Hip Dysplasia in Dogs Essay

Submitted By Shewasthemusee
Words: 2060
Pages: 9

Elizabeth Brown
Dr. Ritter
BSC1010C MW 7:30
3 Dec. 2014
Canine Hip Dysplasia Canis lupus familiaris, the domestic dog, man’s best, and generally most expensive, friend; canines companions have been kept domestically for around 11-16 thousand years. In these years, among the most studied and most frustrating diseases in veterinary medicine is canine hip dysplasia. Canine hip dysplasia is a very common, genetic, developmental orthopedic disease in which an abnormal formation of the hip leads to looseness in the hip joints causing cartilage damage. This disease has been found both difficult to prevent and to treat. The treatment options, especially in advanced cases, that are available are very limited and often quite complex procedures.
So, what exactly is this disease? “Canine hip dysplasia is a developmental orthopedic disease. When a dog has dysplasia, it has an abnormal development of the ball-in-socket joint that makes up the hip. In a dysplastic hip, the ball (the head of the femur, or thighbone) and the socket (the acetabulum, a portion of the pelvis), do not fit together snugly. The result is a painful and damaging friction. When a dog bears its weight on the joint, the friction strains the joint capsule, which is a fibrous tissue that surrounds the joint and produces joint fluid. The straining then damages the cartilage and leads to the release of inflammatory proteins within the joint. Thus begins the cycle of cartilage destruction, inflammation, and pain the symptoms we associate with arthritis.”(VetCentric)
This is depicted in the image found on Dog Heirs website and shown below:

This particular disease can affect all breeds, including mixed breeds, but large and giant breeds have been found more commonly affected than small breeds. Some breeds are more genetically susceptible to the hip laxity that increases the change of an instance of hip dysplasia. A few of the most common breeds associated with this disease are the German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Labrador Retriever, Great Danes, Mastiffs, and Saint Bernard’s; and on the smaller scale, pugs, basset hounds, bulldogs, springer spaniels and cocker spaniels. There has even been a study to further research which larger dogs have the highest percentage of susceptibility; “The OFA has ranked many large breeds with this problems, in order of frequency with which they suffer from hip dysplasia. Among them, in order of frequency are Otterhounds (54%), Neapolitan Mastiffs (48%), St . Bernards (47%), Bloodhounds (26%), Newfoundlands (25%), Catahoula Hounds (25%), Chesapeake Bay Retrievers (21%), Rottweilers (20%), Golden Retrievers (20%), Norwegian Elkhounds (20%), Mastiffs (20%), Chows (19%), German Shepherds (19%), and Old English Sheepdogs (19%).”(Hines) The general signs and symptoms consist of: decreased activity due to low energy levels, difficulty rising, lameness in the back legs, reluctances to climb stairs as well as jump or stand on hind legs, bunny-hopping or swaggering gait, and soreness both after laying down and after heavy exercises. In advances cases it is not uncommon to observe an alteration in the dog’s stance to apply more of their weight to their front legs, as shown below:

Diagnosing this disease is typically done using complete physical examinations as well as x-ray imaging. In dogs already showing outward signs of arthritis, it’s usually easy to recognize the changes in the joint through x-ray imaging, and looseness may even be felt during the physical exam. A slight issue is encountered in about half the instances of owners looking for determination, there are two methods developed for breeding purposes to ensure the breeder whether or not the animal is at a great risk for transmitting the disease to their offspring. These methods are OFA testing and the relatively new PennHip method, both of which are described in detail by Drs. Foster and Smith on their Pet Education website.
“OFA: The method used by the Orthopedic Foundation