Denver Dog

How Chiropractic Can Help with Canine Hip Dysplasia

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What is Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)?

Canine hip dysplasia is a common skeletal condition affecting the hip (coxofemoral joint). It occurs when a dog’s hip joint(s) doesn’t develop correctly. Just like people, a dog’s hip joint functions as a ball and socket. In a healthy hip joint, the ball (femoral head) and socket (acetabulum) move together, sliding smoothly. The femoral head should fit inside of the acetabulum and move snugly without friction. In dogs with CHD, the joint doesn't develop properly and the ball and socket grind and rub against one another. Over time, the constant grinding causes an overall deterioration (arthritis) and an eventual loss of function of the joint itself.

What Causes Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)?

CHD is a genetic condition, though environmental and dietary factors can contribute to the problem. It is typically more prevalent in larger dog breeds like Saint Bernards, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and German Shepherds but dogs of all sizes and breeds are susceptible. 

What are Symptoms of Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)?

Symptoms of CHD can range from painful joints, difficulty moving and general stiffness to extreme difficulty getting around, hind-end weakness and lameness. 

Some common symptoms to watch for are:

  • “Bunny-hopping” - using both back legs at the same when running

  • A swaying gait

  • Audible clicking sound coming from hips while walking

  • Pain when touched in hip or pelvic area

  • Difficulty standing up, lying down or climbing stairs

  • A reluctance to exercise or play

  • Limping and lameness

These symptoms can be seen in puppies as early as a few months old but are most common in dogs one or two years of age. If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog it’s important to take them to your vet so that a proper diagnosis can be made. Your vet will typically perform a physical exam and take x-rays to determine the degree and severity of the hip dysplasia, which will help determine the best course of treatment for your dog.

How Can Chiropractic Help with Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)?

The bad news is that there is no cure or way to prevent hip dysplasia because it’s almost always inherited. The good news is that there are a lot of options to treat and manage dogs that have CHD. 

For those dog’s that may not be a candidate for surgery or owners that opt for a conservative approach to managing symptoms of CHD, chiropractic is a great option. 

Chiropractic can help by:

  • Keeping your dog’s skeletal system healthy at an early age. Even if your puppy isn’t displaying any symptoms of CHD, it’s important that they develop proper range of movement and have any joint restrictions (subluxations) corrected so that they don’t become worse as your dog ages.

  • Chiropractic reduces inflammation. Studies have shown that swelling and edema happen at a restricted joint and results in the production and release of inflammatory cytokines that cause chronic inflammation. Hip dysplasia causes a restricted hip joint which creates a lot of inflammation which in turn can be very painful for your dog and can lead to other illnesses.

  • As CHD progresses you will likely see your dog favoring one side of their body in order to compensate for instability in the hip. Some dogs also move in ways to put less pressure on the painful hip socket such as running with both hind limbs together, resembling a bunny hop. This can lead to compensation injuries in other parts of your dogs body. A visit to your animal chiropractor makes sure that these compensations are addressed so that they don’t negatively affect their healthy joints. 

If your dog is affected by canine hip dysplasia and you’re looking for conservative options to help control their symptoms, stop the progression, and prevent any compensations in other parts of their body, we’d love to talk with you. Call 720.350.4353 to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION or Book online.