What is hip dysplasia?
A degenerative condition, hip dysplasia affects the ‘ball-and-socket’ joint at the top of the femur (the thigh bone) preventing it from gliding smoothly in the hip socket causing the bones to rub and grind together which leads to pain and bone spurs.
The condition causes stiff hips and hind legs, creating painful friction when the dog moves around. Left untreated, the condition can lead to chronic arthritis problems and bone spurs, and in severe cases to lameness. As such, it is essential to treat the problem early, to slow down its degeneration as the dog becomes older.
Why do dogs develop hip dysplasia?
It is generally believed that hip dysplasia is a congenital condition, however, environmental factors can also play a role in the development of the condition such as diet, excessive growth rate, type of exercise, poor hind muscle development, repetitive strain injuries and weight gain.
Whilst hip dysplasia is more common in large breed dogs such as Great Danes, St. Bernards and Rottweilers, other breeds such as German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Bulldogs, Mastiffs, Labradors and Pugs are also susceptible to the condition.
How we can help
At Paws4Paws we take a multimodal approach to your dog’s hip dysplasia. This means we utilise of a selection of modalities such as remedial massage techniques, myofascial pain release, trigger point therapy, acupressure, passive range of motion exercises as well as rehabilitative strengthening exercises to manage your dog’s hip dysplasia and ultimately improve your dog’s mobility and decrease pain.
This is done with targeted low impact exercises to strengthen the muscles around the hip joint and hind legs to reduce joint laxity. We also release tension in those areas where your dog has been compensating with for their aching joint. Prolonged overload of other body parts due to abnormal gait patterns (i.e. lameness) leads to painfully tight muscles, muscle spasms and trigger points. At Paws4Paws we help to release tight muscles and trigger points to decrease pain and increase mobility. Massage therapy also promotes blood flow to the affected area which helps to reduce inflammation.
We also assess your home environment and, if necessary, give suggestions on how you can modify and adapt your home to decrease your dog’s discomfort, mitigate flare-ups and slow the progression of the degeneration of the joint. We will provide you with a customised exercise plan for you to continue treatment at home.
We also refer to other specialists such as hydrotherapists and acupuncturists if we feel your dog would benefit from these modalities. Further, we might refer you back to your vet for a reassessment of your dog’s pain management should we suspect your dog might be in pain that cannot be controlled and addressed with natural remedies, supplements and physical therapy alone.