A dog with early hip displasia.
Your pet's joints need looking after and it is a big part of your pets care. Large breeds of dogs have been bred to be a lot larger than their ancestors, this puts a lot of strain on their joints and after time, can start to become damaged, especially in animals where their weight is a BIG issue putting even more stress on already strained parts of the body.
Breeds such as German Shepherds, Labradors, Golden Retrievers and even Poodles are susceptible to a condition called Hip Dysplasia, although it is not unheard of in other breeds. In healthy dogs, the ball of the femur sits well in the socket of the pelvis. like your fist into a curved palm. In hip dysplasia the ball of the femur may become flattened or the socket may be quite shallow not allowing good movement in the socket and in turn causing discomfort, lameness and even crippling pain.
Effects of hip displasia over time.
Arthritis is a condition that affects us all, even our animals. It is a painful and uncomfortable condition which is mostly recognised when your dog takes longer to get up after laying down for long periods, running with a stiff gait and even nipping when touched in the hind limb areas. Arthritis can be caused by general old age but also any kind of trauma to the joints - eg. a puppy that has been dropped from a height and hurt its leg, an accident resulting in fractures or ligament damage that will cause degeneration to cartilage that protects your pets joints.
Our pets are the masters of hiding pain, being able to look out for the little signals they give off means we can implement practices to help manage these conditions and improve their quality of life.
Willoughby Veterinary Hospital is on a mission to educate owners on joint management to help your pet get the most out of life. We have an interactive program with videos on how joints work, causes of joint degeneration, products and services to help manage the conditions.