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Arthritis and Joint Pain Super Relief Kit

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Signs of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs and Cats

Vet Talks 3 min read

Hip dysplasia happens mostly in dogs and is not common in cats. It is possible in all dog breeds, especially large breeds like German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, and Labrador Retrievers. In cats, breeds like Maine Coons, Persians, and Himalayans seem to be more affected. To try to prevent having a pet with dysplasia you can request a hip dysplasia report from the parents, if possible. Knowing the signs of hip dysplasia in dogs and cats is helpful for taking proactive care of your little one.

What is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is the malformation of the joint that is located between the femur and the pet’s pelvis. Hip dysplasia is a hereditary disease. If a female has the disease, it is very likely her offspring will have it too. It can affect both males and females with equal frequency due to it being hereditary. External factors can also predispose dogs and cats to the condition. For example, diet, physical exercise, being overweight, and the environment where the pet lives.

What are the Signs of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs and Cats?

Signs of hip dysplasia become evident between the first four months and one year of the animal’s life. An indicator of symptoms is when your pet shows unusual behavior due to pain.

Signs can include:

  • difficulty in locomotion, especially on smooth and slippery floors
  • difficulty getting up, running, climbing stairs, and braking quickly
  • a staggering gait
  • dragging the nails of the hind limbs on the floor
  • arch at the back at the slightest sign of pain
  • supporting all their weight on the forelimbs (which causes atrophy of the hind limb muscles)

Treatment Options for Hip Dysplasia

There are cases in which the pet is dysplastic but does not show any clinical symptoms. Your veterinarian may advise medication or surgery to treat your pet’s hip dysplasia.

Medications used for treatment may include anti-inflammatories, analgesics, and steroids. They help reduce the animal’s pain, allowing better movement, always under the supervision of the veterinarian. Rest and reduction of usual physical activities are essential during treatment.

The sooner diagnosed, the greater the chances of a satisfactory quality of life.

Surgical treatment is based on techniques that improve the animal’s quality of life but do not cure dysplasia. In dysplastic animals, the pectineus muscle presses the head of the femur against the acetabulum. The acetabulum is the cavity where the pelvis and the femur meet to form the hip joint.

A pectinectomy is one of the techniques to treat animals with hip dysplasia. A section of the tendon of the pectineus muscle is removed to release the tension on the hip joint capsule. For cases considered more serious, your vet may recommend an acetabuloplasty. This is plastic surgery to repair the acetabulum. In extreme cases, the head of the femur may be amputated.

As it is a virtually irreversible disease, the sooner diagnosed, the greater the chances of a satisfactory quality of life. Veterinarians use clinical exams and x-rays to diagnose hip dysplasia. These results help the veterinarian to choose the best way to conduct the treatment.


Ways to Help Dogs and Cats with Hip Dysplasia

Adjustments in your pet’s lifestyle and environment can help prevent the evolution of the disease. For example:

  • Help your pet avoid smooth and slippery floors (lay down rugs in slippery areas)
  • Make sure puppies and kittens have moderate exercise from 3 months old
  • Avoid overfeeding to prevent obesity

We recommend testing puppies and kittens for hip dysplasia if their parents have it. Confirming the condition early allows for proactive treatment to begin before the disease progresses. Natural supplements can also help with managing the condition.

Supplements for Pets With Hip Dysplasia

At NHV, we have supplements to help manage hip dysplasia symptoms and to help you and your pet have more quality playtime together.

Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and very beneficial to help with joint and muscle pain. We highly recommended Turmeric for cases like arthritis and hip dysplasia.

Old Timer is our supplement specifically formulated to help with muscle and joint health. It is especially helpful for conditions like arthritis and hip dysplasia. It can help to soothe discomfort and inflammation in the hip.

Yucca is another potent anti-inflammatory to help your furbaby when they have hip dysplasia. It is also very beneficial as a discomfort aid.

Need any suggestions or just want to talk to a pet expert? We are ready to help you and your furbaby to keep jumping and running! Click on the button below to start chatting with a pet expert.

Dr. Rebeca Oliveira DVM

Dr. Rebeca Oliveira DVM

Dr. Rebeca is a holistic veterinarian from Brazil with a passion for natural and integrative medicine. She’s been studying integrative medicine and alternative (and healthier) diets since 2015, and now started to study the power of herbs with the NHV Family. In her spare time, you can find her spending time with her golden retriever, Kuga.

Published: May 18, 2022

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