highlighting each week some of the animals in the BSPCA
sanctuary, in the hope of finding each of them a loving home.
Question: My one-year-old Germen Shepherd has been showing slight stiffness and pain in his hind legs. Could this be the signs of hip dysplasia?
Answer: Hip dysplasia is one of the most common skeletal diseases in dogs. It is the failure of the hip joints to develop normally, gradually deteriorating and leading to loss of function of the hip joints.
This creates abnormal wear and erosion of the joint and as a result, arthritis and pain develop.
Causes of development and progression of hip dysplasia are concurrent with both genetic and environmental factors such as genetic susceptibility for hip looseness or laxity, rapid weight gain and obesity, nutritional factors, pelvic-muscle mass.
Obesity can increase the severity of the disease in genetically susceptible animals.
The symptoms are dogs often walk or run with an altered gait.
They may resist movements that require full extension or flexion of the rear legs.
They will show stiffness and pain in the rear legs after exercise or first thing in the morning.
They may also have difficulty climbing stairs.
Diagnosis of this condition is by physical examination of hip joint and X-ray radiographs of pelvis.
Hip dysplasia can be treated either conservatively or through surgery.
Conservative therapy includes weight control, pain relief medications (analgesics), anti-inflammatory medications, nutritional supplements, massage and physical therapy, low impact exercises such as walking and jogging and especially swimming.
Vigorous activities, such as jumping for frisbee, which place additional pressure on the joint, should be avoided.
Prevention of hip dysplasia is mainly through selective breeding. If your dog has been effectively diagnosed with hip dysplasia, it should not be bred from, and the parents of your pet should not be bred again, since this condition is often acquired genetically.
For more details visit www.peteducation.com.
l Dr Hansel Geo is a veterinary consultant and surgeon for the BSPCA. Please send questions to email@example.com
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