Hip dysplasia is a disease that is common among larger dog breeds. It can also be a genetic and hereditary condition in some smaller breeds such as Pugs and Frenchies. Hip Dysplasia can get worse as your dog age, with joints becoming very uncomfortable and limiting their movements. When precisely is the time to put your dog with Hip Dysplasia down and what are the guidelines? If this is your question, you have a detailed answer here in this article.
Is Hip Dysplasia a Reason To Put a Dog Down?
There is little you can do to restore your dog’s condition to normalcy once the disease reaches the end stages, as this comes with severe symptoms. At this stage, you might be advised by your vet to put him down. Once your dog is diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia, help him with surgery or other treatments as recommended by your vet. If this disease is not detected and treated in time, it might get worse, leading to a point where euthanasia is the only option. If your dog cannot walk and get up easily and is in serious pain despite consistent treatment, then the decision to put him down becomes necessary.
Causes of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
Hip dysplasia is caused by hereditary and genetic conditions particularly among larger dog breeds, like Saint Bernard, Labrador Retriever, German Shepherd, the Great Dane, etc. Factors like types of exercise, inconsistent training, added weight, excessive growth rate, inadequate nutrients and minerals have been discovered to heighten the risk of having this genetic predisposition.
Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Dogs
Some dogs start to show a few symptoms of Hip Dysplasia as early as when they are four months old. Other dogs develop the disease as they grow old. These symptoms include:
- Loss of thigh muscle mass
- Obvious enlargement of the shoulder muscle
- Grating in the joint while moving
- Lameness in the hind end
- Decreased range of motion
- Decreased activity
- Swaying, “bunny hopping”
How long can a Dog with Hip Dysplasia Live?
Hip dysplasia does not mean the end of life for your dog. Your dog can still live well with Hip dysplasia as long as the pain is managed. When the condition isn’t managed, it can get worse, leaving you with euthanasia as the only option. The medication, care, and support you give your dog help to keep discomfort and pain that comes with the disease at a very minimal level. However, Hip dysplasia will worsen with age. Adult dogs will begin to have difficulty with any kind of mobility like climbing, jumping, and running.
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How to Make a Dog with Hip Dysplasia Comfortable
Before you finally decide to put your dog down, there are things you can do to make your dog feel comfortable. These things include non-surgical supplementary treatments. You can help your sick dog lose weight to reduce stress on his hips. Always watch his exercises so that he doesn’t get involved in high impact activities. You can use physical therapy such as hydrotherapy. Anti-inflammatory medications (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids) and fluid modifiers are also great ways to ensure that your dog’s condition doesn’t get worse.
Can Dogs Run With Hip Dysplasia?
Exercise is very important for a dog having hip dysplasia. Exercise helps your dog with muscle mass, making hips stronger. When a dog’s joints move often, the inflammation will reduce. But there are some exercises you should not subject your dog to, and running is one of them. Running creates pain and puts pressure on the hips, two things that aren’t needed. Swimming is considered one of the best exercises your dog can indulge in. Finding a canine rehabilitation center with an underwater treadmill can be a great help to your dog. The warm water and motion works on your dog’s joints without exerting intense pressure on the hips.
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When to Put a Dog with Hip Dysplasia Down, and when not to
If your dog has Hip Dysplasia, when even the slightest form of mobility causes your dog acute pain after a series of treatments and even surgery, you might want to consider euthanasia. If your dog cannot get up and walk easily and go to the toilet without your aid, then putting him down is the next line of action. The end-stage of Hip Dysplasia happens when your dog cannot eat and drink without experiencing serious pain. Issues like decreased mental ability, breathing difficulties, extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, etc. can necessitate putting your dog down. This disease grows worse as your dog ages.
When not to put him down? As long as it’s in the early stages and your vet thinks the dog can get through, it is best to allow him to enjoy his life. Some who have the time and resources required to take care of their dogs with this health condition have also decided that it’s best to not put him down.
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