Hip dysplasia refers to an abnormal configuration of the bones forming the pelvic joints, or more precisely the hip sockets. Congenital factors are assumed to be the underlying cause while inapropriate nuttrition as well as certain exercise patterns can contribute to the development of clinical symptoms. The condition may be seen in all breeds, yet middle-sized and large dogs are mostly affected.
The animal is typically characterized by reduced activity, suddenly appearing lameness, increasing pains during walks as well as problems when standing up. The walk is instable, the hip joint loses mobility. Upon movements of the joint an audible snapping, or clicking or grinding noise can be noticed. In case of older animals, often painful, degenerative changes (arthrosis) of the hip joint develop.
The disposition of a defective position of the hip is inherited in many cases. Significant is the fact that the disease appears and develops not until the growth phase (particularly between the 4th and 10th month of life) of the dog. Therefore, the alimentation and the posture of the dog growing up affect the development and the progress of the disease. Many of the dogs affected by a hip joint dysplasia suffer among others also from joint alterations. In very serious cases, due to the motionlessness (as result of the disease), amyotrophia on the hind legs develops.
The diagnosis is made quite easily by assessment of the X-ray photographs by means of which also the severity of the disease can be determined. A healing of the disease is impossible. The occurrence and the progression of the symptoms can be delayed or the pains be reduced. Pains can be treated with medication. Additionally, there are some surgical measures (amputation appliances) which may limit the progress, improve the joint movement and alleviate the pain.
In case of development of the symptoms indicated before, you should call the veterinarian at next opportunity and agree upon a date within the next days. Should your dog show strong pain or be hardly able to stand up, you should bring it immediately to a veterinarian. There are some established measures which may reduce the progress of the disease. That includes the correct alimentation and not too much exercise. Above all, however, movements should be prevented which may result in wear of the hip. That includes compressing, overstretching and the overstressing of the hip joint. The buildup of the pelvic and femoral muscles may relieve the hip joint and be achieved by means of physical therapy. The enrichment of the feed by cartilage building substances is also recommendable. Since excess weight may promote the development of the disease or aggravate the course, you should prevent too much excess weight of your dog.