Hip dysplasia in dogs is a common developmental condition in large and giant breed dogs. It's caused by a hip deformity that results in joint laxity, or looseness, and can lead to pain, mobility issues, and osteoarthritis. Though the condition is present from a young age, many dogs won't show clinical signs until they're older. However, screening your pet for hip dysplasia early on can give you an opportunity to treat the deformed joint before it causes problems.
What is Hip Dysplasia?
In hip dysplasia, the “ball and socket” joint between the head of the femur and the pelvis doesn’t develop properly. This makes it difficult for the two bones to fit together tightly. It is estimated that somewhere between 10 and 15% of dogs worldwide have hip dysplasia. Additionally, some breeds have an incidence as high as 75%!
As their disease progresses, adult dogs with hip dysplasia often develop arthritis. You may notice shaking of your dog’s legs, limping, or other signs your dog is in pain. Also, affected dogs commonly shift more weight to their front legs due to pain or weakness in their hips. This extra load puts an increased amount of stress on the muscles and joints of their front legs. Consequently, the dog is at increased risk of injuries in the wrists, elbows and shoulders.
Large dog breeds most at risk for hip dysplasia:
- German Shepherd
- Saint Bernard
- Great Dane
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- American Staffordshire Terrier or Pit bull
- Catahoula Hound
- Basset Hound
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- Golden Retriever
- Labrador Retriever
Depending on the breed large dogs will require additional care to keep hips healthy and their back legs strong. For example, German Shepherds are at risk for two major mobility conditions, hip dysplasia and degenerative myelopathy. This means German Shepherds are at high risk for hind leg weakness and paralysis later in life. To limit hip problems, German Shepherd dogs should be kept at a healthy weight and stay well exercised to maintain muscle tone. In general, a leaner healthier diet is recommended in all large dogs with hip problems.
When a pet is overweight additional stress and pressure is pressed on their joints which makes hip dysplasia pain and it’s symptoms worse. Dogs with excess weight will have a harder time exercising, standing up, and may not live as long.
How Does Hip Brace Work for Hip Dysplasia?
Dog Hip Dysplasia Brace could provide gentle compression to the hips and back legs. They accomplish this using either a compressive sleeve or leg panels that provide direct support to the hips and back legs.
In some dogs with neurologic issues, this gentle compression provides just enough sensory stimulation to help them be more aware of where their body is and how it’s moving (i.e. proprioception in dogs). This in turn can improve coordination and balance. In dogs with hip dysplasia or arthritis, this support may help alleviate muscle fatigue. Also, in some cases it may even improve stability of the hip joint.
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