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One of the most common ailments we see in older dogs is hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is most often found in larger breeds of dogs, such as the German Shepherd, Great Dane, Golden Retriever, and Labrador Retriever. By some estimates, as many of 50% of some of the larger breeds are effected. While most scientists agree that hip dysplasia is itself a genetic disease, there are other factors that come into play when it comes to whether an individual dog develops the condition. Your veterinarian Leesburg goes over some basic facts about hip dysplasia in this article.
The symptoms of hip dysplasia vary from dog to dog. Younger dogs may seem to wobble or weave when walking. Adult dogs that are developing hip dysplasia may walk with a different gait, putting more weight on their front legs. You might notice your furry friend sort of hopping, or moving stiffly. As the condition worsens, Fido may begin to have difficulty standing up, and he may balk at strenuous exercise. He may also have problems climbing stairs and getting in and out of cars.
While hip dysplasia is a genetic condition, there are things you can do to decrease the chances of your dog developing it, or at least delay its onset. Making sure your dog has a proper diet during his youth is one of the best things you can do for your furry pal. Giving a young dog a high-calorie diet may contribute to the development of hip dysplasia down the road, as rapid growth and weight gain will put extra stress on canine bones. Another thing which can lead to hip dysplasia is improper exercise, especially during a dog’s growing period. Young dogs shouldn’t be encouraged to do exercises that will put their weight on their back legs. Jumping for a Frisbee, for instance, will often result in your furry buddy putting his weight on his rear legs.
While hip dysplasia cannot be cured, there are several treatment options available. Surgery is one option. Medication may also help. Exercise is also very important. While you don’t want to over-exercise your dog, you want to keep him active. Supplements may also help. Sometimes a heating pad set on low, with a moist towel under it, will help ease the pain of hip dysplasia. Since the options will vary based on your dog’s specific age, weight, and health, as well as the severity of his conditions, you’ll want to discuss treatment options with your vet before deciding which method is best for your and your beloved pet.
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