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Hip Dysplasia in Boxers: Symptoms, Treatment & Care

By November 20, 2019 No Comments

Meta Description: Hip dysplasia in dogs is quite a common problem and can cause your canine a lot of pain, even while doing its regular movements. Read this blog post to know more.

Boxer dogs are protective and beloved dogs that are characterized by a squashed face, an endearing under-bite, drooping jowls, and a regal stance. They are some of the most popular breeds of dogs in the world. They are fun-loving, playful, and proud dogs, loyal to family and friends, especially children.

They are naturally suspicious of strangers and consequently make great watchdogs. At times, they can also be trained to be guard dogs. Boxers are alert and intelligent, and sometimes stubborn as well.

As with any pets, it can be extremely painful to watch a happy and energetic dog limping in pain and showing signs of discomfort. Dogs, especially breeds like boxers, are prone to a common skeletal condition known as hip dysplasia, which can be caused by environmental, nutritional, and by-genetic factors. Let’s look into this further…

What is hip dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is a common skeletal condition that is commonly seen in large-sized dogs; however, it can also occur in smaller breeds. To fully understand the disease, you first need to know and understand the basic anatomy of the hip joint.

The hip joint in dogs acts as a pair of balls and sockets. When a canine suffers from hip dysplasia, the ball and socket do not fit correctly and grind or rub instead of sliding smoothly. Because of this, the joint results in damaging friction between the two parts and eventually leads to deterioration and loss of function. Eventually, the cartilage gets destroyed and this is when dogs start feeling the pain. Hip dysplasia is a legacy disease that can pass through the genes of the canine’s parental lineage; however, it can also occur through environmental factors.

What causes hip dysplasia in dogs?
There are a lot of reasons why dogs suffer from hip dysplasia. Your dog may be suffering due to their genetics. As mentioned above, hip dysplasia is hereditary and quite common in large-sized dogs breeds like the German Shepherd, Labrador Retriever, Saint Bernard, Great Dane, etc. Factors like improper nutrition or weight, types of exercises, or excessive growth can magnify the problem.

It is important to feed large-breed puppies with food that is balanced and nutritiousThe dog food you choose needs to be formulated for large-breed pups or specifically Boxers, so make sure to read unbiased dog food reviews like the one found here. The nutrition in the food will help prevent excessive growth, which can lead to several joint problems later like the elbow or hip dysplasia. By slowing down their growth, the joints will be allowed to develop without too much strain, thereby preventing the problem down the line.

Another reason why large-sized dogs are prone to joint problems like hip dysplasia is the lack of glucosamine. If your dog is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, it is possible that glucosamine might be a part of the treatment plan. It will mostly be in the form of a chewable, which will contain a vet-grade dose of MSM, chondroitin, and glucosamine.

What are the symptoms of hip dysplasia?
Some common symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs include:
Stiffness
Pain
Noticeable enlargement of the shoulder muscles
Jarring in the joint due to movement
Narrow stance
Looseness in the joints
Reduction in activities like climbing stairs, running, jumping, etc.
A decrease in other types of motion or activities
Bunny hopping gait or swaying
Loss of the height muscle mass

How do you diagnose hip dysplasia in dogs?
When you take your pet to a veterinarian for a checkup, the vet will perform a physical test. Sometimes, the doctor can deduce hip dysplasia based on the test itself. In other cases, it is up to the owner to let the vet know that their dog is experiencing pain and discomfort.

To confirm the suspicion of hip dysplasia, the doctor will move your dog’s hind legs to test the looseness of the joint and check of symptoms like a reduced range of motion, pain or grinding. The physical exam might also include a blood test to confirm inflammation due to the joint problem.

The vet might also ask you for your dog’s history of illnesses and health to rule out any possibility of injuries or incidents that can contribute to the symptoms of hip dysplasia. You might also have to hand out the information about your dog’s parental lineage.

How do you treat hip dysplasia?
There are some treatment options for hip dysplasia in your dog, ranging from surgery to lifestyle modification. Some owners opt for surgery or total hip replacement, hoping for a full recovery from the joint problem. However, it could also lead to complications during recovery.

There are also some non-surgical methods for treating hip dysplasia like physical therapy, controlled exercise, weight-loss programs, pain medications, etc. The vet might also suggest joint fluid modifiers and anti-inflammatory medications and drugs. Make sure that your Boxer sleeps in a proper position on a boxer dog bed.

How do you prevent hip dysplasia in dogs?

If you want to reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia, the best measure of prevention would be careful and selective breeding. But this might prove to be a bit difficult because it is not always easy to avoid Boxers breeding with the intent to avoid the development of the hip problem. This is because detecting hip dysplasia in dogs is quite difficult, especially in the early stages.

A proper diet can also help prevent hip dysplasia in dogs. You need to avoid feeding high-protein and over-supplemented food to your pups, which will avoid rapid weight gain. A calorie-limited diet will not cause any hindrance to the growth of your canine; your dog will reach the same adult height a bit slower, thereby reducing the possibility of developing hip dysplasia.

Regardless of their athletic and solid build, Boxers may possibly come to be affected by hip dysplasia. However, treatment is available for the problem and your dog will be able to lead full and long lives after the recovery process. Additionally, hip dysplasia is also preventable if you take the steps at the early stages.

Final thoughts
If you feel that your dog is showing signs of hip dysplasia, you need to talk to a veterinarian about the treatment options and lifestyle changes that you need to make so that your pet ages comfortably into old age.

This blog was contributed by Emma Williams.  If you would like to submit a blog please email cynthia@newyorkdognanny.com

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