Should I Adopt a Dog With Hip Dysplasia: Everything You Need to Know

Energetic dogs are wonderful, but they need a lot of training. Sadly, they’re not the right fit for every dog lover. Adopting a pet with Canine Hip Dysplasia can be an excellent way to fill your heart and your home, and avoid the crazy energy of a hyper pooch. Because CHD can be a problem in dogs of any age or breed, a dog who doesn’t have it could still end up with the condition. That shouldn’t be the deciding factor in adoption. I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about doggy hip dysplasia so you can make an informed decision.

Should I adopt a dog with hip dysplasia? You should adopt a dog with hip dysplasia. When you love a canine, their health is important to you, and learning that the dog you want has a painful condition can be heartbreaking. However, HD isn’t deadly, and there are many ways to treat and manage the situation.

Identifying Hip Dysplasia in Dogs

Adopting a dog is always tricky, so how do you know when they have hip dysplasia? Well, it helps if you know their family history. Canine Hip Dysplasia is a genetic, inherited health issue. Unfortunately, you can’t always know where the dog you love comes from.

If you’re lucky enough to know the breeders, ask about CHD in the family. Otherwise, there are plenty of other ways to find out. While it can be easy to spot, you should always ask your vet to be sure. Look for the following symptoms.

Signs of CHD in Dogs

  1. Atrophy in the hind legs causes the muscles to shrink.
  2. Bunny hopping when your future pet runs can be a sign of pain from CHD.
  3. Clicking sounds from the hips is a reasonably certain indicator, so listen when they move.
  4. Difficulty rising once the dog has laid down is a clue that something is wrong.
  5. Discomfort or signs of pain while playing and walking is not ‘normal’ at any age.
  6. Lameness, aka inability to walk, might be the result of hip pain.
  7. Pain when touched in the pelvis area or back hips
  8. Reluctance to do physical activities likely means that it hurts when the dog tries.
  9. Stiffness in the back legs may be the dog trying not to move their hip joints too much.
  10. A Swaying gait is a sure sign that there’s trouble for your pet.
  11. Unwillingness to climb stairs, or sitting down and refusing to budge during walks shows there’s discomfort.
  12. Weakness in the hind legs, knees that seem to fold up, or shakiness may be the result of CHD.

Your vet is the only one who can diagnose hip dysplasia. They’ll probably conduct a physical exam, and then order x-rays to look at the bones. This allows your vet to rule out other leg, hip, and spinal issues that have similar symptoms. It’s vital to treat the right medical problem.

Hip Dysplasia is Inherited

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition passed down through the parents. Some breeds are more prone to CHD than others. You can have a DNA test if you’re not sure what breed your adoptee is from originally. Although any dog can get CHD, knowing whether you need to keep an extra eye out for hip dysplasia helps.

The good news is that, although it’s common, there are no guarantees that pups will inherit the problem. Litters may produce puppies both with and without hip dysplasia. According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals, purebred dogs have a 1.8% to 48.1% chance of ending up with the condition.

Regrettably, those numbers don’t cover all dogs. First, the estimate is based only on purebred dogs offered for certification. That means no mixed breeds were included. Second, a dog who has signs or x-rays that show hip dysplasia, or other imperfections might be passed over for OFA certification. Breeders sometimes opt to leave those dogs out.

A dog who isn’t presented can’t be counted. However, even those dogs with two parents who have ‘excellent’ OFA ratings can get hip dysplasia. There’s a twenty-five percent chance (on average) that a purebred dog will suffer CHD.

If your new adoptee has hip problems, you may want to invest in a Veterinarian Approved K9 Sling Lift from Labra. Whether they need occasional help, have to undergo a full course of physical therapy, or need surgical intervention, having a great dog sling helps both of you. Especially when you’re looking at getting a larger dog, this will help take the pressure off their hurt or healing body. You can pick one up for your new best friend from Amazon when you click here

Caring for a Dog With Hip Problems

Getting a dog with hip dysplasia doesn’t necessarily mean your dog will be crippled. Environment, care, and diet can help a dog to manage and treat their condition. Additionally, just like arthritis, the effects and severity vary.

In extreme cases, you can get a dog wheelchair to help increase mobility. However, long before your dog reaches that point, there are steps you can take to help minimize their discomfort and problems.

  • Acupuncture

While this technique won’t ‘cure’ your dog of hip dysplasia, it can make a tremendous ancillary (extra) therapy to help reduce pain, and increase range of motion.

  • Car Ramp

Rather than asking your beloved pet to hop up into the car, get a high-quality pet ramp. I prefer the PetSafe Happy Ride Folding Dog Ramp from Amazon. It holds up to a hundred and fifty pounds and packs away easily. A lightweight option like this makes it easy to set up and take anywhere. To find out more, click here

  • Diet

Make sure your pooch is getting the right balance of vitamins, nutrients, and protein to stay healthy. Talk to your vet about prescription diets.

  • Environment

Making sure your home is set up for a CHD dog helps. Get a good doggy bed that warms them in winter. Set up a ramp if you have stairs, and if necessary, get no-slip shoes for your dog to avoid falling on slick floors.

  • Exercise

Don’t let a dog with hip dysplasia lay around all day. Your canine companion needs exercise to strengthen their muscles and tendons. Swimming in a warm pool or pond is perfect. Additionally, take your dog for a couple of short twenty-minute walks every day. Let them set the pace.

  • Medication

You should always consult a vet before giving your dog any medicines. Pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs may help keep your dysplastic dog happy and pain-free. However, some human medicines can harm or kill a dog, so always ask before you medicate. If you have to wait for an appointment, try packing warm (not hot) water bottles around your dog’s hips for twenty minutes at a time to help.

  • Supplements

There are a ton of joint supplement options on the market that can help your dogs’ CHD. I suggest VetSmart Joint Supplement for Dogs. This brand has two hundred percent more glucosamine and a hundred and fifty percent more MSM than other varieties. For prices and availability, click here

  • Therapy

Increasing flexibility and mobility through physical therapy isn’t just for humans. Your dog can benefit from massage and hydrotherapy. Ask your vet about treatment options.

Surgical Options for CHD

Depending on the severity and age of the dog with hip dysplasia, there are surgical options. While it’s not always necessary, especially when your adopted pet is in a lot of pain, it may be the best course. Typically it will cost somewhere between $1,700 to $4,500+.

Surgery for Puppies & Young Dogs

There are four main options for surgical intervention. The first is for puppies. Juvenile pubic symphysiodesis is a minimally invasive and more cost-effective way to help a pup. A dog who has had this surgery is visually indistinguishable from any other dog. Moreover, the risk of complications is slim. Plus, the cost is less than more complex operations for adult dogs.

Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO) is another option for very young dogs. It works best on those under ten months. While this particular option is both costly and painful, it is also one of the most recommended surgeries for young dogs with CHD.

During a TPO, a surgeon carefully breaks the pelvic bone to realign the leg bone within the socket. As awful as that may sound, the up-side is that it restores full function to your dog’s legs. Moreover, it’s less likely that bone misalignment will contribute to arthritis later in your dog’s life.

Surgeries for Adult & Older Dogs

Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO) is more affordable than a full hip replacement. During this type of surgery, the top part of the femur (leg bone) is removed and replaced with a fibrous joint. Undergoing FHO will relieve most of the pain for your dog.

The downside to a Femoral Head Ostectomy is that it doesn’t restore motion the way other options can. The original range of motion will be limited after doing this. However, it can still be a good option for old or lightweight dogs.

The last and most extreme solution is total hip replacement.  This surgery is fairly self-explanatory. The dog’s hip is removed and replaced with an artificial part. After a hip replacement and sufficient healing time, your dog should be pain-free and able to move normally again.

Whatever decision you make for your dog’s health, they will need a very comfortable place to convalesce (heal) after their surgery. Make sure your post-surgery pup gets plenty of water and follows the vet’s instructions to the letter.

Final Thoughts

Adopting a dog is always the right choice because it comes from the heart. However, knowing what you’re in for is vital. When you meet that special furry friend and they have hip dysplasia, you need to be ready, both emotionally and financially, to care for their needs.

If you’re the sort of person who expects to go out for daily jogs with your dog, then an HD sufferer isn’t the right fit for you. Incredibly active humans should consider puppies, young dogs, and active breeds like border collies for the best fit.

There’s a dog for everyone out there. Make your choices carefully and do your research so you and your canine companion can both be happy and healthy.

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