Hip Dysplasia: Definition, Causes and Consequences
Hip Dysplasia is the mother of all orthopedic disease and the most common cause of hip pain in dogs. Over 70% of all dogs are affected by hip dysplasia. Hip Dysplasia occurs when a dog’s hip joints develop incorrectly allowing the femoral head to partially dislocate. This inherited condition occurs when the hip joint is improperly formed. This malformation allows the hip joint to sit loosely in the socket, and as the dog’s leg bone shifts around it causes painful wear and tear on the joint. Over time this repeated dislocation wears the joint down, causing damage to the joint itself.
All though dysplasia can affect various breeds, it is most common among larger breed dogs. How hip dysplasia impacts your dog’s life and mobility depends on the severity of the condition. Pets with mild hip dysplasia will require monitoring throughout their life and may requite pain medication at some point. Pets with severe dysplasia where the femur completely dislocates from the joint may be unable to walk and may require surgery.
Treatment of Hip Dysplasia
Surgery isn’t the only option available, a conservative management approach can be beneficial as well. For pets with mild to moderate hip dysplasia that experience pain when moving or occasional lameness can improve their mobility through physiotherapy.
Rehab therapy improves a pet’s overall movement and comfort by combining different techniques and modalities. Harnesses, hip support, wheelchairs and other assistive devices can be used to enhance therapy sessions.
Benefits of physical rehab include:
- Decreased pain
- Improved range of motion and flexibility
- Weight loss and increased muscle tone
- Increased strength and movement
- Overall improved mental and physical health
Causes of Hip Pain in Dogs
Dogs can develop hip pain at any age regardless of breed or size. Hip pain may be caused by joint deterioration from old age or another condition. Hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis are the leading causes of canine hip pain.
The Use of Hip Braces for Dogs
For ambulatory pets, a hip brace can be beneficial and work nicely for a large range of dogs. Supporting the hip joint eases discomfort and pain, while offering additional support that makes it easier for a dog with bad hips to move. How it works: the hip brace supports the joint and provides a feeling of “lift” to the leg combined with compression to alleviate hip pain. Beneficial for young dogs showing early signs of hip problems up through senior dogs suffering from arthritis.
When Should I Consider Using a Dog Hip Brace?
Hip braces are appropriate for any active dog suffering from arthritis, mild to moderate hip dysplasia, or for dogs showing signs of hip pain. Supporting a dog’s hip joint decreases pain and provides the stability needed to maintain an active lifestyle. A hip support system can be incorporated into a pet’s rehab exercises and plays a pivotal role in a pet’s conservative management plan. Speak with your Vet or rehab therapist to see if a hip brace is right for your pet.
Prevention and Recommendations for Canine Hip Conditions
A combination of regular exercise and a healthy diet can help to keep a pet’s weight in check. Additional weight places additional stress on the hips and worsen a dog’s hip pain. For younger dog’s who are at risk of developing or worsening a hip problem should take daily joint supplements and be monitored closely. Keep an eye on any signs that your pet’s condition is worsening. Hip braces can be suitable to maintain stable hips and prevent further injury from occurring. Always consult your veterinarian to maintain a happy, healthy pet.