Common Signs & Symptoms
- Stiff or slow when getting up and down
- Reluctance to climb stairs, run or jump
- Swelling around the joints
- Changes in muscle mass
- Favoring a leg by holding it off the ground frequently
Common Causes of Hip and Joint Problems
Hip Dysplasia in Large Breed Dogs
Poorly developed pelvic muscles and hip joint looseness can lead to hip dysplasia. When the femur doesn’t fit tightly into the pelvic socket the resulting friction leads to joint degeneration and loss of function.
Hip dysplasia in large breed dogs can be trigged by genetics and environmental factors. Some dogs are born with the disease, while others develop it later in life in association with arthritic conditions. Inadequate nutrition and rapid weight gain can also lead to hip dysplasia.
Common symptoms of hip dysplasia include intolerance to exercise, swaying gait, reduced movement, lameness, and a narrow stance. As the condition of the hips deteriorates, dogs can become very reluctant to be touched and display aggressive behavior in response to the severity of discomfort.
A degenerative disease brought on by years of wear and tear on the joints, osteoarthritis is most common in older dogs. Osteoarthritis can impact any of the joints in the body such as the elbow, knee, hip, shoulder and back.
The symptoms of osteoarthritis will depend on the degree of degeneration and which joint(s) is affected. The most common early sign is an altered gait as the dog tries to shift weight away from the affected limb(s), plus reluctance to perform certain movements.
An inherited disease, elbow dysplasia predominately affects the front legs of medium to large dog breeds. In most cases both elbows are affected. There are several developmental problems associated with this disease that lead to joint irritation, degeneration and inflammation. Essentially, elbow dysplasia is arthritis of the elbow joints and can be very debilitating.
Symptoms of elbow dysplasia usually start to present themselves when a puppy is between 4 and 6 months of age. However, some dogs won’t show signs of this degenerative disease until adulthood. Various degrees of lameness in the front legs that becomes exacerbated following exercise are important indicators of elbow dysplasia.
Repetitive strain injuries, pelvic injuries and other joint related injuries can lead to the development of dysplasia or osteoarthritis, especially in older dogs. Ensuring that your dog has sufficient time and support to recover from such injuries can reduce the risks of problems later in life.
Surgery: There are a wide range of surgery options for pets with hip and joint problems. However, these are notoriously expensive and can also cause additional complications. Prior to opting for surgery, it’s wise to consider more conservative treatment options that are less invasive, yet still effective.
Supplements: One of the major problems for dogs suffering from hip and joint problems is that they don’t have the nutritional support to help reduce the severity of symptoms. Supplement have been specially formulated to help reduce pain and inflammation, plus promote the development of healthy joint cartilage. Taken regularly, the debilitating symptoms of osteoarthritis and dysplasia can be minimized, restoring vitality to your dog.
Any dog owner is strongly encouraged to add dog and hip supplements to their dog’s daily diet, especially for larger breeds. This can prevent the onset of future hip and joint aliments; while also providing relief to dogs already displaying symptoms. It’s also important to ensure that your dog is receiving regular exercise. This will help to minimize weight gain and support healthy joints and hips.