What Is Canine Hip Dysplasia
The pelvis cradles the head of the femur in a cup-like socket of bone that forms the hip. Puppies typically are born normal, but as the puppy matures, the hip joint alignment becomes progressively worse.
As a young pet grows, if the alignment isnt just right due to bone abnormalities or laxity of the ligaments and muscles that hold the joint together, the misalignment causes wear and tear on the joint. Pups suffering from dysplasia typically have a very shallow socket and/or loose muscles and tendons. This allows the joint to work loose, which places abnormal stress and wear on the bones when they rub together and causes further joint degeneration and pain. Bones respond to stress by growing thicker, which makes the fit even worse. As the dog matures, this damage predisposes to arthritic changes and painful joints.
What If Nsaids Don’t Help
The alternative to NSAID and medical therapy is surgery. There are several surgical procedures available to treat hip dysplasia. The two most common surgical techniques for hip dysplasia are total hip replacement and femoral head ostectomy . Other less common surgical procedures used to treat hip dysplasia include triple pelvic osteotomy , juvenile pubic symphysiodesis, and DARthroplasty. The choice of surgery will be determined by your pet’s age, condition, and lifestyle. Your veterinarian will be able to provide the best recommendations for your individual pet.
What Causes Hip Dysplasia In German Shepherds
Knowing what can cause poor hip development can be crucial in the early stages of prevention.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease, although the heritability of the trait is low, between 15-40%, according to many studies. The other cause of hip dysplasia in German Shepherds is due to various environmental factors in which puppies grow up which can be prevented.
The three main environmental factors that can exacerbate the likelihood of hip dysplasia are:
- Joint laxity
1. Joint laxity is the main environmental cause of hip dysplasia in German Shepherds. This is when the head of the leg bone does not fit properly into the hip socket due to damaged or severed ligaments. This could occur due to injury, excessive weight, fast growth rate, or poor muscle tone and strength.
Injuries usually occur when puppies are young and rambunctious, or sometimes as they age. Slipping on hard floors, jumping down repeatedly on hard surfaces such as from a car, climbing stairs, and untreated dislocations, can all cause long-term trauma to joints.
2.Puppy weight shows up frequently in studies of German Shepherds developing bad hips. This is because any extra weight can increase the risk of developing hip dysplasia. This includes those puppies that are heavier at birth and those that grow too quickly.
Owners and breeders should discourage free-feeding and instead should follow strict nutrition guidelines specifically for German Shepherd puppies.
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What Breeds Are More Prone To Hip Dysplasia
Due to the importance of genetic predisposition, there are breeds of dogs that are more sensitive to developing this illness. They are as follows:
- Argentine Dog
For small breeds they are:
- French bulldog
- English bulldog
Remember that even if your pet is not on the list, it can suffer from hip dysplasia. In the next section, we will look at the different classifications of hip dysplasia.
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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How Common Are Hip Problems In German Shepherds
The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals collates information regarding orthopedic and genetic diseases of animals with their ultimate aim being to reduce these diseases.
It is common for German Shepherds to have hip problems. From a total of 128,645 evaluations through December 2019, 20.5% of GSDs were dysplastic. That means roughly 1 in 5 dogs were affected.Statistics show that large and giant breeds are more at risk.
Its important to note though that different countries use different scoring protocols. The OFA system uses a scoring system for dogs with a minimum age of 2 years whereas the British Veterinary Association/The Kennel Club uses a separate scoring system and evaluates German Shepherds from 12 months.
Also, The Fédération Cynologique Internationale uses a different scoring system which is utilized in most European countries, Russia, South America, and Asia.
This study from Frontiers in Veterinary Science explains more about different hip scoring protocols in various countries.
The same study of common large breed dogs in Switzerland from 1995 to 2016 showed the largest decline of hip dysplasia in German Shepherds over 22 years, compared to the other investigated breeds.
The scoring system used by Switzerland combines the British system and the FCI grading system allowing a more structured and objective scoring.
How To Help German Shepherds With Hip Problems
Hip problems plague German shepherds, but helping an individual dog depends on his actual diagnosis. The two most common hip issues affecting the breed are hip dysplasia and degenerative myelopathy, which are very different conditions. Like many dogs, German shepherds are prone to arthritis as they age, which often afflicts the hips.
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 Signs
The following are the warning signs that a German shepherd suffers from hip dysplasia.
- Shows signs of pain when touched in the hip
Its also worth noting that a German shepherds hip dysplasia gets harder to treat the older your dog gets. Thats why its important to detect it early on to avoid further damage to your dogs skeletal system.
If you think knowing the symptoms are enough for you to avoid your dogs demise, then youre mistaken. The German shepherd hip dysplasia signs dont show up until your dog turns 2 years old, in which case theyre already an adult.
Thats why the only way to be 100% sure of a presence of hip dysplasia is through specialized x-ray.
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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.
How Is Hip Dysplasia In Dogs Diagnosed
The only way to know for sure if your dog has hip dysplasia is to have it x-rayed. This is typically done under anesthesia.
While sedated, the dog is completely relaxed and it allows the vet to manipulate the hips to feel any degree of looseness.
There are two certifications:
OFA will not certify a dog under 2 years of age, while a PennHIP evaluation can be done as early as 4 months.
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What You Need To Know About Australian Shepherd Hip Dysplasia
Australian shepherds, commonly called Aussies, are known for their high levels of intelligence, loyal and affectionate dispositions, and extremely energetic natures. Aussies are happy to run, hike, and play for hours with their humans. This active breeds fun-loving personality makes it all the more striking when they start to display signs of pain or discomfort in their hips and hind legs.
There are several skeletal and muscular issues that can cause leg pain in dogs. Canine hip dysplasia is one of the most common canine ailments. In a healthy dogs hips, the ball and socket fit together, allowing for smooth motion of the hip joint. CHD is a malformation of that joint which causes the ball and socket not to fit together comfortably, resulting in the joint pieces rubbing or grinding together. This is a painful condition that can cause lameness, limping, or degeneration of the joint in extreme cases.
While large-breed dogs are most susceptible to CHD, medium-sized dogs like Australian shepherds are also frequently affected.
Other Common Australian Shepherd Hip Problems
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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How Can Hip Dysplasia In Dogs Be Prevented
One way to slow down the progression of the side effects of hip dysplasia is to keep your pet at a healthy weight, especially when hes young, Kirkwood says. You can also have your dog screened for the condition at a young age using hip x-rays. These radiographs can help you determine how likely it is your dog will have problems in the future and whether you want to consider early surgical intervention.
According to Kirkwood, hip dysplasia typically doesnt affect a dogs life expectancy, but it can. If a dog becomes so painful that no longer wants to get up and walk around, she explains, it can be very difficult to maintain a good quality of lifeespecially since most dogs who suffer from the condition are large breeds.
If you have a large breed dog of any age, dont hesitate to ask your veterinary team about the risks and signs of hip dysplasia. A veterinarian who knows your pet and can examine him in person is in the best position to offer information and advice.
What Are The Symptoms
The symptoms that can alert us that our pet suffers from possible hip dysplasia are:
- Pain on palpation
- Walking and jogging with swinging hips
- Joint stiffness
- Does not want to get up or move
- Changes in mood
Whenever you have questions about your German Shepherds health, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
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Clinical And Pathological Effects
Hip dysplasia is a disease of the hip joints. Dysplasia means abnormal development. Both hips are usually affected . It is a complex disease that results from a combination of genes that predispose a dog to developing hip dysplasia interacting with environmental factors that lead to its full development and expression . It is characterized by hip joint instability which, if compounded by environmental factors, then results in secondary osteoarthritis and the clinical signs of hip dysplasia which include pain, lameness and disability .
Hip dysplasia is described as a biomechanical disease. The hips appear normal at birth. However, in affected individuals, the hips develop abnormally due, at first, to joint instability . This means that the developing femoral head and acetabulum are not held constantly, closely together, and can move into abnormal positions relative to one another. This puts abnormal stresses and strains on the joint. Riser states this is due to the soft tissues, such as ligaments and muscle, not being strong enough to maintain congruity between the articular surfaces of the femoral head and the acetabulum ie the constant contact between the surfaces of the bones is not maintained.
Joint laxity can lead on to joint subluxation that in turn causes flattening of the acetabular cup and femoral head . The pathological changes seen due to the joint instability are progressive inflammation and degeneration of the tissues that together form the joint.
German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia Is Hereditary
Theres no preventing a German Shepherds hip dysplasia. The same goes for curing such a disorder. As far as statistics is concerned, 20% of dogs in this breed are diagnosed with hip dysplasia.
They inherit the trait from their parents, but the severity may depend on the owner of the German shepherd.
For example, a well-trained and health dog may experience less pain, while those that are often neglected may have it worse than others.
Theres more than one way to determine how severe a German shepherds hip dysplasia may be. One such factor is their breed.
In fact, DDR German shepherds or East German shepherds, are known for being immune to severe hip dysplasia, although they can still inherit such a trait if bred with other breeds.
Thats precisely why a responsible owner should know how to find out the presence of a German shepherds hip dysplasia.
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Reduce Pain And Inflammation
Theres a reason your dog is hesitant to play ball like he used to, after all. Hes in pain from common German Shepherd hip problems!
But fortunately, MSM, a powerful antioxidant and building block for healthy joints, can help reduce the pain and inflammation your dog experiences from hip dysplasia.
And the great news is that this ingredient is often found in joint supplements. Additionally, MSM may become even more effective when used alongside glucosamine, another common active ingredient.
To top it all off, MSM is great for your dogs immune system, so he wont have to deal with something as mundane as a cold on top of managing his hip dysplasia.
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.
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