What Are The Symptoms Of Hip Dysplasia
Alas, pets are notorious for hiding their painand the fact that they cant express when, why, and where they are aching can be excruciating for both pups and their parents.
With hip dysplasia, though, the signs are more obvious than for an ear infection or hyperthyroidism.
One of the most recognizable warning signs of hip dysplasia islamenesslimping and/or an odd hop, and not a pep, in your German shepherds step, particularly after exercising. Such lameness can range from mild and subtle to severe and conspicuous.
If your German shepherd has hip dysplasia, they may also show reluctance when they encounter a set of stairs. As you can imagine, climbing is especially uncomfortable when the ball of the hip and the socket are rubbing against each other. And when you do get them to climb stairs? Theyll have difficulty doing so.
Are your German shepherds hind legs looking thinner and less muscular than they once were? This could also be a symptom of hip dysplasia.
You might also find that their back has a slope to it, or theyre not jumping on your couch for cuddles as often as they once did. They may also move slowly after being roused from a nap.
Other symptoms of hip dysplasia include:4
- Sensitivity in their hind legs
- A pop sound when your German shepherd moves
- Behavioral changes, such as heightened aggression or despondency
- Alterations in the way they sit
- Larger, disproportionately muscular shouldersan effect of using their front legs more often
When Is Hip Surgery Needed
A definitive diagnosis of a hip disorder such as a fracture or hip dysplasia in dogs usually comes with a radiograph of the dogs hips to determine the degree and severity of the problem, which will help determine the best course of treatment for the dog.
There are quite a few hip dysplasia dog treatments, ranging from lifestyle modifications to surgery. If the condition is not severe, or if the dog is not a candidate for surgery for medical or financial reasons, the veterinarian may recommend a conservative approach. The choice of treatment will take into account the age, condition and lifestyle of the dog, the severity of the symptoms, the physical and radiographic findings and the economic situation of the owner.
Surgical intervention is indicated where conservative treatment is not effective, where athletic performance is desired, or in young animals where owners wish to slow the progression of degenerative joint disease and increase the likelihood of good long-term limb function.If the dog is a good candidate for surgery, there are several surgical procedures available and the veterinarian will provide the best recommendations for each individual animal. the most common surgeries used to treat hip conditions including hip dysplasia in dogs are:
- Total Hip Replacement
- Triple Pelvic Osteotomy
- Femoral Head Ostectomy
What Causes Hip Dysplasia
Predominantly a hereditary condition, genetics is the leading contributor to the development of hip dysplasia in dogs. Although hip dysplasia is most often seen in large and giant breed dogs such as mastiffs, St. Bernards, Rottweilers, retrievers and bulldogs, a number of smaller breeds are also susceptible, such as pugs and French bulldogs.
If hip dysplasia is left untreated in the early stages, the condition of the hip is likely to deteriorate further and affect both hips . In later years, hip dysplasia in dogs is likely to be compounded by other painful conditions such as osteoarthritis.
There are a number of other factors that can exacerbate a genetic predisposition to hip dysplasia in dogs.
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How Do I Recognize The Symptoms Of Hip Dysplasia In Dogs
If possible, its important to know your dogs family history and whether hip dysplasia in dogs is present in any of your dogs relatives. If there is a family history, youll be more watchful for any early signs of symptoms.
Early signs of hip dysplasia in dogs are mild. But the signs of hip dysplasia in dogs worsen over time. And, even if there is no family history or if it is unknown, here is a list of things to look for as your dogs hip movement declines.
Symptoms to watch for:
- Walking with stiffened back legs
- Running with a bunny hop
- Stiffness when getting up or running
- Trouble rising from a prone position
- Loss of muscle tone in the back legs
- Reluctance to enjoy previously enjoyable physical activities
Like most illnesses and disorders, dog hip dysplasia can be more successfully treated when caught early. If you notice any of these symptoms, visit your veterinarian. Your vet will conduct an x-ray to visualize the sockets of your dogs hips to make a proper diagnosis.
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I Would Like To Know More
We recommend making an appointment with either:
Dr Lucas Beierer, Stafford Hospital – 3359 0777
Dr Tim Pearson, Northlakes – 3384 2222
If you are not local to Brisbane, we are happy to discuss eligible cases over the phone as a preliminary step. Having a copy of your pets medical history submitted to the hospital in advance of this phone call is recommended.
How Is Dog Hip Dysplasia Diagnosed
Dog hip dysplasia can be indicated by a veterinarian through performing a physical exam, which can find evidence of the condition. However, specific X-rays techniques, commonly referred to as hip scoring is the most useful. The PennHIP method of hip scoring is regarded as the most useful. However, there are also some older methods that may be of some help.
If you have a puppy, speak to your local vet about PennHIP or distraction radiographs. At 16 weeks, this is where dogs are in the prime of their developmental structure of their hips. For some dogs with hip dysplasia there are options to perform a minimally invasive procedure under general anaesthesia called Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis where a small cut is made to assist with the development of the pelvis and prevent osteoarthritis Testing can be performed when the puppy is young
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German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia: What You Need To Know
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Hip dysplasia or Elbow dysplasia in German Shepherds and other large dog breeds its a condition that affects the elbow-joint by causing multiple developmental abnormalities like the growth of the cartilage or other structures around it. It starts with puppies 9 months to 1-year-old. Treating elbow dysplasia can be expansive, costing around $1000 to $3000 per hip.
Keep reading to find out more about what hip dysplasia is, and what you can do about it.
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What Is The Treatment
Treatment depends upon the pets clinical signs and amount of discomfort. There are very effective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that have minimal side effects. The choice of medication is made on an individual basis, and various drugs may be tried before finding the most effective one.
Treatment depends upon the pets clinical signs and amount of discomfort.
Most dogs with hip dysplasia should receive veterinary-approved glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and omega-3 fatty acid nutritional supplements. Many dogs with painful hip dysplasia will benefit from polysulfated glycosaminoglycan injections on a regular basis. Moderate daily exercise, avoiding high impact activities such as jumping, may help keep the patient mobile and strengthen surrounding support structures.
Physical therapy has been demonstrated to be highly effective at improving an affected dogs quality of life and should be part of any treatment regimen. Since excess weight puts undue stress on the hip joints, weight loss is strongly recommended in overweight dogs.
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What Are The Treatment Options
After a thorough veterinarian examination and x-rays, a treatment course will be determined. Some very early stages may be treated with non-surgical therapy however, surgical options still may be the most effective. If hip dysplasia is caught early and muscle loss, reduced mobility, and osteoarthritis are not present, a few surgical options are available: Triple Pelvic Osteotomy , Femoral Head Osteotomy , and Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis .
TPO and FHO are generally good options for dogs who have not lost significant muscle in the joint area. TPO cuts the pelvis in three places to allow the ball of the femur to align with the hip joint socket. FHO involves removing the head of the femur to prevent painful rubbing of the joints. The surrounding muscles can then provide necessary support.
JPS is not a common procedure as it is used for early intervention, typically between 12 and 16 weeks of age. JPS aims to fuse the bones of the pubis before they close naturally during growth. By changing the alignment of the hip sockets, they can hook naturally with the ball part of the joint. Unfortunately, this method does not have an extremely high success rate so it is not a common procedure.
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Risk Factors Of Hip Dysplasia
While you can control some factors that impact your dogs chances of dealing with hip dysplasia, like their exercise levels and diet, there are a few things that may predispose your dog to the condition. Here are some things that you cant control that may impact your dogs chances of being diagnosed with hip dysplasia:
- Genetics: Your dog may have inherited the disorder from one of their parents.³ A DNA test may tell you what your newly adopted puppy inherited and help you prepare for future medical hiccups.
- Age: Young dogs can develop hip dysplasia as they grow. Some show symptoms at 7 months of age, especially rapidly growing hounds like Great Danes. However, mature dogs are more likely to get this disorder due to wear and tear on their joints. Paying attention is critical to catch dysplasia in dogs early so it isnt left untreated.
- Breed: Great Danes, golden retrievers, and German shepherds are large dogs who typically inherit hip dysplasia.³ Take a moment to peruse our dog breed articles and educate yourself about which dog breeds inherit which diseases it can save you from huge surprises.
Understanding Hip Dysplasia In Cats And Dogs
Hip dysplasia is a skeletal condition of the hip joint that is more common in large breed dogs but can also be seen in smaller breeds even some cats. Pets diagnosed by a veterinarian with this condition have improper development of the ball and socket of the hip joint. When the ball does not move smoothly in the socket as it should, it can rub and grind, causing discomfort and deterioration.
To diagnose hip dysplasia in pets, the veterinarian will perform a physical examination, but they may also call for radiographs for a definitive diagnosis. For more information on hip dysplasia in dogs, please refer to our essential guide, here.
Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment can involve lifestyle modifications , medications, physical therapy, or surgery. The most common surgeries for hip dysplasia are femoral head ostectomy , double or triple pelvic osteotomy or a total hip replacement . Surgery can cost anywhere from $1,700 to $6,000+.
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Are German Shepherds Prone To Hip Dysplasia
Unfortunately, yes. This beautiful breed is prone to hip dysplasia with around 20% of evaluated dogs showing signs of it.
If you are looking into buying a German Shepherd puppy, the first thing you need to do is check to see if the breeders certified the hips of the parents. This is because hip dysplasia is genetic. If the breeders dont certify their dogs hips, stay far away from them.
Hip certification involves having specialized x-rays taken of your dogs hips after the age of 2 to look for early signs of hip dysplasia. Although a clean x-ray doesnt guarantee that a dog wont develop this condition, it does mean that they probably dont have the hip dysplasia genes.
With nearly 1 in every 5 German Shepherds developing hip dysplasia, it seems like there would be more people working to end it. However, there is one huge reason that this condition continues to be so prevalent in this breed: money.
People that see the popularity of this breed recognize it as an opportunity to cash in. They have no desire to improve the breed and so they dont practice good breeding habits.
Here are some of the things these breeders do that perpetuate hip dysplasia in German Shepherds:
- Dont check hips of breeding stock at all
- Breed dogs that are younger than 2 years so their condition is unknown
- Knowingly breed dogs with bad hips because theyre beautiful
What Causes Hip Dysplasia In Dogs
In dogs, hip dysplasia is predominantly a hereditary condition, with genetics being the leading contributor to the development of the condition. Breeds that commonly suffer from hip dysplasia include large and giant dogs such as mastiffs, St. Bernards, Rottweilers, retrievers and bulldogs, but a number of smaller breeds such as French bulldogs and pugs may also be susceptible.
If hip dysplasia is left untreated in the early stages, it will likely continue to worsen with age and affect both hips. Hip dysplasia may also be compounded by other painful conditions such as osteoarthritis in senior dogs.
While hip dysplasia is an inherited condition, other factors can exacerbate the genetic predisposition. Poor weight management and nutrition, accelerated growth rate, and some types of exercise can all play a role in the development of the condition. Obesity puts an abnormal amount of stress on your pups joints and may aggravate pre-existing hip dysplasia or even cause the condition.
To help avoid hip dysplasia its important to consult your vet regarding the right amount of daily exercise for your pup, and the most appropriate diet for their breed, age, and size.
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What Does Surgery Involve
Hip replacement surgery entails the replacement of the entire hip joint with an artificial joint . The top of the thigh bone , which forms the ball of the hip joint, is removed and replaced with a metal ball. A plastic cup replaces the acetabulum or socket. These artificial components can be held in position using cement or in some cases can be cementless .
Dogs may require surgery on one or both hips. Hip replacement is rarely performed on both sides at the same time as this increases the risk of complications. However, even where there are problems with both hips, replacement performed on one side only can often significantly improve clinical signs .
Following surgery, a period of restricted activity is required to allow healing of soft tissues. Recovery times of 6-12 weeks would be considered normal. Further x-rays are usually required to check the new hip. It is important that post operative instructions from your vet are strictly followed to reduce the risk of complications.
Hip Dysplasia Risk #: Dogs Who Are Overweight
Extra weight puts unnecessary stress on a dogs joints. And while excessive bodyweight can cause problems for just about any four-footer, it can be especially hard on dogs whore predisposed to hip dysplasia.
Indeed, carrying a few extra pounds can be disastrous for pups predisposed to the condition. With the joints structure already compromised because of dysplasia, the wear-and-tear caused by the extra weight can accelerate the breakdown of bone and appearance of pain.
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Which Breeds Are Prone To Canine Hip Dysplasia
German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers are the most commonly affected breeds, but any large and giant breed dogs are at risk for canine hip dysplasia.
If you have a large or giant-breed dog, set up monthly checkups between 8 weeks and 10 months of age to help determine if surgical options are needed.
What Do I Do When I Arrive At The Hospital
- Patients may park in the visitors parking lot and enter through the D-wing entrance near the Emergency Department. Click here for more information about parking services.
- During peak hours, parking can take longer than expected. Please allow yourself extra time to accommodate this. Alternate options are to take public transit or be dropped off by a family member or friend.
- Check in at Patient Registration located in C-wing on level 2 using our self-serve kiosks.
- Once you have checked in, make your way to Room 2705 on level 2 of the C-wing
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Does A German Shepherds Hip Dysplasia Shorten Its Life Span
Unfortunately, canine hip dysplasia can shorten a German shepherds life span. This is because the condition can cause pain and lameness. As time goes by, the hips will deteriorate, and this will make it harder for your German shepherd to walk, run, and play.
They become less active, making it harder for them to keep playing with you, or your kids if you have any.