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How To Treat Hip Dysplasia In German Shepherds

How Long Can A Dog Live With Hip Dysplasia

German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia: Warning Signs, Treatment, Prevention

Hip dysplasia should not shorten your dogs life at all. As long as it receives treatment and is well taken care of at home, any dog with the condition should go on to lead a full and active life.

Problems only occur if the dog eats too much or discomfort prevents them from exercising enough to keep their weight down. Weight gain can make the effects of hip dysplasia worse, which will in turn further reduce their ability to exercise, climb stairs and could cause heart problems.

Proper pain relief will prevent this from happening and will allow your dog to be as active as ever.

Toegrips Dog Nail Grips

Dogs with hip dysplasia often struggle to rise from and walk on slippery floors. Dr. Buzbys ToeGrips® dog nail grips help dogs that slip and slide on slick floors with both their footing and confidence. ToeGrips® dog nail grips fit snugly on dogs toenails to restore their traction on hardwood floors and smooth surfaces.

The non-slip grips can make a huge difference in comfort and mobility for dogs with hip dysplasia.

Treatment Begins With Getting Your Dog Help For Hip Dysplasia

Finally, you know your dog better than anyone. If your dog with hip dysplasia is painful , talk with your veterinarian about options. Pain is the number one inhibitor to quality of life for my canine patients, and perhaps for your dog too. Improving a dogs physical and mental well-being through pain management brings my clients and patients relief and brings me great joy as a veterinarian.

Of this Im confident: when it comes to treating the pain in dogs associated with hip dysplasia, multimodal therapy is best. In other words, some combination of the 11 tips on this list will yield the greatest success. Dogs may respond differently to different products and therapies, expressing a type of individual variation, much like humans.

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Which Breeds Can Get Hip Dysplasia

While bigger dogs are more prone to hip dysplasia because of their size, the condition can affect dogs of all sizes. Rapid weight gain and growth can complicate a dogs development of hip dysplasia. Diet and exercise play an essential part in the development or prevention of hip dysplasia in dogs. A good diet ensures that your dog stays at the weight that is best for them and keeps their bones and joints healthy.

How To Make Your Dog’s Days A Little Easier When Living With Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia in German Shepherds

Your poor pup just got himself a hip dysplasia diagnosis. What now?

First of all, what does this mean? Canine hip dysplasia is a developmental malformation typically seen in large breed dogs, such as German shepherds. It occurs when the ball and socket portions of the hip joint dont meet together properly. Thus, instead of gliding smoothly, the hip joint grinds and grates, causing pain and mobility issues for your dog.

When to Visit Your VeterinarianBecause hip dysplasia in dogs is an inherited condition, selective breeding is the only real prevention method. According to Dr. Karen Becker, a veterinarian and integrative pet care expert at Mercola Healthy Pets, early identification is crucial. If you have an at-risk dog, she recommends X-rays to get an idea of what the hips look like before you ever notice symptoms.

If youve never had your German shepherd X-rayed and he starts limping or slowing down on your walks, get him to the vet immediately. The sooner you can get that diagnosis, the sooner you can begin easing some of the effects, she says.

Here are some tips for dealing with hip dysplasia in dogs:

  • Dr. Schuler recommends providing low impact exercise daily, such as slow leash walks or swimming.
  • Maintain your dogs weight. Extra weight equals extra strain on the joints.
  • Get CozyKeep your dog warm during colder weather to reduce arthritic pain in winter months.
  • Utilize ramps to help your dog avoid climbing stairs whenever possible.
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    Short Term Aftercare And Follow Up

    Follow up radiographs are evaluated about 5-6 weeks after surgery. A rehabilitation program typically begins at that time when it is confirmed that everything is healed and okay to proceed. The Rehab Program typically consists of taking the dog for walks 2-3 times a day for the next 30 days. The Rehab Program is specifically designed for each individual dog with specific time, duration, and distance parameters established for each day on the program.

    Normal activity is usually allowed within 30 days after the follow up radiographs . For working dogs and those that will be very active, the Rehab Program is specifically tailored to extend into their future training and conditioning plans. This program is geared towards allowing dogs to achieve the owners desired intent for the dogs function . Limitations of the most vigorous and strenuous activity are also described.

    Symptoms Of Hip Dysplasia In Dogs

    Hip dysplasia is more common in larger breed dogs, although it can occur in any breed. The condition will usually be diagnosed at 6 to 12 months of age and symptoms will start to appear at different stages, depending on the individual. Watch out for signs such as your dog being a bit unsteady on their feet or having difficulties getting up. Affected dogs will often have more difficulty going up stairs than down them, due to the weight distribution being greater through the back legs as they ascend. Depending on the severity of the condition, these are some of the most common symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs:

    • Stiffness.
    • Unwillingness to go for walks or exercise.
    • Bunny hopping or other abnormal gaits.
    • Limping.
    • Less toned thigh muscles.
    • Pain in some cases.

    If you notice any of these signs, dont hesitate to contact your vet for their diagnosis.

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    Infinite Hip & Joint Supplement

    The third joint supplement on our list, Infinite Hip & Joint Supplement, is an all-natural option that contains glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM.

    It also contains turmeric, which can help reduce inflammation in your dogs body.

    This supplement is manufactured in the USA and is very affordable but comes with a catch.

    Theres no hyaluronic acid and significantly fewer active ingredients than TRI-ACTA H.A. for pets.

    As such, this may be a better option for pet parents who are simply looking to maintain overall joint health, rather than treat hip dysplasia.

    Price $24.97 as of September 2021

    Proper Diet For Dogs With Dysplasia

    Hip Dysplasia, German Shepherd with Hip Dysplasia trying to stand up. Disabled German Shepherd.

    Your dog’s weight plays an important role in the wear and tear on their hips. Extra weight adds stress to hip joints, so ensure your dog is on a healthy diet, especially if they’re a large breed. You can work with your vet to find the right eating regimen for your dog. Keeping your dog at their ideal weight can slow the onset of dysplasia.

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    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.

    Contributors: Tammy Hunter, DVM Ernest Ward, DVM

    How Is Hip Dysplasia Diagnosed

    Hip dysplasia is one of the conditions that vets watch for whenever your dog has an examination. During your pets regular physical exams, your primary care vet will check the condition of all your dog’s joints. Vets will often move the dogs hind legs to identify any grinding sounds, signs of pain, or reduced range of motion. If your dog is showing signs of hip dysplasia, blood tests may be recommended which can indicate inflammation as a result of joint disease.

    Your veterinarian might also request your dogs complete health and medical history including a rundown of specific symptoms, and any injuries that may have caused them. Knowing your pets lineage isn’t essential but can offer insights into your dog’s risk hip dysplasia. X-rays can also be very helpful in diagnosing the severity of your dog’s hip dysplasia, as well as for treatment planning.

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    Keep Their Nails Trimmed

    Many owners dont know this, but your dog walks on their toes or digits, called digitigrade walking. This means they need to feel the surface beneath their toes in order to provide feedback for their balance and prevent falls.

    Keeping your dogs nails trimmed isnt only healthy paw care, but it allows them to maintain their natural gait and smooth walking, which assists in their balance.

    Ignoring your dogs foot health, especially when they have hip problems, can create a multitude of additional health and joint pain down the road. When their nails are too long, they may change their gait which can cause skeletal changes and aggravate arthritis in their feet and toes .

    Dont let overgrown nails cause your dog pain!

    You can trim their nails at home or ask your vets off to trim their nails. This is usually a small price and sometimes free with a regular visit.

    And many dog groomers offer mobile services that cater specifically to older dogs or dogs with special care needs. Its not as expensive as you think and its free to call and ask the groomer for a quote.

    Trust me, its better than keeping your dog in pain with overgrown nails.

    Other Common Australian Shepherd Hip Problems

    Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

    While hip dysplasia is the most prevalent canine hip issue, there may be other issues if your pup is displaying pain or discomfort in its hips or legs and CHD is not the cause. Panosteitis is another common issue that occurs in Australian shepherds. It is different from hip dysplasia in that it primarily affects the front legs, is temporary, and affects the long bones of the legs. It is most common in younger dogs, and like CHD, it can result in limping, lameness, swelling, etc.

    Hypertrophic osteodystrophy is another growth-related leg issue that causes inflammation of the long bones. Osteoarthritis is a common ailment in older dogs caused by age-related muscle and joint degeneration. Other leg and joint diseases include osteochondritis dissecans and Legg-Calve-Perths Disease. Always consult with a veterinary professional for the correct diagnosis before moving forward with any treatment plan for your beloved pet.

    It is never fun to watch your dog struggle with hip or leg pain, and it can be especially frustrating to watch pain limit your Australian shepherds natural love of running and playing. However, CHD is a treatable condition and there are many options that can ensure your Aussie is able to live a long, pain-free life.

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    What Causes Hip Dysplasia In Dogs

    Hip dysplasia in dogs is a genetic condition. It is unclear why some individuals with the genes develop clinical symptoms and others dont, but it cannot be prevented. However, there are environmental and dietary factors that can make the condition worse. For example, a rapid increase in your dogs weight can make your pets hip dysplasia more painful.

    What Symptoms Should I Look For

    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. Dogs with mild hip dysplasia on radiographs may develop minimal arthritis without clinical signs until they are older. In fact, although hip dysplasia begins in puppyhood, most dogs do not develop clinical signs until they are older. It often takes years of gradual bone degeneration until a dog becomes symptomatic.

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    German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia: What You Need To Know

    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.

    Contents & Quick Navigation

  • German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia Outlook
  • What Is Hip Dysplasia And Why Are Gsds Prone To It

    german shepherd – hip dysplasia

    Hip Dysplasia is a genetically inherited disease where the femur sits too shallow and doesnt fit snug in the hip socket.

    Depending on the grade it can be painful, and in most cases HD sets the stage for arthritis in later life. In severe cases, this can happen early on, even in puppy stages.

    Its believed that this disease stems from inbreeding during the breeds early life. It was a case of catch 22 back then. Because the goal of inbreeding was to preserve other traits in the breed.

    But I believe if the early breeders of the GSD knew then what we know now, they would have done things differently.

    Also, unfortunately, show breeders often breed their German Shepherds with overly angulated hind quarters. The reason for this angulation is to achieve a desirable stack or stance during showing.

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    I Have Been Told That My Dog Has Hip Dysplasia But She Isn’t Lame Is That Diagnosis Correct

    Hip dysplasia is a deformity of the hip that occurs during growth. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. During growth, both the ball and the socket in the pelvis must grow at equal rates.

    In hip dysplasia, this uniform growth during puppyhood does not occur. The result is laxity of the joint, followed by degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis , which is the body’s attempt to stabilize the loose hip joint.

    The degree of lameness that occurs is dependent on the extent of these arthritic changes and may not be correlated with the appearance of the hip joint on X-rays. Some pets with significant signs of hip dysplasia or osteoarthritis on X-rays may not exhibit any clinical signs, while others with minimal changes may experience severe pain and lameness.

    How Is Canine Hip Dysplasia Diagnosed

    The vet will examine your dog for any signs of gait abnormalities or signs such as pain on hip examination. Your vet will usually recommend X-rays to look for signs of structural changes to the joint although these will not be visible in all cases. Your pet may be referred to an orthopaedic specialist for additional investigations.

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    Surgical Treatment Options For A Dog With Hip Dysplasia

    Surgery may be presented by your veterinarian as the optimal course of action for hip dysplasia. For example, surgery is typically recommended for young dogs without evidence of arthritis. The most commonly performed procedures are juvenile pelvic symphysiodesis , triple pelvic ostectomy , total hip replacement , or femoral head/neck ostectomy . You can find excellent and concise information about each surgical procedure on the American College of Veterinary Surgeons website.

    But surgical treatment can be costly with significant recovery periods, and Im well aware that surgery is simply not an option for everyone. As first-line treatment, veterinarians typically talk with clients about medicine for hip dysplasia in dogs.

    Adequan Injections For Dogs With Hip Dysplasia

    Hip Dysplasia In Dogs: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments ...

    Im also a huge fan of Adequan injections for treating dogs with hip dysplasia. Adequan Canine is a prescription polysulfated glycosaminoglycan that works like oral joint supplements to keep the cartilage in your dogs joints healthy and intact. However, because it is injected into the dogs muscle , it penetrates much better than oral products. It doesnt work for every dog, but Ive seen some pretty dramatic results.

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    Stage : Treating For Pain And Discomfort

    In many ways, hip dysplasia is actually a type of canine arthritis. As such, it often causes pain and inflammation that is quite similar to arthritis.

    In this stage, where there is some discomfort but it is fairly mild, your veterinarian may opt for symptoms management only.

    Canine NSAIDs can be helpful to lessen inflammation and ease pain.

    Veterinarians today often recommend health supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin as well as pain medications.

    What Are Signs Of Hip Dysplasia In Dogs

    Every dog is different when it comes to displaying symptoms of hip dysplasia. While the condition typically starts to develop when the puppy is as young as five months old, symptoms may not become apparent until the dog reaches their middle or senior years. Dog owners should keep an eye out for these symptoms as their puppy grows into adulthood:

    • Signs of discomfort or pain while exercising
    • Back legs are stiff when he walks
    • Stiffness when running
    • Loss of muscle tone in back legs or thighs
    • Reluctance to climb stairs, run or jump
    • Grating or grinding of the joint when moving
    • Stiffness when rising from resting position
    • Lameness in hind end
    • Running with a ‘bunny hop’

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    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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