Hip Dysplasia In Dogs: Causes And Symptoms
The cause of hip dysplasia in dogs is not known. However, there are several theories that have been proposed to explain the causes of hip dysplasia in dogs. Some researchers believe that the condition may result from genetic factors, while others think it results from environmental factors such as poor nutrition or lack of exercise. There are no definite answers yet because all these hypotheses need further research.
The most common theory about the cause of hip dysplasia in dogs is that it could be caused by a problem with the development of certain genes. These genes include those involved in bone growth and bone metabolism. If these genes are defective, then the bones do not grow properly and become weak. When these bones fail to develop normally, they cannot support the weight of their own bodies and collapse inward causing pain when walking around or sitting down.
Another theory is that it could be due to problems with the development of nerves. Nerves are responsible for transmitting signals between muscles and other parts of the body. If nerve cells are damaged, then they cannot transmit signals effectively. When these nerves fail to function properly, they cause muscle weakness and spasms which make walking difficult or impossible.
A third theory is that it could be due to a problem with the blood vessels in the legs. These blood vessels provide nutrients and oxygen to muscles. If they are damaged, then muscles cannot get enough nutrients and oxygen. Without sufficient oxygen, muscles become tired and weak and do not work properly causing pain when walking or running.
Hip dysplasia in dogs also may develop secondary to other conditions such as arthritis, spinal cord disease, or degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae of the spine.
Teacup size dogs and toy size dogs are more likely to suffer from hip dysplasia than larger breeds. Some of these teacup dogs and toy dogs also have short legs which makes the condition worse. It is much easier for a dog with short legs to squat low to the ground than it is for a dog with longer legs.
Dogs that are more likely to suffer from hip dysplasia include: Cocker Spaniels, Miniature Pinschers, Poodles, and Boston Terriers. Other dogs that are also prone to this condition include: Dachshunds, Beagles, Bulldogs, and Basset Hounds. It is not necessary that all dogs that are prone to hip dysplasia will necessarily develop the condition.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs can vary from mild to severe. Usually this condition first becomes apparent when the dog is between 6 and 18 months of age. Dogs that have hip dysplasia may seem to have a stiff gait when they run or walk, as if their hips are stiff. They may also seem to have a slight limp.
Other symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs may include a tendency to sit down rather than squat when they relieve themselves. Dogs with hip dysplasia may also walk toward or sideways when they first get up from resting. Other symptoms that may be noticed by their owners include difficulty getting into the dog house or kennel, or hopping to get on the couch or bed.
Dogs with hip dysplasia may have a “bunny hopping” gait or a tendency to overbalance or fall to the side. Sometime the only sign of the condition may be a slight difference in the way the dog walks.
Diagnosis of hip dysplasia in dogs is normally based on a complete history of the dog’s behavior and a physical examination. Your veterinarian will manipulate the dog’s legs and hips gently to determine if there is a significant difference in the way that the hips and legs move.
X-rays are essential for confirming the diagnosis and can often be done at your veterinarian’s office. Radiographs will clearly show improper growth of the ball and socket joint of the hip and signs of arthritis that may be present.
Treatment of hip dysplasia in dogs depends on the severity of the condition. Dogs with mild signs may not need any treatment. Other dogs may benefit from a special diet or glucosamine and chondroitin supplements.
If these treatments fail, your veterinarian may recommend surgery. Removal of some of the bones around the hip joint is sometimes done to improve range of motion of the joint. Other surgical techniques involve cutting ligaments to allow greater range of motion.
Other implants may be used to support the hip joint. Arthroscopy is a newer technique that can be used to evaluate and treat certain conditions of the hip joint.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones (Thyroxine and Triiodothyronine). This condition is caused by an autoimmune disease that destroys the cells of the thyroid gland. This disease is usually detected by testing the blood for levels of thyroid hormones.
Hypothyroidism in dogs can be acquired or inherited. The acquired form is most commonly due to autoimmune thyroiditis and occurs when a dog’s immune system begins to attack the cells of the thyroid gland. Inherited hypothyroidism is rarer and is usually passed on from parents to their offspring.
Hypothyroidism is more common in middle-aged to older dogs and in certain breeds such as Boxers, Dobermans, Great Danes, Golden Retrievers, Lhasa Apsos, Newfoundlands, Shepherds, and West Highland White Terriers.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism in dogs can be variable and not all dogs will show all of the symptoms. Common symptoms include weight gain, lethargy, hair loss, skin problems, increased susceptibility to infection, infertility, and arthritis. Some of these symptoms are also seen with other diseases as well so hypothyroidism is usually diagnosed by testing the blood for levels of thyroid hormones. Other diseases that can mimic hypothyroidism include diabetes, an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism), and kidney or liver disease.
Hypothyroidism is not curable but it can be treated with thyroid hormone replacement medications. Dogs will need to take medication the rest of their lives in order to live normal healthy lives.
Cushing’s disease or syndrome is a condition caused by prolonged exposure to high levels of the hormone cortisol. It is due to one of several illnesses that cause excess production of cortisol by the adrenal glands (the glands located near the kidneys).
There are several types of Cushing’s disease. The most common is probably the one caused by cancer (either located in the adrenal glands or elsewhere in the body). The second most common type is due to administration of glucocorticoids (corticosteroids) for a long period of time. This is similar to the acquired form of hyperadrenocorticism described below.
The third type is due to an adrenal tumor which causes the overproduction of cortisol. This type is known as pituitary dependent Cushing’s disease. In this form, a tumor in the pituitary gland is thought to cause excessive release of the hormone that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce cortisol.
Dogs with Cushing’s disease are typically older and overweight. They may have skin problems, arthritis, a “round” face, and may be infertile.
The disease can only be definitively diagnosed with a specific test called the ” dexamethasone suppression test”. This involves giving an injection of dexamethasone, a synthetic version of cortisol, and measuring the reduction in cortisol levels over time. In dogs with Cushing’s disease, there is no significant reduction in cortisol levels.
Treatment involves drugs to reduce the production of cortisol by the adrenal glands. Some of these drugs actually destroy the cells that produce cortisol while others inhibit their function. Treatment may also involve targeting the type of tumor in cases of pituitary-dependent Cushing’s disease. After treatment, dogs are monitored for relapse by blood tests.
Addison’s disease is a rare disorder most frequently seen in middle-aged German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, and Boxers. It is due to inadequate function of the adrenal glands (the organs that produce stress hormones and other biologically active molecules). Inadequate production of cortisol leads to a drop in blood pressure (hypotension) and other symptoms of the disease.
The disease affects both males and females and may be seen in dogs as young as 2 years of age. The cause is unknown, but it has been suggested that autoimmune problems are at fault. There may also be a genetic link since the disease has been seen in multiple family members.
Symptoms of Addison’s disease include:
Diarrhea (which may be bloody)
Anxiety (panting, pacing, shaking, etc.)
Severe weakness and pain (especially in the limbs) due to insufficient energy levels. This may lead to recumbancy (dogs refusing to get up). Muscle atrophy is a common complication.
Unusual behaviors such as self-biting or excessive grooming.
Excessive salivation (seen as foam around the mouth).
Poor haircoat and skin infections.
Loss of appetite.
Due to a loss of blood pressure, the animal may experience weakness, dizziness, and even collapse. There is also a risk of infection since the lack of stress response results in a weaker immune system.
Treatment involves replacing the missing hormones with tablets that are absorbed through the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, it is important to monitor blood pressure and provide supportive care for any issues such as dehydration.
It is also important to rule out other possible diseases that may cause similar symptoms such as acute gastroenteritis, Addison’s disease (a disorder of the adrenal glands), diabetes, blood clots, and liver failure.
The following breeds are more likely to be affected by Addison’s disease.
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