One of the more common ailments for dogs is hip dysplasia. Certain breeds are more prone to dysplasia than others, but it can affect many different types of dogs at various ages. When a dog has hip dysplasia, its hip joints are weaker because they are loose due to deformation during development. This can be a very uncomfortable and painful condition for an animal that has to live with it.
Recognizing the Symptoms
You may not realize that your dog is suffering from hip dysplasia right away. Often times, the onset is gradual and symptoms can appear to be associated with regular aging. Monitor your dog carefully. If your pet is struggling to lay down or stand, is acting more and more lethargic, or displays signs of discomfort or aggression when you touch their hindquarters, you may be dealing with hip dysplasia.
While hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition that cannot fully be prevented, its onset can be delayed. There are a number of methods pet owners can take. One is pursuing physical therapy with your dog to strengthen the muscles in the affected area so they put less stress on the hip joints. Be careful not to overwork your pet, however—if it displays any signs of discomfort, discontinue the exercise.
One option to thwart the onset of hip dysplasia is to use supplements that strengthen your dog's joints. Glucosamine supplements come from shellfish and can help restore and reinforce joints. Glucosamine supplements for dogs will also contain chondroitin, which helps with joint repair and has been known to alleviate minor pain.
Controlling your dog's weight is another good way to keep hip dysplasia from becoming an issue. Overweight dogs are more prone to early onset and painful suffering. If your dog is in healthy shape, there is less stress being put on the deformed joints.
There are various ways to treat dogs suffering with hip dysplasia. There is no absolute cure, but there is a hip replacement procedure that can be performed at a local vet surgery. There are, however, various ways to lessen your pet's suffering and keep the issue at bay as you wait for the vet.
Temperature plays a big role on the comfort of many people who suffer with arthritis, and hip dysplasia is very similar. Regulating the temperature in your home and in your dog's living environment can make a world of difference. Affected joints should be kept warm whenever possible. Invest in a heated dog bed or heating pads to ease your dog's pain and positively affect mobility.
Your veterinarian may also prescribe pain killers. There are a number of brands and varieties on the market that can be used to treat the pain and discomfort associated with hip dysplasia. While it is not a cure for the disease, medicinal help can certainly improve your dog's quality of life.
Hip dysplasia doesn't mean that your pet's life is over! With proper care at the vet clinic and at home, you can combat the symptoms of the disease and keep your dog as happy and pain-free as possible. Always remember to discuss any exercise, supplement or medicinal regimen with your veterinarian prior to starting it.