Hip dysplasia is the most common bone and joint disease in dogs. It is a disease typical of dogs of large and medium breeds, less frequent in small breeds.
It presents with a poor congruence of the acetabular cavity (hip) with femoral heads that may appear dislocated or subluxated, that is, outside its natural place. The head of the femur does not have a good coating “dance” and this causes stress, inflammations and weakens the joint and periarticular tissues.
Degenerative changes of osteoarthrosis often occur . The osteoarthrosis that appears due to the dysplasia will cause the problems of inflammation, pain, which in turn will cause the dog to carry more weight in the hands, less in the posterior ones, reducing the muscular activity of these and generating muscular atrophy in the third Which will aggravate the symptoms.
The symptoms vary a little depending on the breed and above all the age of the dog. Diagnosis is usually made in distraction, ie with the dog lying up and symmetrical traction in the hind limbs, usually with the dog anesthetized or very sedated. The symptoms are not always related to the result of the X-ray.
Sometimes we see dogs with a lot of dysplasia and that they present little pain or even nothing and also the opposite, much pain with a result in the not so bad radiological exploration. The pain depends more on inflammation of the joint (synovitis) among other factors than the dysplasia itself.
Starting at 5 or 6 months, the warning signs start, the dog stops badly (pulls one leg out), has difficulty standing, does not carry weight in the hind legs, may have signs of pain after exercise , Slip, fall and present the typical gait of the dog with dysplasia which is the swinging of the back and running like a rabbit, ie advancing the two hind legs at the same time. Other behaviors may also be observed, such as sudden mood swings, becoming more aggressive, and shunning the owner’s presence. Sometimes at the end of growth the symptoms disappear or are greatly minimized, leaving only the clear sign in the swinging.
Hip dysplasia has clear indexes of heritability, although dogs are often carriers but do not develop it. Both environmental factors such as rapid development and nutrition as well as genetic factors influence. We can see children with hip dysplasia of normal parents and even viceversa, although given the high risk of transmitting the disease to the offspring one should not have to raise sick parents.