Hip Dysplasia is affecting more and more cats everyday...

I’ve Heard of Hip Dysplasia in Pets…What is it Though?
Hip dysplasia is a deformity of the joint of the hips in animals. In plain terms, a displacement occurs in the hip joint of the animal and the ball of the femur no longer properly fits into the socket of the hip joint. A breakdown of joint, and abnormality of the bones, will occur over time, resulting in arthritis in the pet, and leading to incredible pain in use of the joint (i.e., walking, running) and will only continue to get worse over time.

Do Cats Suffer From Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia in cats was until recently unheard of, but recent research indicates that felines of all breeds are capable of developing feline hip dysplasia. Large breeds of dog are more commonly diagnosed with hip dysplasia, but cats are by no means immune.

Where Does It Come From Then?
The cause of this deformation is believed to be genetic, and if your cat develops FHD, then both its parents either suffered from this as well, or they were carriers for this defect. FHD is not readily seen in kittens, as the hip bones are not fully formed at this point. A kitten would then be born with the genetic predisposition and over time, stress on the joint would cause the dislocation to occur, and then subsequent abnormalities and deformation of the hip joint to ensue. This would create walking difficulties and the cat may then appear disinterested in playing and exercising. The cat may appear to be a lazy cat, but in reality, the cat chooses not to play as it is painful.

Are Some Breeds More Likely to Get It?
All breeds of cats are capable of developing this, but those cats who have larger bones are more prone to this disease. Why? Well in larger cats, the bones may not be as cushioned as they could be by muscles and other sinuous tissues. This leads to a greater likelihood of dislocation of the hip joint. This would mean that cats such as Siamese, who are typically lighter and smaller in size and bone structure are less likely, but they are capable of developing FHD as well. The disorder is genetic and can be avoided through breeding patterns.

How Do I Know if My Cat Has FHD?
FHD is best diagnosed with the use of an x-ray of the hip joint. This can be done by your vet, and then sent to the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals who has a division, the Hip Dysplasia Registry, specifically designed to analyze the x-rays of cats suspected to have FHD, and they can then tell definitively if FHD is present in one or both hip joints. The deformity would be clear upon this type of examination. Signs of the disorder would be apparent in their daily lives, however, as the condition is incredibly painful and will impair a catÂ’s ability to walk. This will then lead to limping, difficulties walking, and what appears to be a general sense of laziness in the cat (an avoidance of exercise or playing).

My Cat Has FHD…What Can I Do To Help?
There is no available treatment to completely repair the deformity of FHD. In the most severe cases, surgery may be necessary to fuse prosthetics into the joint. Other less radical options will include anti-inflammatory medicines and pain reduction medicines. For cats who are overweight, reducing the weight problem with food adjustments may be the first step. Also removing unnecessary exercise, such as extra jumping, is also helpful. Additionally, many alternative treatments exist that have been effective at helping. One of the leading dietary supplements includes the use of a glucosamine product to help try to repair the joint naturally. Many cat owners, and dog owners too, have reported that liquid glucosamine supplements have helped to correct some of the limping, lameness, and lack of exercising problems associated with hip dysplasia in their pets.

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