Understanding Hip Problems

Limping is the most common musculoskeletal clinical signs in dogs. Usually, this is observed on the hind part of the body specifically on the hips. If your dog is walking a bit strange or is exhibiting pain when standing up, walking or running, hip problems always top the list of differential diagnoses. So what are the usual reasons of limping and hip issues? Here are some information about this specific condition that may help you understand the nature and management of this disease.
The two most common hip disease are arthritis and hip dysplasia. Arthritis has a higher incidence in large breed and senior dogs. Just like in humans, arthritis is caused by the friction brought about by the rubbing of bones at joints. Due to the old age, the rubbing already causes inflammation whenever the joints are pushed by a weight on the body. The inflammation leads to pain and discomfort that makes dogs unable to stand or withstand movement. In small breeds, patellar luxation is more common. This condition involves weakening of the kneecap and its ligaments that also lead to soreness. Hip dysplasia, also common to large and old dogs also involve the ligaments of the femur (thigh bone) and the pelvis (hip bone) where the head of the femur gets dislocated. This misalignment hinders the leg to support the weight of the body leading to a wobbly and unstable gait. If diagnosed early, it can still be corrected by proper management, manual manipulation (under anesthesia) or surgery. It will be up to your vet to assess your dog’s condition and give you the best treatment. However, there are also cases where the best management is just to give supportive medications like calcium, glucosamine and vitamin c that will delay the onset of pain. Calcium helps the bone to stay healthy and avoids degeneration while glucosamine, on the other hand serves as a lubricant on the joints and lessens the tension. Vitamin C is actually needed for collagen formation and suppresses bone destroying cells called osteoclasts.

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