In dogs, the hip joint is a ball and socket joint; essentially, the thigh bone has a spherical head that fits into a spherical socket in the pelvis.
Canine hip dysplasia is due to the incorrect anatomy of this ball and socket joint. Rather than the normal, smooth gliding of these bones against one another at the joint, the two joints grind together (1).
Over time, this will lead to degeneration of the bones and can also damage the articular cartilage, leading to osteoarthritis.
What Causes Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?
Hip dysplasia is a skeletal disorder that can occur in any size or breed of dog; however, it is more common in large breed dogs, such as Great Danes, Labs, German Shepherds, etc. This is due, in part, to the rapid growth rate of large breeds, which makes the uniform development of joints challenging.
These breeds should be fed a diet specifically formulated for large dogs in order to promote proper bone and joint development (2).
Additional causes can include too much or too little exercise, the wrong nutritional program, and obesity, which puts undue strain on the joints. Furthermore, a fracture of the bone near the joint can also lead to hip dysplasia (3).
What Are the Signs of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?
Common symptoms of hip dysplasia include: (1, 2)
- Difficulty standing up from a sitting or lying position
- Reluctancy to run/jump/climb
- Lower range of motion
- Wobbly movement or a “bunny hopping gait”
- Pain and stiffness
To confirm the occurrence of hip dysplasia, your veterinarian will perform a detailed physical exam where they will assess the pain level and integrity of the joint.
Additionally, they may perform bloodwork to assess systemic inflammation. However, the best diagnostic tool for determining the presence of hip dysplasia in a dog is radiographic images, or x-rays. By taking an image of the joints, the vet can assess the conformation of the joints.
Can Hip Dysplasia in Dogs Be Cured?
The treatment for this condition varies from dog to dog depending upon the severity of the disease as well as the level of pain the animal is experiencing.
Often, dogs with hip dysplasia can be managed properly to live a long and happy life. A key factor in this is ensuring the maintenance of proper weight to remove any undue stress from the joints.
Controlled exercise and physical therapy can help to reduce the inflammation levels in the joint, as well as loss of muscle mass. Maintaining muscle integrity to stabilize the diseased joint in the dog is critical (3).
Pain medication in the form of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be provided to manage pain levels. In the worst-case scenario, there are surgical options to assess the joint abnormality, but those would be recommended by your vet only if necessary.
A major preventative measure and treatment available is to provide dogs with glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. Providing these compounds in the form of chewable tablets, promotes and maintains joint health in dogs.
Canine Cush provides a natural source of both ingredients, which is better absorbed than the synthetic alternatives found in many dog supplements (4, 5).
In addition, Canine Cush provides hyaluronic acid and serves as an anti-inflammatory, without the negative side effects of NSAIDs. So, if you have a dog with hip dysplasia or a dog that may be predisposed to the condition, you have now found the best hip and joint supplement for dogs to help your companion have a long, healthy, and comfortable quality of life!