Hip Dysplasia is an inherited condition which causes abnormal growth or development of the hips...

Hip Dysplasia is an inherited condition which causes abnormal growth or development of the hips. Since the hip joint is formed by a ball-and-socket joint, hip dysplasia is when the ball (formed by the top of the femur or thigh bone) is loose in the socket. Although hip dysplasia develops while they are still puppies, many dogs do not begin showing signs of discomfort until adulthood. By this time, they have been walking on their poorly formed joints for years, which can lead to degenerative arthritis.

There are many variables to take into account when identifying the causes of canine hip dysplasia. Some of these factors include, but are not limited to, genetics, a high-calorie diet, and over supplementation. With that said, it is true that although large breed dogs typically bear the brunt of this disease, hip dysplasia can affect a wide variety of dogs as well as some cats. Contrary to popular belief, providing growing puppies with extra nutrients such as protein or calcium (or even simply an overabundance of food) can actually promote the development of hip dysplasia. Because puppies are still growing, over supplementation or over feeding can result in muscles and bones growing at different rates. This, in turn, leads to various joint diseases and conditions such as hip dysplasia.

Despite the fact that only a veterinarian can diagnose canine hip dysplasia, there are a number of indicators to help you decide if a trip to a veterinarian appropriate. In order to identify the possibility of hip dysplasia in your dog, pay attention to these warning signs:

  • Unwilling to stay out in the cold
  • Difficulty rising on hind legs or climbing stairs
  • Difficulty jumping upward
  • Lack of stamina
  • “Bunny-hopping” using both hind legs at the same time when walking, especially up stairs
  • You may also notice looseness in the hip joints or cracking or popping sounds There are several options regarding the treatment of hip dysplasia. As far as non-surgical options go, there are a few products on the market designed to help alleviate the pressure on the dog’s hindquarters. For example, the Walkabout Harness helps you to help your dysplastic, arthritic, post-surgical, or otherwise disabled dog move more comfortably and safely. This harness works by supporting a portion of the dogs hind legs while they walk, or attempt to go up/down stairs. Unlike a towel under the belly, the Walkabout Harness allows your dog to walk or climb effectively, all while eliminating the need to stoop over. Other viable non-surgical options for treating hip dysplasia are supplements that are also used in the treatment of arthritis. Supplements such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin, as well as products such as Arthrisoothe help promote the rebuilding of cartilage. Arthrisoothe also promotes the rebuilding of collagen and synovial fluid. Synovial fluid provides more than just lubrication for joints. It also acts as a sort of transport medium through which nutritional substances (like glucosamine) pass. These are just a few of the benefits of using non-surgical options to ease the pain of canine hip dysplasia.

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