Hip dysplasia is a skeletal condition that occurs when the hip joint is malformed. It is chronic and might start during the developmental growth stages of dogs and cats. Notably, the hip joint is a ball and socket joint; ideally, the femur should fit tightly into the pelvis socket. A loose hip joint that comes with pain characterizes hip dysplasia in dogs and cats. At the onset of this disease, most dogs and cats might typically not show signs of pain. However, if left untreated over time, it can cause deterioration of the joint and loss of joint function.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia
The symptoms of this disease include; pain, stiffness, a wobbling gait, reduced physical activity, reluctance to perform tasks like climbing stairs or jumping because they involve large motion ranges. Dogs and cats with hip dysplasia are usually hesitant to move, especially after vigorous exercise.
Causes of hip dysplasia
Generally, larger breeds of dogs like German shepherds and Labrador retrievers have a higher risk for hip dysplasia. Several other factors like rapid weight gain, diet, genetics, and physical activity also contribute to the onset of hip dysplasia. All dogs, including small-sized dogs, are at risk of developing hip dysplasia.
How can hip dysplasia be managed?
Hip dysplasia in dogs prevention should begin during the early stages of growth. Providing a proper diet with feeds formulated for large breed dogs or supplements, both of which usually contain glucosamine and chondroitin, is effective for prevention. Weight control is also vital. However, hip dysplasia might still occur even with preventive measures.
Hip dysplasia in dogs treatment can be either conservative or involve surgery or alternative treatments like stem cell therapy. The treatment choice will depend on the stage of the disease, symptoms, and desired outcomes.
Conservative therapy: This involves managing symptoms the dog shows with pain-relieving medication like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. They also get supplements that contain essential fatty acids, glucosamine, and chondroitin. Dogs on conservative management receive supervision through less strenuous daily exercises that help to strengthen the affected joint.
Surgery: At the early stages of hip dysplasia, a double or triple pelvic osteotomy can help improve the pet’s natural joint. However, if the affected joint has already begun to deteriorate, the pet might need a total hip replacement surgery.
Stem cell therapy: Stem cell treatments can restore joint function even in pets with progressed hip dysplasia. When injected into the joints, stem cells can reduce inflammation & pain, and restore cartilage function by regenerating the cartilage. Stem cell therapy offers the best treatment outcomes in pets.
After treatment, most dogs require follow-up care with pain relievers, acupuncture, or cold laser therapy. A huge factor contributing to treatment choice is the cost of treating hip dysplasia in dogs which varies depending on the treatment option. However, it is advisable to consider the vet’s recommendations and possible outcomes of each treatment option.