Canine hip dysplasia is quite a common condition among dogs of all sizes, however it is most often seen in large breed dogs such as German Shepherd's and Bull Mastiffs.
In short, hip dysplasia occurs when the normal function of the ball and socket joint of the hip is disrupted causing pain and discomfort to the animal.
What causes hip dysplasia in dogs? Hip dysplasia in dogs can be caused by one or many factors working together such as:
Genetic predisposition. If a dog with a likelihood of hip dysplasia is bred, this can pass the trait to the pups.
Overfeeding. Just like with humans, overfeeding can lead to excessive strain and effort put on the joints, especially in growing pups and can cause hip dysplasia.
Exercise. Too much strenuous exercise at an early age can predispose growing skeletal systems to the condition.
Signs to watch out for
Stiffness in hind legs when walking or running.
Abnormal gait or uncoordinated movement.
Difficulty sitting down or standing up, or pain when doing so.
Source via Wikipedia.org
How is it diagnosed? Hip dysplasia can be diagnosed by your veterinary practitioner by manipulating the joint to see its normal function and also taking a series of x-rays.
If you are thinking of breeding from an animal with a likelihood of hip dysplasia and sometime in the future you want to register the pups with a Kennel Club, then a hip score x-ray needs to be taken prior to breeding to rule out the possibility of hip dysplasia.
What are the treatment options? Treatment options include surgery or drug treatment.
Surgery With amazing advances in surgery nowadays, there is now an option to have the pelvis reshaped or the ball and socket joint reshaped. There is also an option of a total hip replacement. It should be noted that these are very complicated and expensive procedures, so all efforts should be made to avoid hip dysplasia in your pet.
Drug Treatment Using medications to treat hip dysplasia will not cure the condition, but will help alleviate pain.
Can hip dysplasia be prevented? As hip dysplasia is quite often caused by a genetic factor, it can be prevented by taking care not to breed from an animal who has a known history of the disease.
Taking care not to over exercise a dog from a young age can also prevent hip dysplasia and correct nutrition and feeding can help prevent overfeeding and the strain put on joints from excessive unnecessary weight.