Hip Dysplasia in Great Danes

Hip dysplasia is a debilitating disease that affects the hip joints in dogs. It is commonly found among large breed dogs but also can occur in medium and small size breeds. Certain breeds like Great Danes are more susceptible to hip dysplasia, and the disease is more common in pure-bred dogs than in mixed breeds.

 

Hip Dysplasia in Great Danes – What Is It?

Hip dysplasia is a degenerative condition, which can affect any dog. Although the causes may vary, the effects are always the same: loss of mobility, increasing pain, impaired gait, and even behavioral and mood changes in your dog (including snappishness and depression).

What Are the Signs of Hip Dysplasia in Great Danes?

  • Hobbles, or walks/trots with an irregular gait
  • Tries to keep weight off one of the rear legs
  • Starts to slow down or limp on a favorite walk or run
  • Stays in bed instead of playing outdoors
  • Whimpers or yelps when climbing stairs
  • Flinches when the hip area or lower back are touched

What Happens in Hip Dysplasia – Why Does It Hurt?

Dysplasia is simply the dislocation of a bone from its proper place. “Plasia” is the Greek word for molding, so it’s easy to visualize an architectural form, like a beam or column, separating from its stabilizing molding.  Hip dysplasia or displacement is one of the best-known types of dysplasia in dogs.

The degenerative process of hip dysplasia is gradual. The onset of symptoms, specifically pain, is also somewhat gradual taking place over the course of years. In simple terms, the two bones of the hip joint shift out of alignment. The structure of a dog’s hip bones is similar to our human hip formation, consisting of a precisely fitted ball-and-socket joint. This is called a “spheroidal” joint, referring to the spherical head of the distal or articulating bone, which fit into the cup-like cavity of the accompanying bone.

Perhaps because they are such hand-working structures, the ball and socket joints are prone to disease, and simple mechanical wear and damage over time.

Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

  • Hip dysplasia results in several symptoms which reduce mobility and cause pain.
  • The muscles and joints become lax, and the joint capsule, a strong band of connective tissue which circled the bones for added stability, loses its elastic strength.
  • As this happens, the articular (working) surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. The bones slowly separate as the soft tissues around the joint degenerate. The disease may affect one or both right and left hips.

With the loss of protective scaffolding between the bone surfaces, the nerves in the bone endings themselves become exposed. When bone touches bone, there is acute pain. In addition, the loss of tensile strength of the supporting tendons, muscle, and cartilage means that other structures in the hip and leg must compensate in terms of weight-bearing and movement. This unnatural compensation may cause fatigue and pain. It may even cause the dog to injure itself—running to catch a Frisbee, or climbing stairs, for instance.

What Causes Hip Dysplasia?

Experts disagree as to the source of hip dysplasia in dogs.

  • Too much food

    One theory is that feeding a young, growing dog too many calories early in its development contributes to the disorder.

  • Too much exercise

    Another theory is that too much exercise, or the wrong kind of exercise, or simply too much high-impact exercise, such as fetching, jumping, and catching a ball or Frisbee on concrete, contributes to hip dysplasia.

A factual observation about this condition is that hip dysplasia tends to affect large breeds more so than smaller dogs. This, too, is relative—it is possible for small dogs to become affected by hip dysplasia, too.  However, we correctly associate the condition most frequently with big breeds.

These breeds do carry a genetic predisposition toward the condition. It is also true that purebreds, especially large dogs, are most likely to become vulnerable to hip dysplasia, therefore calling upon informed and responsible breeding practices.

What You Can Do to Improve Your Dog’s Quality of Life

Our first instinct as dog lovers is to stop the pain. Sometimes our decision-making process is clouded by emotion—guilt, fear, even panic when we see our beloved canine companion suffering. Many conventional treatments for hip dysplasia in dogs have side effects, or simply don’t work.

1) Try Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula

A naturopathic doctor developed Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula. These offer support and relief for many conditions affecting your dog’s joints including hip dysplasia, arthritis, and inflammatory diseases. These are also common in dogs, attacking the cartilage, muscles, and membrane linings of cartilage and joints.

These may offer your dog safe alternatives: calming inflammation as an immediate solution and helping to rebuild joint integrity as a long-range treatment. These trusted products can slow or even stop the degeneration of the hip joint. In many cases, hip replacement surgery which is the last resort may be prevented altogether. For over 30 years, Winston’s formulas have helped thousands of dogs from all over the world.

2) Schedule a visit with your veterinarian

If your dog is clearly in pain, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. An X-ray examination will be recommended as a first step.

3) Monitor your dog’s weight

Obesity makes hip dysplasia worse. If your dog becomes less active, weight gain may become a challenge. Eliminate treats, and if possible, offer your dog low-impact exercises like stretching and swimming.

4) Remove unnecessary physical stressors from your dog’s life

5) Replace stairs with a ramp

While your dog is recovering, this prevents further damage to the damaged hip.

6) Provide a padded dog bed

Sleeping on a hard surface may increase the inflammation associated with hip dysplasia. A gel bed, which actually contains a soft jelly that conforms to your dog’s body, relieves pressure from sore joints.

7) Experiment with low-heat heating pads or fleece-covered hot water bottles

Together with gentle massages, these ways relax your dog and provide comfort during the healing process.

Is Your Dog Experiencing Hip Dysplasia or Other Forms of Pain? We Can Help

Does your dog have trouble walking, standing, or getting up? There is an excellent chance we can help your dog.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis, and all joint pain & mobility issues.

To start your dog’s pain-free life, please contact us at www.dogshealth.com or call our toll-free number at 888-901-5557.

Prozac For Dogs?

Prozac or its generic Fluoxetine is increasingly being prescribed by veterinarians across the country to treat behavioral problems in dogs like fear aggression and separation anxiety. This practice of prescribing human medications for dogs has created a lot of controversies because many dogs don’t respond to this type of medication and will experience intense side effects.

Unfortunately, behavioral problems are one of the main reasons dogs are euthanized in animal shelters or surrendered to dog rescue groups by their owners.

Prozac, or Fluoxetine, is an antidepressant that increases serotonin levels in the brain. It is frequently administered to dogs for treating separation anxiety, aggression, and other anxiety-related issues.

Prozac is usually prescribed in combination with a behavior modification program. Once the anxiety or fear levels diminish, dogs are able to learn the necessary skills to help them cope with the object or situation that is triggering their anxiety. For this reason, Prozac is often prescribed for a short period of time until the behavior modification program takes hold.

Veterinarians will start a dog on a small dose of Prozac that is less than the dog needs and then gradually increases the dosage. Increases in dosage need to be done cautiously because any sudden increase or decrease in the dosage of Prozac can cause severe behavior changes in a dog.

Prozac has some serious side effects for dogs and cannot be given to a dog taking any of the following medications: monoamine oxidase inhibitors, diazepam, phenylbutazone, digoxine, or buspirone (a generic of Buspar, a psychoactive drug used to treat anxiety disorders such as severe anxiety separation issues).

Any dog who has a history of seizures should never be given Prozac and dogs on Prozac for a long period of time will need to have their liver and kidney enzymes checked regularly as long-term use can cause damage to these vital organs.

The most common side effects that dogs experience on Prozac are changes in appetite, weight gain or loss, lethargy, weakness in the limbs, or diarrhea. Unwelcome behavioral side effects include anxiety, panic attacks, hostility and aggression, restlessness, irritability, hyperactivity, trouble sleeping, or increased depression.

Some additional serious side effects that require a veterinarian exam are tremors, muscle twitching or stiffness, problems with balance or coordination, confusion, or a very rapid heartbeat. Some dogs also develop allergic reactions that cause a skin rash or hives, difficulty breathing, or a swelling of the dog’s face, lips, tongue or throat. Any of these side effects necessitate immediate discontinuance of the Prozac.

Treatment with Prozac can sometimes be beneficial in improving problematic behavior in a dog, but any dog being treated with this medication is always at risk of numerous side effects and must be watched carefully for any indications of a problem.

Is Your Dog Experiencing Hip Dysplasia or Other Forms of Pain? We Can Help

Does your dog have trouble walking, standing, or getting up? There is an excellent chance we can help your dog.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis, and all joint pain & mobility issues.

To start your dog’s pain-free life, please contact us at www.dogshealth.com or call our toll-free number at 888-901-5557.