Hip dysplasia is most commonly seen in puppies, but it can also develop in older dogs with osteoarthritis. It's a musculoskeletal condition that is characterised by either abnormal development or deterioration of the ball and socket joint of the hip. This joint allows your dog's hips to move when they walk, but hip dysplasia causes the joint to become inflamed and this leads to stiffness and reduced mobility. Genetic and environmental factors can play a role in the development of hip dysplasia, and although it can develop in any breed, large breeds tend to have a higher incidence of this musculoskeletal problem than small breeds.
Symptoms Of Hip Dysplasia In Dogs
Early symptoms of hip dysplasia include a sudden unwillingness or loss of interest in play and exercise and difficulty moving to a standing position. Irritability is also common due to joint pain and inflammation, and some dogs will become withdrawn. Hip dysplasia also often causes changes to a dog's gait, and you may notice their back legs seem to be positioned too closely together and that jumping and climbing stairs seems cumbersome. Hip dysplasia that's not treated early can cause loss of muscle mass in the back legs and you may hear a grinding noise caused by joint friction when your dog walks.
Treating Hip Dysplasia In Dogs
Hip dysplasia is diagnosed using a combination of blood tests to check inflammatory markers and diagnostic imaging, such as X-rays, to determine the severity of joint deterioration. Once your dog has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, your vet will discuss suitable treatment options with you. Treatment for hip dysplasia may include medication, such as anti-inflammatories and corticosteroids, or physiotherapy to prevent muscle wasting and improve range of motion. Surgery can be an effective treatment option, particularly in puppies. Surgery for hip dysplasia involves securing the hip to a section of the pelvis to improve joint stability. In certain situations, a hip replacement may be a suitable treatment approach, particularly if other treatment approaches have not been successful in reducing your dog's symptoms. In recent years, stem cell therapy has been trialled as a treatment for hip dysplasia. Stem cells have the ability to transform into other types of cells, so when stem cells from elsewhere in your dog's body are injected into their hip joint, they can become cartilage cells. Additional cartilage can reduce joint friction and inflammation and improve stability.
Hip dysplasia can cause significant suffering when left untreated, so if you think your dog could have this condition, book them with your vet as soon as possible.