Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD) is a developmental disease of the hip joint in dogs. Although found in all breeds and even mixed breeds, it is more common in larger, well-fed, faster growing breeds. Some of the popular breeds most commonly affected include German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Rottweilers.
Although dysplastic dogs are born with normal hips, abnormal joint looseness causes progressive structural changes that result in changes to the normal "ball and socket" joint, and eventually deformation and arthritis, or degenerative joint disease (DJD). This DJD results in the pain and lameness associated with the disease. Commonly thought to be a hereditary disease, genetics is but one factor that can contribute to this disease. Environmental and nutritional factors also contribute to development of CHD.
Early signs of CHD may include slow rising, a "bunny hopping" gait with both rear feet moving together, and excessive soreness after exercise. Older dogs with advanced disease may also exhibit reluctance to jump or climb stairs, extreme stiffness, straight stifles (knees), and pain when moving.
There are many medical and surgical approaches that can help your affected pet to live a long, healthy, and pain-free life; but the earlier the condition is detected, the more options there are available. Veterinary examination and radiographs (x-rays) will reveal if your pet is affected, and aid in formulating a proper plan of treatment.
Although not curable, CHD can be managed and treated with the following options:
1. Weight Loss - excessive weight increases degenerative forces on the joints. A trim dog will have slower progression, and will also be able to maintain a fitness program that increases flexibility.
2. Moderation and consistency in a fitness program - Controlled exercise will maintain flexibility, decreasing stiffness and resulting pain. However, excessive exercise is to be avoided as it will cause increased pain.
3. Modern anti-inflammatory medication such as Rimadyl and Etogesic are safe and effective for long-term pain control. Older and non-approved medications such as aspirin, phenylbutasone, and steroids should be avoided.
4. Newer medication such as Adequan and Cosequin (chondroitin & glucosamine) have proven quite effective in reducing joint inflammation and pain in dogs with CHD.
5. Numerous surgical options are available for dealing with CHD.
a. Pectineal myotomy - cutting the pectineus muscle relieves pressure on the hip joint, and can effectively reduce pain in many dogs.
b. Total Hip Replacement - veterinary orthopedic surgeons can do hip replacement surgery just as is done in humans.
c. Femoral head osteotomy eliminates pain by removing the head of the femur from the joint. Surrounding muscle tissue and scar tissue forms a "false joint" that effectively supports the dog. This works better for dogs less than 50 pounds.
To minimize your chances of buying a pup that will develop CDH, be sure that both parents of the litter are OFA certified to have good hips, and immediately see your veterinarian for information on proper nutrition and exercise! This is very important - improper nutrition and exercise can increase the chances of your pup developing CHD by up to 300%.
For more information, feel free to call the Doctors at Kingman Pet Supply to discuss your concerns or questions about CHD.