Hip Dysplasia In Dogs
It’s the disease that strikes fear in large breed dog owners everywhere. Canine Hip dysplasia affects all dogs but particularly plagues larger dogs, especially St. Bernards, Great Danes, German Shepherds, and Labrador Retrievers.
But your dog doesn’t have to succumb to this disease. Today we are covering all things related to hip dysplasia in dogs. We are going to cover the best methods so you know how to prevent hip dysplasia in dogs. As well, we’ll discuss what hip dysplasia symptoms in dogs look like and how to stop them from becoming worse. So buckle up; here’s how to keep your dog healthy by preventing and treating hip dysplasia.
What is Hip Dysplasia?
There are two main components that make up a dog’s hip joint: the ball of the femur and socket (acetabulum) of the pelvis. In dogs free of hip dysplasia the ball will fit comfortably into the socket and move along with it without causing friction. Dogs with hip dysplasia will have the ball either pressing too much against the acetabulum, or it will have dislodged out of the socket. If age-related, it’s likely that smooth cartilage that lubricates the ball and socket has worn down and this allowing the ball to rub against the socket.
Regardless, the results are the same, and that’s bones grinding against each other, wearing each other down until they can’t function properly — even if they were put back into their proper places.
There are quite a number of things that can cause the ball of the femur and the socket of the pelvis to fall out of proper placement and this means that dogs with hip dysplasia can range from any age. You’ve probably heard that it’s only a disease that affects older dogs and this is due to age and inflammation from osteoarthritis (affects 1 in 4). And while it more common in older dogs, hip dysplasia in puppies isn’t that uncommon – we know that dogs as young as 4 months can be affected.
What Causes Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia overwhelmingly affects older and larger breeds cluing us into some of the main causes of hip dysplasia in dogs.
Genetically prone to hip looseness or muscle laxity
Includes large breeds such as Mastiffs, St. Bernards, bulldogs, American Staffordshire terriers, retrievers, and Rottweilers. As well as some small breeds like French Bulldogs and Pugs.
Rapid weight gain and obesity
If your dog is overweight, stop what you’re doing and check out where they are holding their fat. A lot of breeds carrier extra fat around their back ends which shifts pressure around. Not only can this pressure fall on the hip joint, but it can take away pressure from the anal glands causing them to get impacted. If your dog is overweight you may be cutting their life short.
An unbalanced diet that’s missing or lacking omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, vitamin c, glucosamine, and chondroitin can put your dog at risk for developing hip dysplasia.
Diminished Pelvic-muscle mass
This can result due to genetics or lack of exercise*. *For bigger breeds like Great Danes, you should quell heavy exercise for the first year, so be careful to not over-exercise your dog.
Hip Dysplasia Symptoms in Dogs
Canine Hip dysplasia overwhelmingly affects older and larger breeds cluing us into some of the main causes of hip dysplasia in dogs.
The signs of hip dysplasia will depend on the severity of the disease and its progression. Young dogs will typically experience acute hip dysplasia for around a year before it is considered chronic and therefore more serious.
The biggest indicator will be if you notice issues relating to the area around the hip joints and hind legs. Some dogs are babies and will not hide even the slightest bit of pain, others dogs are different and will hide their symptoms until they have become severely debilitating.
- Backend and thighs weaken and lose muscle mass
- Bigger more muscular frontend and overdeveloped shoulders
- Decrease exercise
- Decrease range of leg motion
- Hopping around
- Narrow back leg stance
- Signs of backend pain
- Trouble getting up
- Trouble walking
Diagnosing Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
Remember, some dogs hide their symptoms, so while it may seem mild, this may only be because your dog is trying to hide it. So don’t wait until their yearly appointment comes around. Plus, in some cases, canine hip dysplasia will rapidly develop due to the cause. If you notice any of the above issues, it’s a good idea to give your veterinarian a call. Even if the symptom is mild, it’s nice to at least call as your vet as they can help determine whether an examination is needed. If the dog breed prone to hip dysplasia, dog owners will definitely want to get into the habit of closely monitoring their dog for signs.
To determine what’s causing your dog’s hip pain, your vet will perform a series of tests.
These tests are undertaken in a similar order of diagnosis and include.
- Physical exam
- Range of motion test
- Blood tests
- Electrolyte panel
- Blood chemical profile
Dog Hip Dysplasia Treatment Options
There is a range of treatment options for canine hip dysplasia. In mild cases, a change in diet and exercise may be enough to keep symptoms at bay and perhaps directly fix the cause.
In severe cases where diet, exercise, and medication fail, surgery is often recommended.
If your dog is overweight and has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, pet owners will need to follow a crucial diet to get their weight down. Not only can it stop the disease from getting worse but it may also “cure” the issue.
However, a lot of exercises that will help your dog lose weight can be hard on their legs, so we face a catch-22. Fortunately, a combination of diet and swimming is fantastic for helping your dog lose that extra weight at a steady and safe rate.
We don’t want to drop their weight too fast as it can put muscle mass even more at risk and that’s the last thing we want. Mammals are biological predispose to store fat for survival, and the body will cannibalize muscle for energy to ensure it doesn’t lose too much fat too fast. Your vet is your best source of information for how much food you’ll need to reduce.
It’s likely that there will be inflammation in and around the hip joints when your dog has hip dysplasia. You can talk to your vet about the appropriate medication to reduce the inflammation. In some cases, your vet may prescribe a NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
NSAIDs are usually fine with short-term use. However, long-term use can come with some pretty nasty issues as these drugs are hard on the kidneys. Fortunately, there are safer long-term solutions that can help reduce inflammation such as CBD.
Above you saw that a diet lacking glucosamine can result in hip dysplasia. In fact, this chemical compound is so important to healthy joints, that it’s often supplemented into a dog’s diet when they are diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Supplementing glucosamine can help reduce the pain and stiffness in your dog’s joints.
Pelvic osteotomy can be performed on younger dogs (under a year) that have been diagnosed with hip dysplasia. The surgical procedure improves the function of the ball-and-socket by cutting the pelvic bone and rotating the segments. This procedure is typically broken into two separate surgeries to allow one side to heal before operating on the other. If inflammation is detected on the X-ray, then it’s too late for pelvic osteotomy and hip replacement may be recommended — which has a very high success rate.
Total Hip Replacement
Total hip replacement may sound like an extreme solution however experts agree that it’s the best surgery option. THP has the best chance to restore the normal function of the hip free of pain and immobility.
CBD For Dogs With Hip Dysplasia
It’s the latest herb that’s making perhaps the biggest fuss ever seen in the natural and holistic health world. People are using CBD both for themselves and giving it to their dogs to help with a number of medical conditions: anxiety, epilepsy, and beyond. CBD can help improve health in a number of ways because it acts on a vital regulatory system that’s vital to our health.
One of those conditions CBD has been seen to help with is hip dysplasia. CBD couldn’t be easier to supplement into your dog’s diet, so let’s check out how it may help treat and prevent hip dysplasia in dogs.
Using CBD to Help Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is a hallmark of many diseases, and chronic hip dysplasia is no different. Above you saw that certain surgeries to correct hip dysplasia are no longer possible once inflammation is detected.
So not only is it important to treat inflammation once it there, it’s critical to prevent it from occurring. Doing so can stop the disease from crippling your dog. Remember, while it’s extremely likely to see inflammation in severe cases of hip dysplasia, there is a good chance inflammation won’t present itself in early or acute hip dysplasia. Again, this is why it so important to seek help as soon as you see any symptoms.
CBD helps specialized neurotransmitters in the body that activate receptors throughout the immune system and other systems. When activated these receptors are vital to your dog’s ability to maintain and regain control of a system that has become overactive. Often the things that make mammals feel sick are our own defense systems — such as the inflammatory process or anxiety. Good inflammation helps kill pathogens but sometimes the immune system is under too much stress and inflammatory cells start attacking the body instead.
Study after study has shown that CBD’s ability to target these regulatory receptors can both prevent and treat inflammation regardless of the source.
Using CBD to Help Your Dog’s Hip Pain
One of the biggest symptoms of hip dysplasia is pain. It cannot be stated enough how important it is to stop pain before it becomes a chronic issue. This is because chronic pain is both a physical and mental/emotional disease.
The brain has an interesting way it adapts to everyday occurrences. Usually, the brain learns to ignore things, but pain is different. Brains scans show abnormal activity in those with chronic pain to those without it. Studies show that chronic pain signals will move from their nociceptive region and enter into regions that control emotions. This means chronic pain can make your dog depressed.
Hip dysplasia already makes it different enough for your dog to play, move around, and in some cases even eat. The last thing we need is debilitating pain making them depressed. This only pushes them even further into an abyss of misery. Fortunately, CBD may be the answer to preventing this from happening.
Studies show that CBD acts on receptors that suppress inflammatory and chronic pain — both of which are very difficult to manage. But that’s not all, other research shows that by targeting CB2 receptors, CBD can play a positive role in nociception pain. This means that CBD may help prevent nociception pain signal from moving into regions that affect emotions. There is a lot of backing showing CBD may really help your dog’s hip pain.
Swinging the Hips Without Pain: Hip Dysplasia and CBD
We know our dogs have the time of their life running around, jumping, fetching, playing with other dogs. That’s why a Hip Dysplasia diagnosis can be so scary. Oftentimes by the time they are taken to the veterinarian, it’s usually because their activity level has already significantly decreased, they struggle to jump on the couch or run around like they used to, which is a worry for their quality of life. The good news is that there’s a lot we can do to make our dogs comfortable and ensure they still have a great quality of life.
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What is Hip Dysplasia in Dogs?
In order to fully understand the detrimental effects of hip dysplasia (also referred to as Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip or DDH) and weighing out the available options, it’s important to understand what hip dysplasia actually is .
Dysplasia is derived from Greek words meaning “bad formation.” Basically, that’s the description in a nutshell. Bad formation.
If you take a look at the hip, you’ll see the hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The head of the femur bone is the ball. The groove on the pelvic bone (acetabulum) is the socket. When the ball doesn’t fit snug inside the socket, damage starts to occur. The bones grind together partially because the fit isn’t snug, but also because the cartilage is continuously being worn down.
This isn’t usually immediately seen. Dogs instinctively hide pain, so they aren’t likely to show it until it’s to the point where they are struggling. O nce a dog is showing the pain more obviously, the cartilage has typically already been worn and the muscles have been strained. In severe cases of hip dysplasia, dogs may experience decreased mobility, arthritis in their joints, and a degree of lameness generally in their hind end.
The Cause of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
Hip dysplasia is genetic, it’s hereditary and for many dogs, it’s just a matter of age and time. Hip dysplasia is also more commonly found in larger breeds due to the speed of their growth and the effects of weight on their ball and socket. Not all dog breeds are prone to hip dysplasia, but those that are can experience a great deal of pain by the time they are showing their symptoms.
Recognizing the Signs of Hip Dysplasia
If you aren’t sure if your dog has hip dysplasia, it’s best to consult with a holistic veterinarian to obtain a diagnosis, but the most common symptoms include the following:
- Activity levels slowing: Dogs with hip dysplasia who were once active may appear to be too tired to get up. You’ll likely notice a significant decrease in activity levels over time. Your dog might sleep more and have less of an urge to go fetch the stick or play her favorite ball game.
- The stairs are too much: This is one of the top complaints when a dog lover brings her dog into the veterinarian’s office. My dog can’t get up the stairs or stops walking halfway through the journey. The inflammation can cause a decreased range of motion in your dog’s ‘ball and socket.’ You may also notice your dog’s hesitation or lack of ability to jump into the car or jump onto your bed as well.
- Weakness in the back legs: Depending on how bad your dog has instinctively allowed hip dysplasia to become, you may notice her back legs giving out from under her. Over time, the wear and tear from the bones rubbing against one another may result in your dog’s ball and socket not working at all. This results in inflammation and pain and/or the inability to use one of her back legs.
- Trouble Getting Up: You may begin to notice your dog has lost the ‘pep in her step’ and now has trouble getting up on her own. It may take her a few extra moments or she could struggle for a significant duration of time depending on the severity of the condition.
Conventional Options: NSAIDs to Reduce Inflammation
Traditionally, a veterinarian would recommend NSAIDs to reduce painful inflammation, but these carry a wide range of side effects. For some dogs, the disadvantages of NSAIDs outweigh the advantages. Dogs who take conventional anti-inflammatory drugs may experience vomiting, lack of appetite, depression, stomach ulcers, diarrhea, kidney failure, and/or liver failure.
Alternative Options: Glucosamine, Chondroitin, and CBD as Options
Chondroitin and Glucosamine are excellent for assisting with inflammation, but unfortunately, we have yet to find a consistently reliable source we can recommend. All the supplements we have found thus far have not been high in purity and will therefore be less effective.
Inflammation is the root cause for hundreds of issues. Any time you (or your pet) experience chronic pain, arthritis, allergies, anxiety, pancreatitis (or any diagnosis ending in “itis”), diabetes, autoimmune diseases, IBD, and other GI issues– it is inflammation that causes the symptoms to worsen, or even the cause of the issue itself. Full spectrum hemp extract (CBD) has been proven to shorten the duration and frequency of inflammation-related issues including hip dysplasia, arthritis and joint pain, seizures, pancreatitis, allergies, anxiety, diabetes, Cushing’s Disease and other autoimmune diseases.
Full Spectrum CBD is also great for reducing pain. Cannabis has been used as an effective analgesic dating back thousands of years. One of the ways it does this is actually by changing the way their central nervous system communicates the sensation of pain to our brains.
CBD ‘talks to’ specific receptors in a dog’s body to help reduce the inflammation caused by the wear and tear, and damage of the ball and socket joint (and other joints you may not be aware of being damaged).
In CBD’s ‘talk’ with a dog’s body, the receptors, pain is also reduced significantly.
Success Story: Tater
Tater, an adorable Chihuahua, has two luxating patellas and hip dysplasia in both hips. To add to it, he also has arthritis. Tater was barely able to walk when he was brought in by his foster parents. The effects from his health were so severe he barely had an appetite.
The recommendation? Tater was provided with 1 mL of HEAL 1100 mg Full Spectrum Hemp Extract once daily each morning.
When we asked the foster parents how he was doing, the update was sensational. Tater is now able to walk, AND RUN, without pain! His foster family added his appetite has increased and his arthritis has improved. Before CBD was introduced, his quality of life was extremely low. He is now soaking up the simple, but BIG, joys in life, as he continues to take HEAL daily.
Success Story: Miss Daisie
14 year old Black Lab, Miss Daisie, could barely use her back legs prior to starting a CBD regimen. What was her recommendation? A full drop of HEAL in the morning and another full dropper at night. She was provided a heavier dose than average due the severity of her pain each day.
“She could barely use her back legs and was dragging them behind her – although she wanted to be part of the pack, she could barely keep up. She is given a dropper full of HEAL in the am and PM. Its a heavier dose but she was also suffering from a tumor and was in a lot of pain. Today she can run, play, and even jump on the couch.”
The success stories shared with us are critical to understanding how much CBD can change your dog’s life. From severe pain to the ability to willingly and happily play, run, and jump? We couldn’t be happier.
Take Action Now
The sooner you take action, the more successful the outcome with be, and the less damage your dog inflicts on their joints. This is particularly true for large-breed dogs. Since they are more prone to hip dysplasia, it’s definitely a condition to watch for. Look for symptoms so you’re able to take action swiftly. We want to make sure we help as quickly as possible to allow our pups to live longer, happier, and healthier.