How to Deal with Hip Dysplasia in Dogs


The hip consists of a ball and a socket. The normal structure of the hip is when the ball fits into its socket. When this ball doesn’t fit into its socket, it causes a disease called hip dysplasia. Great Danes, St. Bernards, Labradors, Golden retrievers, Mastiffs and German shepherds are some of the larger breeds that are very susceptible to this disease.  Smaller breeds, although not completely out of danger, have a smaller chance of getting affected by hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia gradually reduces the mobility of the animal, leading to the loss of function in its hips if left untreated.

Hip dysplasia is not a congenital defect in dogs, i.e., it is not seen in puppies at birth. The early onset of hip dysplasia develops after four to six weeks of age. Certain dogs develop hip dysplasia much later on at around one or two years. Osteoarthritis (joint inflammation) can also lead to the development of hip dysplasia in dogs. Hip dysplasia is a skeletal disorder, and causes severe pain to the dog. It is also known to affect cats.

This crippling disease is caused due to various factors. Most common is the genetic make-up of the dog. However, the exact genes causing hip dysplasia are not known. Other factors include improper nutrition, sudden obesity causes a lot of pressure on the dog’s hip, and too much or too little exercise are some of the causes for hip dysplasia.

Detecting the exact problem our furry friends go through is a bit tricky, but if the following symptoms are noticed in your dog, it needs immediate medical attention.

  • sudden decrease in activity
  • loss of thigh muscle
  • lameness in the hind legs
  • reluctant to jump, run or climb stairs
  • difficulty in getting up or lying down

Early intervention in dogs suffering from hip dysplasia can significantly reduce the damage this crippling disease might cause to the dog.

Almost 90% of dogs affected by hip dysplasia due to genetics show symptoms by 2 years of age. An X-ray of the hip is used to confirm the severity of hip dysplasia. A complete blood panel and a physical exam are done to confirm the dog’s condition. In mild cases of hip dysplasia, treatments include maintaining an ideal weight, regular exercise, and physiotherapy. Anti-inflammatory medications are generally given to decrease pain. In extreme cases, surgery is recommended.

As a pet parent, it can be frustrating and devastating to watch your fur baby go through so much pain and difficulty. As hip dysplasia has no cure, the quality of life for your pet can be improved by making life easier and less painful. As dogs affected by hip dysplasia find it very difficult to get up or lie down, sleeping on the floor or even the couch can worsen the dog’s condition. By using an orthopaedic bed made especially for dogs having a condition like hip dysplasia, lessens the pain and also helps to avoid worsening the dog’s condition.

A dog can change your life. It can heal you, make you happy and show you what unconditional love feels like. When they get sick, it’s our duty to take care of them and make life as comfortable and easy as it can be. Dogs with hip dysplasia need proper care and affection. Although this condition does not have a cure, it can be maintained by proper diet and exercise. Buying an orthopaedic dog bed is definitely a small investment to help improve your dog’s condition drastically.

Are there any other methods to take care of a dog with hip dysplasia? Please share them with us in the comments below.

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