Cause Of Hip Dysplasia In Dogs
Condition of hip dysplasia is the most common disorder of the skeletal system diagnosed in dogs.
Hip dysplasia is a mostly genetic disease and hereditary in nature. Dogs with hip dysplasia or linked genetically to it should not be bred.
Environmental factors can also play a role in exacerbating and progression of the condition. Hip dysplasia can occur in one hip or bilaterally, in both hips.
Since it is more common in larger breeds, dogs that grow too quickly can put greater strain on joints.
Nutrition also can tip the scale negatively if your Malinois is not getting a proper healthy diet, being overfed, causing speedy growth and weight gain, or too little exercise.
Your Belgian Malinois needs high-quality food to ensure that muscles and joints are growing steadily.
Overfeeding and too little exercise can cause weight gain and strain and stress on joints. Also, puppies need exercise but overdoing it when their bones are still forming can make hip dysplasia worsen quickly, damage growth plates, and cause sprains.
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How Prone Are German Shepherds To Hip Dysplasia
Its interesting to note that research by The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals ranks the GSD 39th in their research on breed specific HD.;And this is not from a small sample! The evaluations run from January 1974 to December 2015. With each breed having at least 100 evaluations during that time.
The GSD had 115933 evaluations in total.;
Whats also interesting is that the cases of HD have remained pretty much the same during this time.;In my opinion, its the popularity of the breed that makes it seem like the GSD is right at the top of the list.
Pet Insurance For German Shepherds
Having your beloved companion diagnosed with health problems is heart-wrenching, which is just one reason that preventive veterinary care is so critical. Regular veterinary visits can help prevent health problems and discover diseases early on in your German Shepherd.;
Pet insurance provides a safety net for your German Shepherd by helping with the cost of high-quality veterinary care. Your pups health plays a massive role in their happiness, so let SPOT give you peace of mind today, knowing that you can be reimbursed later on if your German Shepherd does develop health problems.
S And Prospects For Elimination Of The Problem
Hip dysplasia is a complex trait which involves multiple unknown genes and environmental factors. Eradication schemes have been running in some countries for decades and still it is commonplace. Thus prospects for its quick elimination are low. The OFA scheme to control hip dysplasia relies on one single phenotypical hip trait the score from an EHR. The PennHIP scheme uses two traits, those of the EHR and DI to determine breeding potential and the FCI and BVA/Kennel club schemes also use two traits: the EHR including the NA. In a recent study, Zhang et al suggested that using scores from four hip traits combined to create a breeding value for each animal would help speed up elimination of the condition. This combined score would provide more information about a dogs genetic potential than information about one single trait such as the EHR. They felt that information on the single joint trait EHR gave insufficient information to provide the basis for breeding decisions.
Future development of genetic tests to help identify some of the hip dysplasia genes, along with more use of pedigree data that includes the health of ancestors and progeny , may well help to improve methods used to eliminate this condition. Currently we have to continue to rely on choosing phenotypical traits which apparently indicate the presence of healthy genes.