One of the most well-known conditions that affect a dog’s health is hip dysplasia. It is common across breeds with a sloping back, like a German Shepherd. The larger the dog, the more is prone to hip dysplasia. Breeds like those from the mastiff group, Rottweilers, and St Bernard’s are likely to develop this. It is a genetic condition and is passed on through genes more than anything else.
What Causes Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is a genetically inherited condition. The only way to prevent it is through responsible breeding. If you have a purebred dog, you should ask the breeder if the lines he has been sired from dogs having a history of hip dysplasia.
How Do I Prevent It From Manifesting?
Genetic diseases cannot be prevented as such. However, you can take steps that will delay its onset and severity. You can also help manage symptoms.
If you know your pup is at risk for hip dysplasia, you should give him a diet that will build strong and healthy bones. Puppies are also developing their skeletal and joint system during this stage, and jumping up on high surfaces or standing on their hind legs puts pressure on their joints. Keep a close eye on your pup and discourage him from doing these activities.
This, of course, doesn’t mean that you should not exercise your dog. If possible, avoid slippery surfaces like marble and tiles when exercising. This is a critical stage for developing bones and joints, and you don’t want any accidents.
Adults are dogs who have finished growing. At this stage, care should be taken about the dog’s diet and you should keep an eye on his weight. Being overweight puts pressure on joints and weakens the dog’s body in many ways. You want your dog to be as healthy as possible, especially when he is predisposed to this or that condition. Swimming is an activity that both keeps dogs fit and doesn’t put any excess pressure on their joints.
Make sure your dog is on a proper diet as well. People give human food to dogs all the time, and this is very bad for them. Dogs also need less food than we think they need, especially if buying commercial dog food. Unless they have gastrointestinal issues, they don’t need to eat as many times as us! Limit food intake to lunch and dinner, with added breakfast and evening snacks only if he is a working dog like a farm dog.
During this time, your dog’s body is weaker than during adulthood. Senior dogs have more trouble with joint problems as they are predisposed to osteoarthritis because of their age. At this stage, you should be trying to make life easier for your dog. If you have slippery floors, then cover them with material that your dog can get a better grip on. Keep nails trimmed to prevent issues with walking. Your vet might recommend targeted foods like Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Canine Mobility Support Dog Food that will give him the nutrition his body needs to counteract degenerative issues. You can find Royal Canin Mobility Support on reputed websites like PetCareRx.com and they are often available at a discounted price.
When Should I Talk To My Vet About Hip Dysplasia?
If you see any of the following symptoms, it will be time to talk to your vet.
This is an unusual way that a dog walks when they develop hip dysplasia. They lift their back legs up and ‘hop’ to move forward. This is different from when your dog is playing or jumping in excitement. As he experiences pain in the hip joints when he tries to walk, he tries to divide the pressure of one leg into two legs. Bunnyhopping is a characteristic sign of hip dysplasia and might be accompanied by pain when you touch his hips. He might also limp.
Unwillingness To Climb Stairs
Stairs put a lot of pressure on a dog’s joints when it is weak. If your dog is unwilling and avoiding stairs, you should contact your vet immediately. Generally, this is accompanied by problems jumping up and down from places. If your dog used to happily join you on a bed or couch and now stays on the floor, you should talk to your vet about his sudden decreased mobility.
Since mobility is affected with hip dysplasia, your dog stops being active and develops lethargy. He might have problems getting up and walking. He will seem unwilling to play or move much at all. Lethargy can have many causes, and hip dysplasia is one of many. Your vet is also likely to investigate gastrointestinal issues that often induce nausea and bloating, which also promotes lethargy in dogs.