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What is Dog Hip Dysplasia and How to Treat It

One of the worst ailments a dog can have is the Hip Dysplasia. When your vet tells you that your dog has hip dysplasia , the first thing you tend to do is blame yourself for buying a dog from a pet store before consulting yourself with a specialist. This would be pointless now, as you must start developing a treatment program for your dog. Hip dysplasia is a polygenetic illness, caused by a number of genes, along with a series of environmental factors. Some dogs are prone to the sickness by their genetic traits, but if the environmental factors are missing from their lives they might not develop Hip Dysplasia.

To make it easier to understand imagine the hip joint as a ball and an opening. The ball or the femoral head of the femur fills the opening or the acetabulum of the pelvic formation perfectly. Muscles and ligaments hold the assembly together. Deformation of the femoral head or the acetabulum or problems with ligaments as well as not worked muscles brings their contribution to the illness.

As simple as it may sound, the disease is far more complicated. The dog can be dysplastic in one or both hips, can have a thin socket and a normal ball, a deformed ball and normal socket, a thin socket and malformed ball, misaligned joints, loose ligaments, or a combination of all these problems worsened by environmental factors such as the growth rate, level of nutrition, and exercise. Fast growing large-breed puppies seem to be more affected by this disease because their muscles, joints and ligaments may develop differently.

Hip Dysplasia Treatment

In cases of severe hip dysplasia surgery may seem the best solution. Specialists can replace de hip with a synthetic joint. Nonetheless, all dogs affected by this illness must have a special diet as well as an exercise plan to minimize the effects of the illness. Also most of them need medication to ease the pain. In 1995, John Cargill and Susan Thorpe-Vargas wrote a series of reports about the dog hip dysplasia and described the illness from diagnosis to surgical intervention. The publication was created for the dog breeders but dog owners were also able to find useful information about the disease. Another publication that offered tips on how to care for a dog that has Hip Dysplasia was the Med Vet Review printed by Med Vet in Columbus , Ohio .

The Med Vet Review recommends the owners of dysplastic dogs to offer them a balanced diet so that they do not become overweight. For short-term pain relief they suggest mandatory rest and exercising the dog’s muscles 15 to 20 minutes of swimming up to five times a week. Dogs with Hip Dysplasia usually shift their balance and try not to use too much of the part of their body that hurts, but this can cause spinal problems. An exercise program to keep muscles from becoming weakened as well as trying to keep the joints as flexible as possible is a must. Stretching exercises are also helpful and can be taught from the vets or the chiropractor. The chiropractic cure alleviates the pressure from the spine.

Medication treatment is very useful in dealing with the pain. Some efficient non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pills are aspirin, cosequin, naproxen, or adequan. However, because of the side effects aspirin and naproxen have, it is important to give your dog the exact dosage according to his health condition.A vet that knows the dog’s medical history should prescribe this dosage. Another drug used is phenylbutazone, but one of its side effects is the curbing of the bone marrow structure. The aspirin’s side effect is internal bleeding.

Some drugs containing cortisone or other steroids have adverse effects on the cartilage, so they are not prescribed in treating hip dysplasia or arthritis. According to Cargill and Thorpe-Vargas in the October 1995 issue of the Dog World the acupuncture treatment for dogs with hip dysplasia appears to be successful even if not scientifically proved. Surgery is required when no other treatment method offers positive results. The types of surgeries that can be performed are:

Triple pelvic osteotomy- this is meant to stabilize the joint and avoid degenerative changes that go together with the weight-sustained on an atypical hip.

Femoral head excision – is meant to avoid bone-on-bone friction.

Complete hip replacement

The vet will recommend the best type of chirurgical intervention based on how old the dog is, on the general health condition of the dog as well as on the advancement of the illness. Dogs with mild hip dysplasia have days when they have more pain and days when they suffer less. To help your dog coping with the ailment easier and to alleviate its condition a customized exercise program combined with proper medication is recommended.

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