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What Is Hip Dysplasia In Dogs - How Does It Affects Your Dog

Author : Jared Wright

Nothing can be worse than discovering that your new puppy has a genetic disease. It seems so unfair that, simply by being born to certain parents, a pup is automatically given a life of disease and hardship. The most important thing a pet owner can do in this situation is to understand fully the disease that has developed and to try to give the pup the best life possible, living with that condition.

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that affects some dogs worse than others. Before we can discuss the nature of the disease, it would be useful to take a look at the joint in question. The hip joint is what is called a ball and socket joint. The name is fairly self explanatory: the first bone of the leg has a ball shape on the top, which fits into a socket, or cup shaped bone mass, attached to the pelvis. When the legs are moving, the little ball rotates around the socket and offers a wide range of movement in most directions.

A dog with hip dysplasia has poorly formed joints on the hip. The "socket" portion of the joint should be rounded, however in this instance, it is flattened, and the "ball" end is unable to fit into the joint properly. The result is that such a dog has a weakened joint and its legs may splay out as the ball of the joint searches for somewhere it can rotate.

It is very common for dog owners to wonder why this slight deformity is such a big issue. How might it actually affect a dog? This condition starts to develop in puppies from a young age and some puppies have reported to be suffering from pain since puppyhood. This is quite unusual, as hip dysplasia conditions are commonly diagnosed in the later stages of a dog's life, unless a radiograph is taken.

As a dog walks on the legs, and the leg puts pressure on the malformed joint, the dog's body will try to compensate by slowly building up bone tissue in the joint. After years of using this joint, a dog will develop painful arthritis and will likely have difficulty walking.

If your dog breed is more genetically prone to having hip dysplasia, your veterinarian can perform some quick simple tests. Your dog may be asked to walk around briefly to see if his gait swivels slightly. The veterinarian may also extend your dog's leg backwards, looking for signs that this may be painful. Another test would require your dog to lay on his back. The veterinarian will gently pull your dog's paw away from the body and, with a hand on the hip, will feel and listen for a "pop" as the ball of the joint slips back in to the socket.

If the veterinarian suspected the condition to be hip dysplasia, he will recommend for radiographs to be taken to confirm if the joint is malformed. There are various treatments available whereby your veterinarian can disclose to you. There are a number of surgery options available depending on the size and weight of your dog breed. Examples of options range from removing the whole ball joint and allowing the body to form a "false joint" to a major hip replacement surgery. Non surgical treatment simply seeks to manage and reduce the pain experience by your dog. Non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and other nutritional regimens and supplements may be prescribed.

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Dogs are creatures of habit and routine. They form expectations and schedules, including feeding, potty and playing time. To learn more about your canine, including topics such as canine dog health and canine dog care, visit

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Tags:   dog hip dysplasia, dog genetic problems

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Submitted : 2010-11-09    Word Count : 1    Times Viewed: 469