Early diagnosis of Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) will give you the best opportunity to address the problem in your dog and minimize the secondary arthritic changes that can occur in the hips. Be aware of the clinical signs of Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) and monitor your puppy's gait and activities to allow early recognition that a potential hip problem exists so you can bring this to your vets attention.
The following are signs that your dog may have Canine hip dysplasia (CHD). Always check with a vet if your pet displays any of these behaviours.
Rear limb lameness, particularly after exercise.
Difficulty or stiffness upon rising or climbing uphill.
A "bunny hop" gait (moving both rear legs together).
Rising using front legs only and dragging rear end.
Waddling rear limb gait.
A painful reaction to extension of the rear legs resulting in a characteristic short stride.
A side-to-side sway of the croup (area of the back above the hind legs and in front of tail.)
Tendency to tilt hips down when pressure applied to rump.
Reluctance to jump, exercise or climb stairs.
A puppy with Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) usually starts to show signs between five and 13 months of age. Symptoms of Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) range from mild discomfort to extreme pain when the affected dog uses the hind limbs and will occasionally be seen following prolonged activity or when the dog gets up or lies down.
Later in life the signs of Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) become more consistent and occur daily regardless of activity levels. Adult dogs that are in severe pain will usually decrease their activity. They are unwilling to run or climb stairs and, with decreased use, the muscles of their rear legs weaken. Some dogs learn to alter their gait and posture, often showing little or no signs of discomfort even when bone changes are severe.
The only way to accurately diagnose Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is through X-rays. (Note - The above symptoms may also be seen in dogs with normal hips; conversely, dogs with Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) may show none of the typical symptoms).
The treatment for Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is geared towards inhibiting further breakdown of the hip joint and decreasing the pain your dog is experiencing. Various medical and surgical treatments are available today that can ease your dog's discomfort and restore mobility. The type of treatment depends upon several factors, such as the age of your dog, the severity of the problem and financial considerations.
Management of the Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) usually consists of exercise restriction, body weight management and symptomatic pain management with analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Analgesic and Anti-inflammatory medications - Ideally, these should only be used for the short term, when necessary to encourage movement. Although your pet may respond quickly to anti-inflammatories, this is usually because they are quelling pain, and not because the condition itself is improving.
In most cases these medications act simply as painkillers, and should only be used in addition to lifestyle modifications including weight control and good exercise management. While every attempt is normally made to manage a pet’s pain through lifestyle adjustments and use of anti-inflammatories and painkillers, it may sometimes be necessary for surgical intervention.
This is particularly true for older dogs.
Bull Breed Advisory Service © 2009