Dr. Lucas Kandefer is talking about hip dysplasia. It is a common condition that vets see with a lot of the pure breed dogs. German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are unfortunately over represented, when they talk about pets that tend to have this. What is hip dysplasia? Dr. Kandefer says the hip itself is a ball and socket joint, so we should see a deep socket with a good deep groove with a ball inside it that lets it move around and rotate through there and it is held really well. When you talk about dysplasia, he says, that socket and that ball aren’t made properly; they don’t seem like they fit together. So when you find a really shallow socket for that ball to fit in what that means, is now that top of the hip, can start moving around; the top of the leg around in there, and doesn’t tend to automatically cause pain but does mean we are going to see that these pets will develop arthritis much quicker than a lot of our dogs that don’t have that same problem. Dr. Kandefer says it doesn’t seem to happen in cats and a little less in mixed breed dogs. It is a condition if identified early can help us know what to expect down the line.
There are some interventions in pets who have really advanced or significant hip dysplasia. There are some surgical corrections that can help make your dog live a much more comfortable life. Dr. Kanderfer says one thing they do find, is that there a couple of things that actually can make this happen more likely and new data and new dog foods have been developed that basically have found that right combination of marrows and vitamins are really important to how your dog grows and too much phosphorus and too much calcium can make it so that dogs who may not have been prone to hip dysplasia have developed that type of condition. It is really important to make sure that your pets, dogs in particular, especially large and giant breed dogs, are fed a puppy food for the first year of their life. That can make sure that they grow their bones slowly; they develop more properly. That can really help diminish the likeliness you see these issues. While hip dysplasia is a really devasting disease there are a lot of things we can do to help make sure our pets are more comfortable when they do develop this and when they are dealing with this. Keep them comfortable as they have arthritis which in the end, keeping them under their heavy weight or their ideal weight. Being at their ideal weight is really important so they don’t more pressure on those joints so keeping your pet trim can really help them stick around much longer says Dr. Kandefer. Talk to your veterinarian. They can help walk you through it if your dog does have these issues, what to expect and any interventions that can be done early on.