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Canine Hip Dysplasia

By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Canine Hip Dysplasia is an inherited genetic ailment that is the result of an improper formation of the hip joint, causing deterioration and pain. Although more commonly seen in larger dogs, hip dysplasia can actually occur in dogs of all sizes and breeds as it is, unfortunately, an inherited condition.

Hip dysplasia can occur in dogs as young as five months old and can greatly vary in levels of intensity. You may not see symptoms until the dog is older. Observe any signs including stiffness in movement, difficulty sitting and rising, decreased activity as well as decreased interest, lameness, limping, swaying or favoring one side, difficulty or avoidance of climbing steps and jumping, decreased range of motion, noticeable pain when moving, enlargement of shoulder muscles of the front legs - as the dog leans more heavily toward the front to relieve any pressure or pain on the back legs.

In younger dogs, you'll find extra looseness in the joints, a telltale sign; in older dogs, degeneration of the joints would be seen.

Take your dog to the vet as soon as possible if you suspect this condition. You'll be advised on what could be done, how mild or severe the condition is, as well as what you can do to help.

The ASPCA recommends a light gentle massage in a circular movement. This can be beneficial but watch for signs if it's too much for your dog. Provide a warm orthopedic bed as this is extremely helpful, a warm water bottle applied 15 minutes twice daily and keep your dog away from damp and chilly temperatures.

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