Treating Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Best Methods to Treat Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Hip dysplasia is the loosening of muscles, connective tissue and ligaments that support the hip joint. This can lead to the leg bone and pelvic bone separating from each other. It is the equivalent of arthritis in humans, and very painful. Treating hip dysplasia in dogs may entail medication and surgery, plus addressing a few issues that may lessen pain.

Treating hip dysplasia in dogs can be very expensive, but choices must be made. The early, necessary interventions include weight management, viable exercise, warmth and massage/physical therapy. Keeping a dog’s weight at an acceptable level will take extra pressure off the joint. Low impact exercise such as leash walks, swimming, walking on a treadmill and slow jogging provide good range of motion and muscle building with less wear and tear on the affected area. Cold, damp weather can aggravate arthritis pain, so the dog needs a warm dry place to exist and sleep, like an orthopedic foam bed. The veterinarian can teach a dog owner how to massage the muscles around the joint with the fingertips in small, circular motions.

Canine Hip Dysplasia in Dogs Can be Treated

Medication is a less invasive way to treat hip dysplasia in dogs than surgery. Oral supplements are given to build cartilage, and anti-inflammatory medicines reduce swelling. They may also enhance structural integrity of the connective tissue. Glucosamine and chondroitin are commonly added to food and also used in humans for arthritis. Injections might prevent the breakdown of cartilage and increase the viscosity of joint fluid in the hip joint.

xray of dog hip dysplasia
xray of a dogs hip

The last resort, but maybe most effective treatment is surgery. There are four specific types of surgeries and two are for puppies and not adult dogs. A third type is best for dogs under forty pounds, and the last type is a total hip replacement. Surgeries are very costly, of course, but may be the only way to relieve the dog’s pain and allow healing enough to walk again.

The diagnosis of hip dysplasia must come from a veterinarian’s exam and x-rays, and the recommended treatment will depend on the findings. Treating hip dysplasia in dogs is many-faceted, but often effective and successful. It can extend a dog’s life and comfort immeasurably.