One of the main reasons that dogs develop lameness in one of their rear legs is because of canine hip dysplasia. His quality of life will significantly be affected, as the condition can be quite painful much like osteoarthritis.
Breeds that are naturally large are highly susceptible to developing this condition. These include Rottweilers, St. Bernards, and German Shepherds. There are plenty of others on this list though. Although larger breeds are more often affected, smaller breeds aren’t completely risk-free. Even when they are affected though, the severity of their symptoms isn’t as drastic.
Hip dysplasia in dogs starts developing while dogs are still young. Their skeletal system will grow at one pace, while their muscles will develop at a slower pace. As they grow older and bigger, the tissue and muscle won’t provide enough support. This will cause issues and pain at the joint.
Dogs have an increased risk of this condition due to genetics. However, the particular diet that they’re fed can make the problem even worse. A diet that lacks calcium and phosphorous means that the bones won’t develop as they should. Also, feeding them too many calories may cause them to become obese which will place even more stress on the joint.
Improper exercise habits while they’re still young can also contribute to problems with dog hip dysplasia. Putting too much stress on the hind legs isn’t good for younger dogs. Their bones, muscles, and tissues haven’t grown enough yet to support the weight.
The most noticeable symptom of canine hip dysplasia is lameness in the hind limbs. This can be present continuously or come and go away. Dogs affected by this condition won’t be as active as they used to be. Their gait and standing position will also change due to the pain caused in their hip joints.
Diagnosis of hip dysplasia in dogs can be achieved via an x-ray. An x-ray will also be useful in determining if your pet has developed another bone disease of some sort. In order to get the x-ray done properly though, your dog will have to undergo sedation or anesthesia.
Surgery may be necessary in order to treat canine hip dysplasia. Before this is tried however, the vet may prescribe steroids to help with inflammation and pain. In addition to these medications, he may also recommend that you control your dog’s exercise habits. If obesity is a contributing factor, then it will also need to be dealt with.
If none of this does anything to provide your dog with relief, then surgery may be in the best interests of your dog.
As mentioned, hip dysplasia in canines is a problem for large breeds that grow quickly. Your vet may recommend that you put your dog on a special diet that’s designed particularly for these breeds. It is also vital that you don’t allow your puppy to get obese as this will place extra stress on his developing hip joints.