Hip Dysplasia (Hip Deformity, HD) is a progressive inherited defect describing the condition that there is a mutation existing in the genetic code that over time leads to an abnormal formation of the hip in every dog that has this mutation.
The abnormal formation of the hip causes looseness in the joints and cartilage damage, which then further leads to a disorder, Arthritis. It can make movements for your dog much tougher and painful too.
Of all the hereditary defects of German Shepherds, the most common probably still is Hip Dysplasia. However, on a global basis, meanwhile less than 1 in 5 dogs is affected.
Hip Dysplasia is painful for your dog, and it's frustrating for yourself too. It can become apparent in adult dogs of any age, even as young as two years.
This progressive defect is orthopaedic in nature and the end stage is even painful to see. Having a dog suffering Hip Dysplasia is not pleasant at all!
Who Suffers Hip Dysplasia
As Hip Dysplasia is hereditary, it primarily runs in certain breeds, most predominantly the German Shepherd Dog.
This recessive genetic defect passes down through a specific lineage of dogs. If you have two loose hip dogs mate with each other, the result is a Hip Dysplasia stricken puppy.
Of course, not all dogs with this genetic defect immediately suffer from it and show symptoms. So even if a puppy's parents have been X-rayed and determined healthy, it can be hard to determine if your new puppy has Hip Dysplasia.
Although an X-ray can determine the degree of Hip Dysplasia, it is not wise to subject a puppy to an X-ray, and worse, just for this purpose: To determine Hip Dysplasia the X-ray requires general anesthesia because the test is extremely painful. Therefore, if at all then this X-ray should be done while the puppy is anesthetized for neutering or spaying.
We did exactly this with my new puppy Miguel, and we only did it because the hospital head vet suspected Hip Dysplasia, and in such case surgery is only successful if done before age 7 months.
There are various lifestyle, environmental, and dietary triggers for Hip Dysplasia, foremost excessive proteins, vitamins and minerals in "fortified food", as is common with industrial dog "food".
Items and substances that are designed to make puppies grow faster or larger also have been shown to trigger Hip Dysplasia.
Further, jumping - during play and excitement, or worse, at the wish of an owner who doesn't know of the danger of jumping for this breed.
Finally, insufficient support of the skeletal development - again triggered by the hypocritically "complete" but in fact toxic industrial dog "food", and then annihilation of the bodily repair mechanism through administration of steroids, as is so often done.
The early indicators of Hip Dysplasia are:
- the puppy or adult dog sits with an indicative angle of the back legs (which quality vets can identify, and indeed our hospital head vet demonstrated with my new puppy)
- later, difficulty in standing or moving
- drop in energy levels
- lameness in the dog's back legs
- not wanting to use stairs, especially when going up
- rarely wanting to stand up on the back legs, nor jumping up on anything
- hopping with the back legs when walking
- signs of soreness when lying down, especially after exercise.
Preventing Hip Dysplasia
Foremost, act responsibly, never pay a breeder for a dog with Hip Dysplasia, whether professional breeder or backyard breeder! By paying them, effectively you reward the breeder for not taking interest in eliminating Hip Dysplasia altogether!
With a rescue dog it's different, and only with a rescue dog, because the adoption fee that you pay to a rescue center is not rewarding the breeder of the dog, but sharing the cost of running the rescue center, such that the innocent dogs can find a real home.
Thus if you really want to get a dog from a breeder, have the dog HD certified before you even consider to pay! At the very least, agree in a written contract that the breeder will have to pay you 10 times the amount if the dog is later found to have HD.
Now most breeders will walk away, and that's great! It sorts out the junk among dog breeders: the breeders who aren't sure that their dogs are HD-free, because the breeders didn't bother to check both parents before their breeding venture!
Thus again, act responsibly and the dog world will improve.
Treating Hip Dysplasia
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