What Is Hip Dysplasia In Dogs – Causes & Symptoms (Hip Dysplasia In Dogs – Part 1)

This is the first part of our 4-part series “Hip Dysplasia in Dogs”.

In this part we’ll cover what hip dysplasia is, and what the causes and symptoms of hip dysplasia are.

Hip dysplasia is a disease that seriously affects the hip joint that attaches a dog’s hind leg to its body.

What Is Hip Dysplasia In Dogs - Causes & Symptoms

How the hip joint works

The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball portion is the head of the femur (the main bone in the thigh) and the socket is located on the dog’s pelvis.

In a healthy, normal joint the ball rotates freely and easily within the socket. The dog’s bones are shaped to perfectly match each other, with the socket surrounding the ball. In order to strengthen the hip joint, a strong ligament holds the two bones together. This ligament attaches the femur head directly to the socket.

The joint capsule is a very strong band of connective tissue that circles the two bones and provides stability for a dog’s rear legs. In healthy dogs, the area where the bones actually touch each other is smooth and cushioned with a layer of spongy cartilage. The hip joint also contains a thick fluid that keeps the joint lubricated.

In a dog with normal hips, all of these components work together and help the joint function smoothly which supports the dog in maintaining stability.

What is hip dysplasia in dogs?

Hip dysplasia is a result of abnormal joint structure and a slackness of the muscles, the connective tissue, and the ligaments that support the joint.

As a dog’s hip joint continues to deteriorate, the surfaces of the two hip bones begin to separate in the joint and cause structural changes in the bone surfaces. As the cartilage is progressively worn away, the pain becomes intense when the dog stands or walks.

Most dogs are born with normal hips but if their genetic background includes a tendency for hip dysplasia or arthritis, the soft tissues that surround the hip joint will develop abnormally and cause hip dysplasia. The disease can affect both the right and left hips, but more often affects only one side.

Symptoms of hip dysplasia in dogs

Hip dysplasia symptoms are nearly identical to arthritis symptoms which causes a dog to walk or run in a limping or odd way.

A dog may avoid movement that requires fully extending or flexing its rear legs. They will also experience stiffness and pain in their rear legs after exercising or when they first get up in the morning.

Climbing stairs becomes a difficult if not impossible task.

As hip dysplasia progressively worsens, affected dogs will lose most of their muscle tone and may need assistance in getting up after resting in a prone position.

Signs of hip dysplasia in dogs:
If you notice any of the signs below, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible. An early diagnosis, is the key to a successful treatment.

  • Moving more slowly
  • Difficulty in getting up and/or lying down
  • Weight shift from one leg to the other
  • Reluctance to walk, jump or play
  • Refusing to use stairs or get in the car
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Yelping when touched
  • Limping

Also, as with any other illness, be in the lookout for changes in your dog’s personality, behavior and appetite.

Dogs of all ages are subject to hip dysplasia.

Usually hip dysplasia symptoms don’t begin to show up in a dog until the middle or later years of its life, although puppies as young as five or six months may begin to display pain and discomfort during and after exercise.

The condition will usually worsen until all normal activities become too painful for the dog to tolerate. You can help your dog recover its normal life through the use of Winston’s Joint System, an all-natural formula developed by a Naturopathic Doctor to heal his own beloved dog who suffered from hip dysplasia. For more than 30 years this proven formula has been giving relief from pain and stiffness to all breeds and ages of dogs.

Which dog breeds are susceptible to hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is primarily a disease of large breeds like Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Saint Bernards, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and Great Danes. The disease can affect medium-sized breeds also, but rarely affects smaller breeds.

Hip dysplasia is also primarily a disease of purebred dogs but can develop in mixed breeds if their parents were breeds of dogs prone to developing hip dysplasia.

Are there specific risk factors for developing hip dysplasia?

Genes
Hip dysplasia is caused by one of the hip joint bones moving out of place. This creates abnormal wearing away of the joint tissue and cartilage. Arthritis and pain then increase as the dog ages.

It is a genetic disease, meaning if one or both of a dog’s parents has hip dysplasia, then it is at a greater risk for developing the disease. If a dog’s lineage showed no signs of hip problems, then it probably will not develop dysplasia.

Weight
It appears that the amount of calories a dog consumes, especially during its fast-growth period from three to ten months, has the biggest impact on whether or not a dog genetically prone to hip dysplasia will develop the disease.

Obesity can increase the seriousness of hip dysplasia in genetically susceptible dogs. If a dog is genetically prone to hip dysplasia and is also overweight, it has a much higher risk of developing hip dysplasia.

Intense exercise
Exercise can also be factor in developing the disease. Dogs that are genetically predisposed to the disease can have an increased incidence of hip dysplasia if over-exercised when they are young. However, dogs with large leg muscles are less likely to develop hip dysplasia than dogs with small muscles.

Moderate exercise such as running and swimming would be beneficial to a dog, but any exercise that places a lot of pressure on the joints would not be.

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 and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

 

Hip Dysplasia in Border Collies

Border Collies are a breed of dog known for their very active lifestyle. Sadly, hip dysplasia in Border Collies is not a rare occurrence, and the more you know about this disease, the better you will be prepared to watch your pet for any signs of this debilitating disease.

HIP DYSPLASIA IN BORDER COLLIES – 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, even behavioral and mood-changes in your dog, including snappishness and depression.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HIP DYSPLASIA?

Hip dysplasia robs your dog of its most fundamental drive as an animal: to run. Our domestic pets share common roots as hunting pack-animals, like wolves. While many breeds of dogs have developed specialties, such as the ability to burrow, dig, and swim in the pursuit of prey, all dogs are literally born to run. However, hip dysplasia makes running and even walking painful, sometimes to the point where the animal has difficulty rising from a sleep-position, and resists movement. Playtime with other dogs and humans becomes too excruciating to bear. This lack of activity may result in weight gain, which compounds the discomfort of hip dysplasia. The condition may even make the dog’s hips and lower back too sensitive to touch, during brushing, grooming, bathing—even hugging! So, your dog becomes less active, isolated, disconnected, and often low-energy.

SIGNS THAT YOUR DOG MAY HAVE HIP DYSPLASIA:

  • 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 hip area or lower back are touched

In short, hip dysplasia can reduce your feisty, sparkling companion and playmate to a diminished creature, which barely leaves its bed.

 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, and so the onset of symptoms—the pain, specifically—also is 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 fits into the cup-like cavity of the accompanying bone.

The purpose of joints is to provide movement to the body. A healthy canine spheroidal joint controls this movement with the support of muscles, ligaments and tendons. The ends of the bones are covered in tough cartilage, and lined with synovial membrane, with contains a small amount of synovial fluid as lubricant. In fact, the ball and socket joint is the most mobile in the body – in both dogs and humans.  The design allows the articulating or distal bone to rotate around three main axes with a common center, allowing the leg (or, in the case of the elbow ball and socket, the arm) an extremely versatile range of movement. The ability to swivel, pivot and rotate with speed and agility is what makes dogs great hunters.

In the case of the hip, the articulating or distal bone is called the femur. The cup-shaped socket bone is called the acetabulum, located on the pelvis.

Perhaps because they are such hand-working structures, the ball and socket joints are prone to disease, and to simple mechanical wear and damage over time. Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula, two products for dogs developed by a naturopathic doctor, offer support and relief for many conditions affecting the joints, including hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory diseases which also are common in dogs, attacking the cartilage, muscles and membrane linings of cartilage and joints.


 

HERE’S THE BREAKDOWN:

  • 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 both hips, or only the right or left.

With the loss of protective scaffolding between the bone surfaces, the nerves in the bone-endings themselves are exposed. When bone touches bone, there is acute pain. In addition, the loss of tensile strength of the supporting tendons, muscle and cartilage mean that other structures in the hip and leg must compensate in terms of weight-bearing and movement. This unnatural compensation may cause fatigue, pain, and 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.

These theories are not conclusive, though of course appropriate nutrition and training are essential to the health and well-being of any pet.

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 in these large dogs, are most likely to become vulnerable to hip dysplasia, therefore calling upon informed and responsible breeding practices.

But here’s the thing: many of us fall in love at the animal shelter. We may generously rescue a dog whose history is entirely unknown. A darling “Shepherd mix” from the pound may represent a complex genetic history, a history to which we have no access. Medical problems may indeed manifest down the line, and hip dysplasia could be one of these. This condition is common, and is not a death-sentence. Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula offer a holistic, gentle and effective way to manage your dog’s hip dysplasia, from the first signs of stiffness, discomfort or loss of mobility.

 WHAT YOU CAN DO:

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.

  • If your dog is clearly in pain, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. An X-ray examination will be recommended as a first step.
  • 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 exercise like stretching and swimming.
  • Remove unnecessary physical stressors from your dog’s life.
  • Replace stairs with a ramp while your dog is recovering, to prevent further damage to the damaged hip.
  • Provide a padded dog-bed—sleeping on 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.
  • Experiment with low-heat heating pads or fleece-covered hot water bottle, as well as gentle massage, as ways to relax your dog and provide comfort during the healing process.

Bringing a dog into your life requires a leap of faith, and a demands commitment to that dog’s health and well-being. It is virtually impossible verify the genetic “blueprint” of any animal, even if the animal is pedigreed and purchased through a breeder. Recessive genetic tendencies are difficult to identify, and may take us by surprise. Because we are unable to identify the sources of this condition, realistically it is not possible to truly prevent it. Avoiding large breeds and purebreds may be one precaution, but many dogs who are not in either of these categories do experience  hip dysplasia as well.  With this in mind, advanced formulas and ongoing research continue to offer non-invasive, non-intrusive, gently effective treatments for the common canine condition known as hip dysplasia.

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 and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

Hip Dysplasia in Basset Hounds

People usually never think about the problem of hip dysplasia in Basset Hounds because a common misconception is that smaller dogs never suffer from hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, this is not true.

HIP DYSPLASIA IN BASSET HOUNDS – 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, even behavioral and mood-changes in your dog, including snappishness and depression.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HIP DYSPLASIA?

Hip dysplasia robs your dog of its most fundamental drive as an animal: to run. Our domestic pets share common roots as hunting pack-animals, like wolves. While many breeds of dogs have developed specialties, such as the ability to burrow, dig, and swim in the pursuit of prey, all dogs are literally born to run. However, hip dysplasia makes running and even walking painful, sometimes to the point where the animal has difficulty rising from a sleep-position, and resists movement. Playtime with other dogs and humans becomes too excruciating to bear. This lack of activity may result in weight gain, which compounds the discomfort of hip dysplasia. The condition may even make the dog’s hips and lower back too sensitive to touch, during brushing, grooming, bathing—even hugging! So, your dog becomes less active, isolated, disconnected, and often low-energy.

SIGNS THAT YOUR DOG MAY HAVE HIP DYSPLASIA:

  • 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 hip area or lower back are touched

In short, hip dysplasia can reduce your feisty, sparkling companion and playmate to a diminished creature, which barely leaves its bed.

 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, and so the onset of symptoms—the pain, specifically—also is 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 fits into the cup-like cavity of the accompanying bone.

The purpose of joints is to provide movement to the body. A healthy canine spheroidal joint controls this movement with the support of muscles, ligaments and tendons. The ends of the bones are covered in tough cartilage, and lined with synovial membrane, with contains a small amount of synovial fluid as lubricant. In fact, the ball and socket joint is the most mobile in the body – in both dogs and humans.  The design allows the articulating or distal bone to rotate around three main axes with a common center, allowing the leg (or, in the case of the elbow ball and socket, the arm) an extremely versatile range of movement. The ability to swivel, pivot and rotate with speed and agility is what makes dogs great hunters.

In the case of the hip, the articulating or distal bone is called the femur. The cup-shaped socket bone is called the acetabulum, located on the pelvis.

Perhaps because they are such hand-working structures, the ball and socket joints are prone to disease, and to simple mechanical wear and damage over time. Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula, two products for dogs developed by a naturopathic doctor, offer support and relief for many conditions affecting the joints, including hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory diseases which also are common in dogs, attacking the cartilage, muscles and membrane linings of cartilage and joints.


 

HERE’S THE BREAKDOWN:

  • 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 both hips, or only the right or left.

With the loss of protective scaffolding between the bone surfaces, the nerves in the bone-endings themselves are exposed. When bone touches bone, there is acute pain. In addition, the loss of tensile strength of the supporting tendons, muscle and cartilage mean that other structures in the hip and leg must compensate in terms of weight-bearing and movement. This unnatural compensation may cause fatigue, pain, and 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.

These theories are not conclusive, though of course appropriate nutrition and training are essential to the health and well-being of any pet.

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 in these large dogs, are most likely to become vulnerable to hip dysplasia, therefore calling upon informed and responsible breeding practices.

But here’s the thing: many of us fall in love at the animal shelter. We may generously rescue a dog whose history is entirely unknown. A darling “Shepherd mix” from the pound may represent a complex genetic history, a history to which we have no access. Medical problems may indeed manifest down the line, and hip dysplasia could be one of these. This condition is common, and is not a death-sentence. Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula (www.dogshealth.com) offer a holistic, gentle and effective way to manage your dog’s hip dysplasia, from the first signs of stiffness, discomfort or loss of mobility.

 WHAT YOU CAN DO:

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.

  • If your dog is clearly in pain, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. An X-ray examination will be recommended as a first step.
  • 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 exercise like stretching and swimming.
  • Remove unnecessary physical stressors from your dog’s life.
  • Replace stairs with a ramp while your dog is recovering, to prevent further damage to the damaged hip.
  • Provide a padded dog-bed—sleeping on 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.
  • Experiment with low-heat heating pads or fleece-covered hot water bottle, as well as gentle massage, as ways to relax your dog and provide comfort during the healing process.

Bringing a dog into your life requires a leap of faith, and a demands commitment to that dog’s health and well-being. It is virtually impossible verify the genetic “blueprint” of any animal, even if the animal is pedigreed and purchased through a breeder. Recessive genetic tendencies are difficult to identify, and may take us by surprise. Because we are unable to identify the sources of this condition, realistically it is not possible to truly prevent it. Avoiding large breeds and purebreds may be one precaution, but many dogs who are not in either of these categories do experience hip dysplasia as well.  With this in mind, advanced formulas and ongoing research continue to offer non-invasive, non-intrusive, gently effective treatments for this disease.

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 and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

 

History of Rimadyl

The history of Rimadyl dates back to January of 1997 when Pfizer Pharmaceuticals first introduced the drug to veterinarians. The generic for Rimadyl, Carprofen, was marketed much later. Many dog owners whose pets suffer from arthritis or hip dysplasia believe that Rimadyl has improved the quality of their dogs’ lives. However, as a responsible dog owner, you need to be aware that there is sufficient evidence proving that Rimadyl can have very serious side effects for an animal.

Some dogs have died after being prescribed Rimadyl. Most of these cases have been attributed to the unexpected and swift onset of the well-known side effects of Rimadyl.

Labrador Retrievers, as well as their cousins, the Golden Retrievers, are more prone than most breeds to developing hip dysplasia, arthritis and other debilitating joint diseases. Pfizer first reported that Labradors were particularly at risk from Rimadyl’s toxicity. Pfizer’s report on side effects that occurred during the drug’s initial post-approval phase states, “. . . approximately one fourth of all hepatic reports were in Labrador Retrievers.”

This is an alarmingly high rate of incidence and if you are the owner of a Labrador who suffers from a debilitating joint disease and your vet has prescribed Rimadyl, you need to exercise extreme caution so you are not putting your dog’s health or its life at risk. Besides Labrador Retrievers, many breeds who have been prescribed Rimadyl have experienced side effects or death from Rimadyl.

Your veterinarian should pre-screen your dog before prescribing Rimadyl. Follow-up testing and close monitoring of the dog for possible toxic reactions is equally important.

Rimadyl or its generic Carprofen are not recommended for dogs who have bleeding disorders, liver disease, inflammatory bowel disease, or are inclined to suffer from gastrointestinal ulceration.

Rimadyl should never be given along with any other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as aspirin, or any corticosteroids such as prednisone, prednisolone, or dexamethasone. It is also not advisable to give the drug to pregnant or nursing female dogs because it has not been tested as being safe for the mother or the unborn puppies.

Before agreeing with your vet that Rimadyl is the best solution for your dog’s joint problems, discuss the benefits of the drug against the risks. It has been widely reported that many veterinarians are not completely informed about the serious side-effects of Rimadyl.

If you decide your dog might benefit from Rimadyl and you believe that it’s worth the risks involved, ask your veterinarian to start by prescribing the lowest possible dosage that can be used to obtain relief, and then increase the dosage if necessary. The recommended dosage is one mg per pound of a dog’s weight, given twice a day. It’s possible that your dog may obtain relief at a lower dosage which might possibly help in avoiding toxicity. Some vets recommend that Rimadyl be used only for a period of several weeks, followed by several weeks off the drug to give the dog’s liver time to recover from the toxic effects of the drug.

As soon as your dog begins taking Rimadyl you need to carefully watch for the following symptoms which are signs of potential life-threatening reactions to the drug:

• loss of appetite
• refusal to drink water or an increased thirst
• vomiting – occasionally with flecks of blood in the vomit
• diarrhea
• black, tarry stools
• lethargy or unusual drowsiness
• hyperactivity or constant restlessness
• sudden aggressiveness when none was evident before
• weakness or partial paralysis
• seizures or loss of balance

If any of these symptoms occur, IMMEDIATELY STOP giving your pet the drug and take it to the vet. The earlier you discover the problem, the better the chances your dog will have a complete recovery.

Is Rimadyl a “miracle drug” for dogs or are the potential side effects too dangerous? The history of Rimadyl has been plagued with several serious problems; (1) a lack of adequate warnings about the potential serious and deadly side effects of the drug, (2) the large and unacceptable number of veterinarians who are unaware of Rimadyl’s serious side effects, and (3) the severity and sometimes sudden onset of the side effects which can result in the death of the dog being given Rimadyl.

A safer and more effective treatment for arthritis and hip dysplasia is Winston’s Joint System, an all-natural formula developed by a Naturopathic Doctor to heal his own beloved dog. For over 20 years, this long-proven formula has been providing relief from the pain and stiffness of arthritis and hip dysplasia to all breeds and ages of dogs.

If your pet suffers from any of the following joint problems, you should place it on a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System to give welcome relief from its pain:

* Hip Dysplasia
* Arthritis
* Osteochondritis (OCD)
* Stiffness/Inflammation
* Ligament Tears
* Growing Pains
* Mobility Problems
* Joint Pains

With the information presented here, and a consultation with your vet, you should be able to decide whether the risks of administering Rimadyl are worth the possible benefits. For myself, I’d rather be safe using Winston’s Joint System than be sorry and endanger my loving dog’s health or even worse, contribute to its death.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

 

What Can I Do About Hip Dysplasia In My Dog?

Hip dysplasia in dogs is a genetic disorder that is not preventable if you own a dog predisposed to the disease. However, there are several things you can do, such as proper nutrition and exercise, that will reduce the early onset and intensity of hip dysplasia in your dog.

Hip dysplasia is a genetic disorder occurring more often in certain breeds. It is caused by a partial dislocation of bones in the dog’s hip joints, leaving them misaligned but still in contact with each other, which causes erosion of the tissues that keep the joint moving smoothly.

What can you do about hip dysplasia if your dog is predisposed to the disease?

Proper Breeding

Some breeders are irresponsible and will breed a dog knowing it is susceptible to hip dysplasia, or will breed a dog too young to be properly tested, and the result is an increased occurrence of the disease. Every breeder who breeds dogs genetically prone to hip dysplasia should have their dogs checked before breeding.

If you intend to purchase a dog from a breeder, research the genetic diseases of the breed you want and ask the breeder if they test for those diseases. If they can’t (or won’t) give you a health certificate from a licensed veterinarian, you will be much better off looking elsewhere. You will end up saving yourself a lot of money and heartbreak in the future if you’re careful in selecting your new canine companion.

Proper Nutrition

A study done on Labrador retrievers showed that obesity increases the onset of hip dysplasia. Overweight adolescent dogs are more likely to suffer from hip dysplasia as are dogs that don’t receive sufficient amounts of calcium and other nutrients during their adolescent stage.

When your dog is young, feed it a high-quality diet. Don’t buy pet foods that have cheap fillers like corn and wheat or ones that contain meat byproducts, all of which have very little nutritional value. Choose foods for your young dog that have high-quality proteins listed as the first three ingredients and that don’t have preservatives added.

Proper Exercise

Exercise and mental stimulation are an important part of development of puppies but over-exercising at a young age can prevent the proper growth of bones, muscles and joints, leading to joint problems like as hip dysplasia and arthritis.

Running and swimming are excellent ways to exercise a young dog, but avoid activities that involve a lot of jumping, like Frisbee, until your puppy is a few years old.

One of the least expensive things you can do to ease hip dysplasia in a dog, you might want to use a ramp for getting in and out of your car or off of high furniture until it reaches 18 to 24 months of age.

Supplements

If your dog already suffers from hip dysplasia or arthritis, a safe and proven supplement for treating your pet is Winston’s Joint System, a combination of three, totally-natural whole food supplements developed by a Naturopathic Doctor for his own dog. It contains no drugs and there are no side-effects because it’s just good whole food. And there are no dosage problems because your dog’s body uses only what it needs.

Winston’s provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue. It also includes a natural anti-inflammatory compound, long used to relieve the pain of arthritis.

Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that often can’t be prevented; but that doesn’t mean there is nothing you can do about hip dysplasia in your dog. By selecting a dog from a responsible, professional breeder, feeding your puppy and adult dog a healthy diet, and reducing high-impact exercise, occurrences of the disease can be reduced. Hip dysplasia is a progressively degenerative disease, so any amount of help you can give your dog, will begin to stop things from getting worse.

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 and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

 

Dogs Who Develop Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that primarily affects large and giant breeds of dogs but can also affect medium-sized breeds, and some small breeds. It is primarily a disease of purebreds, although it can also occur in mixed breeds.

Dogs who develop hip dysplasia suffer from an abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the dog’s hip joints.

As the disease progresses, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. This separation of the two bones within the joint causes a drastic change in the size and shape of the articular surfaces.

Most dogs who develop hip dysplasia are born with normal hips, but due to their genetic make-up the soft tissues surrounding the joint develop abnormally. This leads to the symptoms associated with hip dysplasia. The disease may affect both hips, or only the right or left hip.

The symptoms of hip dysplasia cause afflicted dogs to walk or run with an altered gait, similar to a bunny-hop. They begin to resist any movement that requires full extension or flexion of the rear legs. They will experience stiffness and pain in their rear legs after exercising and on first rising in the morning. Climbing stairs becomes difficult if not impossible. Some dogs will limp and are less willing to participate in normal daily activities, including walks they formerly enjoyed.

Because hip dysplasia is primarily an inherited condition, there are no products that can prevent its development.

Through proper diet, exercise, and a supplement such as Winston’s Joint System, you can slow, and sometimes halt, the progression of these degenerative joint diseases while providing your dog with relief from its pain. Winston’s provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue.

Dogs who develop hip dysplasia

Dogs who are prone to develop hip dysplasia include the following (alphabetical order):

  • Afghan Hound
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • American Eskimo Dog
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • American Water Spaniel
  • Anatolian Shepherd
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Basset Hound
  • Beagle
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Belgian Sheepdog
  • Bernese Mountain Dog
  • Bichon Frise
  • Black and Tan Coonhound
  • Black Russian Terrier
  • Bloodhound
  • Border Collie
  • Border Terrier
  • Bouvier des Flandres
  • Boxer
  • Brussels Griffon
  • Bulldog
  • Bullmastiff
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Chinese Shar-Pei
  • Chow-Chow
  • Collie
  • Curly-Coated Retriever
  • Dalmatian
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • English Cocker Spaniel
  • English Foxhound
  • English Setter
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • French Bulldog
  • German Shepherd
  • German Shorthaired Pointer
  • German Wirehaired Pointer
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Golden Retriever
  • Great Dane
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
  • Irish Setter
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Keeshond
  • Labrador
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Mastiff (and American Mastiff)
  • Newfoundland
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Pointer
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Pug
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Rottweiler
  • Saint Bernard
  • Samoyed
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Shiba Inu
  • Shih Tzu
  • Siberian Husky
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Standard Schnauzer
  • Weimaraner
  • Welsh Springer Spaniel

** This is by no means a complete list of dogs who can develop hip dysplasia.

It is also important to understand that just because your dog’s breed is on this list, it does NOT mean that it will develop hip dysplasia at some point in its life.

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 and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

 

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, even behavioral and mood-changes in your dog, including snappishness and depression.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HIP DYSPLASIA?

Hip dysplasia robs your dog of its most fundamental drive as an animal: to run. Our domestic pets share common roots as hunting pack-animals, like wolves. While many breeds of dogs have developed specialties, such as the ability to burrow, dig, and swim in the pursuit of prey, all dogs are literally born to run. However, hip dysplasia makes running and even walking painful, sometimes to the point where the animal has difficulty rising from a sleep-position, and resists movement. Playtime with other dogs and humans becomes too excruciating to bear. This lack of activity may result in weight gain, which compounds the discomfort of hip dysplasia. The condition may even make the dog’s hips and lower back too sensitive to touch, during brushing, grooming, bathing—even hugging! So, your dog becomes less active, isolated, disconnected, and often low-energy.

SIGNS THAT YOUR DOG MAY HAVE HIP DYSPLASIA:

  • 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 hip area or lower back are touched

In short, hip dysplasia can reduce your feisty, sparkling companion and playmate to a diminished creature, which barely leaves its bed.

 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, and so the onset of symptoms—the pain, specifically—also is 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 fits into the cup-like cavity of the accompanying bone.

The purpose of joints is to provide movement to the body. A healthy canine spheroidal joint controls this movement with the support of muscles, ligaments and tendons. The ends of the bones are covered in tough cartilage, and lined with synovial membrane, with contains a small amount of synovial fluid as lubricant. In fact, the ball and socket joint is the most mobile in the body – in both dogs and humans.  The design allows the articulating or distal bone to rotate around three main axes with a common center, allowing the leg (or, in the case of the elbow ball and socket, the arm) an extremely versatile range of movement. The ability to swivel, pivot and rotate with speed and agility is what makes dogs great hunters.

In the case of the hip, the articulating or distal bone is called the femur. The cup-shaped socket bone is called the acetabulum, located on the pelvis.

Perhaps because they are such hand-working structures, the ball and socket joints are prone to disease, and to simple mechanical wear and damage over time. Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula, two products for dogs developed by a naturopathic doctor, offer support and relief for many conditions affecting the joints, including hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory diseases which also are common in dogs, attacking the cartilage, muscles and membrane linings of cartilage and joints.


 

HERE’S THE BREAKDOWN:

  • 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 both hips, or only the right or left.

With the loss of protective scaffolding between the bone surfaces, the nerves in the bone-endings themselves are exposed. When bone touches bone, there is acute pain. In addition, the loss of tensile strength of the supporting tendons, muscle and cartilage mean that other structures in the hip and leg must compensate in terms of weight-bearing and movement. This unnatural compensation may cause fatigue, pain, and 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.

These theories are not conclusive, though of course appropriate nutrition and training are essential to the health and well-being of any pet.

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 in these large dogs, are most likely to become vulnerable to hip dysplasia, therefore calling upon informed and responsible breeding practices.

But here’s the thing: many of us fall in love at the animal shelter. We may generously rescue a dog whose history is entirely unknown. A darling “Shepherd mix” from the pound may represent a complex genetic history, a history to which we have no access. Medical problems may indeed manifest down the line, and hip dysplasia could be one of these. This condition is common, and is not a death-sentence. Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula (www.dogshealth.com) offer a holistic, gentle and effective way to manage your dog’s hip dysplasia, from the first signs of stiffness, discomfort or loss of mobility.

 WHAT YOU CAN DO:

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.

  • If your dog is clearly in pain, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. An X-ray examination will be recommended as a first step.
  • 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 exercise like stretching and swimming.
  • Remove unnecessary physical stressors from your dog’s life.
  • Replace stairs with a ramp while your dog is recovering, to prevent further damage to the damaged hip.
  • Provide a padded dog-bed—sleeping on 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.
  • Experiment with low-heat heating pads or fleece-covered hot water bottle, as well as gentle massage, as ways to relax your dog and provide comfort during the healing process.

Bringing a dog into your life requires a leap of faith, and a demands commitment to that dog’s health and well-being. It is virtually impossible verify the genetic “blueprint” of any animal, even if the animal is pedigreed and purchased through a breeder. Recessive genetic tendencies are difficult to identify, and may take us by surprise. Because we are unable to identify the sources of this condition, realistically it is not possible to truly prevent it. Avoiding large breeds and purebreds may be one precaution, but many dogs who are not in either of these categories do experience hip dysplasia as well.  With this in mind, advanced formulas and ongoing research continue to offer non-invasive, non-intrusive, gently effective treatments for the common canine condition known as hip dysplasia.

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 and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

 

Hip Dysplasia in Giant Schnauzers

Giant Schnauzers were bred for tasks such as herding and cattle driving. The breed was created by crossing Standard Schnauzers with bigger dogs like Great Danes. This interbreeding with Great Danes who were susceptible to hip problems was responsible for introducing hip dysplasia in Giant Schnauzers.

HIP DYSPLASIA IN GIANT SCHNAUZERS – 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, even behavioral and mood-changes in your dog, including snappishness and depression.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HIP DYSPLASIA?

Hip dysplasia robs your dog of its most fundamental drive as an animal: to run. Our domestic pets share common roots as hunting pack-animals, like wolves. While many breeds of dogs have developed specialties, such as the ability to burrow, dig, and swim in the pursuit of prey, all dogs are literally born to run. However, hip dysplasia makes running and even walking painful, sometimes to the point where the animal has difficulty rising from a sleep-position, and resists movement. Playtime with other dogs and humans becomes too excruciating to bear. This lack of activity may result in weight gain, which compounds the discomfort of hip dysplasia. The condition may even make the dog’s hips and lower back too sensitive to touch, during brushing, grooming, bathing—even hugging! So, your dog becomes less active, isolated, disconnected, and often low-energy.

SIGNS THAT YOUR DOG MAY HAVE HIP DYSPLASIA:

  • 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 hip area or lower back are touched

In short, hip dysplasia can reduce your feisty, sparkling companion and playmate to a diminished creature, which barely leaves its bed.

 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, and so the onset of symptoms—the pain, specifically—also is 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 fits into the cup-like cavity of the accompanying bone.

The purpose of joints is to provide movement to the body. A healthy canine spheroidal joint controls this movement with the support of muscles, ligaments and tendons. The ends of the bones are covered in tough cartilage, and lined with synovial membrane, with contains a small amount of synovial fluid as lubricant. In fact, the ball and socket joint is the most mobile in the body – in both dogs and humans.  The design allows the articulating or distal bone to rotate around three main axes with a common center, allowing the leg (or, in the case of the elbow ball and socket, the arm) an extremely versatile range of movement. The ability to swivel, pivot and rotate with speed and agility is what makes dogs great hunters.

In the case of the hip, the articulating or distal bone is called the femur. The cup-shaped socket bone is called the acetabulum, located on the pelvis.

Perhaps because they are such hand-working structures, the ball and socket joints are prone to disease, and to simple mechanical wear and damage over time. Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula, two products for dogs developed by a naturopathic doctor, offer support and relief for many conditions affecting the joints, including hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory diseases which also are common in dogs, attacking the cartilage, muscles and membrane linings of cartilage and joints.


 

HERE’S THE BREAKDOWN:

  • 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 both hips, or only the right or left.

With the loss of protective scaffolding between the bone surfaces, the nerves in the bone-endings themselves are exposed. When bone touches bone, there is acute pain. In addition, the loss of tensile strength of the supporting tendons, muscle and cartilage mean that other structures in the hip and leg must compensate in terms of weight-bearing and movement. This unnatural compensation may cause fatigue, pain, and 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.

These theories are not conclusive, though of course appropriate nutrition and training are essential to the health and well-being of any pet.

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 in these large dogs, are most likely to become vulnerable to hip dysplasia, therefore calling upon informed and responsible breeding practices.

But here’s the thing: many of us fall in love at the animal shelter. We may generously rescue a dog whose history is entirely unknown. A darling “Shepherd mix” from the pound may represent a complex genetic history, a history to which we have no access. Medical problems may indeed manifest down the line, and hip dysplasia could be one of these. This condition is common, and is not a death-sentence. Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula  offer a holistic, gentle and effective way to manage your dog’s hip dysplasia, from the first signs of stiffness, discomfort or loss of mobility.

 WHAT YOU CAN DO:

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.

  • If your dog is clearly in pain, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. An X-ray examination will be recommended as a first step.
  • 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 exercise like stretching and swimming.
  • Remove unnecessary physical stressors from your dog’s life.
  • Replace stairs with a ramp while your dog is recovering, to prevent further damage to the damaged hip.
  • Provide a padded dog-bed—sleeping on 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.
  • Experiment with low-heat heating pads or fleece-covered hot water bottle, as well as gentle massage, as ways to relax your dog and provide comfort during the healing process.

Bringing a dog into your life requires a leap of faith, and a demands commitment to that dog’s health and well-being. It is virtually impossible verify the genetic “blueprint” of any animal, even if the animal is pedigreed and purchased through a breeder. Recessive genetic tendencies are difficult to identify, and may take us by surprise. Because we are unable to identify the sources of this condition, realistically it is not possible to truly prevent it. Avoiding large breeds and purebreds may be one precaution, but many dogs who are not in either of these categories do experience hip dysplasia as well.  With this in mind, advanced formulas and ongoing research continue to offer non-invasive, non-intrusive, gently effective treatments for the common canine condition known as hip dysplasia.

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 and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?

 

Can I Give My Dog Aspirin?

I used to wonder if I could give my dog aspirin or if it would be too dangerous, or at least would sicken him. As humans, we know that regular aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which helps relieve our aches and pains. But did you know that it also works well for dogs to relieve their pain.

WHERE DOES IT HURT?     

Aspirin initially may seem like a good idea when a dog is in pain. But the more we learn about the physiology of our canine companions, the evidence is clear: dogs respond best to treatments created specifically for them.

Often, when hip dysplasia and arthritis are simultaneously present, especially as a dog ages, diminishing energy, mobility, and quality of life are pretty much what will happen. Winston’s Pain Formula and Winston’s Joint Formula may be helpful not only in treating pain, but also for addressing the underlying causes, such as cartilage erosion and joint inflammation.

Dogs are great communicators. They tell us so much about themselves by the posture and angle of their heads and bodies, their movements, their responses, and their vocalizing. But as bonded as we may feel to our canine companions, they cannot speak. And when they are in pain, they are unable to give us specific details. In fact, some breeds including Pit Bulls have been bred specifically not to show pain, in order to maintain dominance in challenge-matches with other dogs.

LOOK, LISTEN, AND PAY ATTENTION.

Aspirin is a common treatment practice among well-intentioned dog owners. For more than a century, we humans have used aspirin for everything from a headache to a fever, and aspirin is found in almost every medicine-cabinet.  It does indeed relieve pain, and also may be recommended to aging humans as a mild blood-thinner, presumed to support heart health and prevent heart attacks in mid-life and old age.

But this doesn’t mean that it’s right for your dog.

In fact, aspirin should never be given to puppies, under any circumstances. And most other medications for human beings are dangerous for our pets. Aspirin may be suitable in the short-term, depending upon the size and weight of your dog. As with human, aspirin can cause tummy-trouble, especially when taken on an empty stomach, and there may be other contraindications of aspirin for dogs. We are so accustomed to self-diagnosing and self-medicating that we may find ourselves doing the same for our pets. This can make your pet sick, and even endanger its life.

Before you attempt to treat or medicate your dog in any way, calmly assess the condition of your pet. Here are some signs that your dog may be ill, and may be experiencing pain:

WHEN YOUR DOG IS IN PAIN

LOSS OF ENERGY – If your dog suddenly becomes lethargic, chances are that something is wrong. Dogs are by nature complex, intelligent, social creatures who thrive on activity and interaction. Some breeds have been specifically bred for large muscles and high endurance (think Samoyeds, Huskies, Akidas, German Shepherds, Spaniels, Collies, Setters), generally for hunting and working with humans—they literally were not designed to spend the day on the couch. Every dog is different, and some are more high-energy than others. But if you observe a drop in energy in your animal, the reason may be that the animal is in pain, or is suffering in some way.

DO DOGS GET DEPRESSED? – The short answer is, yes. When dogs withdraw, seclude themselves, cut off relationships, lose interest in other dogs and in people, don’t seek contact and interaction, become unusually quiet, no longer take obvious pleasure in their usual doggy pleasures (park, ball, Frisbee, meals, leash, walks, rides in the car, chasing cats), it would be reasonable to say that the dog is experiencing a form of depression. In dogs, as in humans, pain or illness may cause this emotional shut-down.

CHANGES AT BOTH ENDS –By this, we mean loss of appetite, and changes in bowel and bladder habits. Some mild fluctuations are normal. All of us have days when we simply aren’t hungry, or when we have a bit of indigestion for no apparent reason. These minor shifts do not necessarily signal trouble. But if your dog stops eating, vomits frequently, begins defecating or urinating inside the house (especially if the dog has been successfully housebroken), has a tender or bloated tummy, or appears constipated when taking a “constitutional” walk, schedule a visit with your veterinarian immediately,

 CHANGES IN WALK, GAIT, POSTURE

These aspects of dog health often result in dog-owners using aspirin. Winston’s Pain Formula and Winston’s Joint Formula (www.dogshealth) may be a safer and more effective choices, since these all-natural products were created specifically for dogs experiencing discomfort and loss of mobility as the result of joint-degeneration in its various forms.

DANGER SIGNS OF DOG ARTHRITIS AND HIP DYSPLASIA:

  • Lowered back end – dog tries to shift its weight forward
  • Back legs pressed together – dog leans forward to minimize weight on its back legs
  • Front legs placed more wide-apart than usual – to distribute the weight-load
  • Muscular atrophy or “wasting” (thinning) of back legs – from lack of use
  • Dog has difficulty rising from a sleeping position
  • Movements seem stiff, cramped, not fluid and easy
  • Limping, and “bunny-hopping”, where dog’s back legs are held together and the dog hops, instead of moving with its normal gait
  • Hesitates to climb stairs or jump
  • Favors one leg
  • Whimpering and whining
  • Unexplained aggression, snapping, even biting
  • Refusal to run, fetch, go on walks
  • Repetitive licking of a painful joint-area (check for seemingly “bleached” fur at joint – enzymes in dog-saliva discolor the hair)
  • Cold, damp weather makes it worse—dog “complains” or seems especially lethargic during chilly, wet weather. This is because air-temperature and humidity do interact with soft tissue, joint and cartilage inflammation.

THE TROUBLE WITH ASPIRIN

If aspirin seems like a no-brainer to you, it’s because we take it for granted. This drug is so widely used that it is viewed both as a cure-all, and as harmless. It is actually neither, especially in regard to dogs.

WARNING: To responsible dog owners, many of the OTC painkillers in your medicine cabinet are very dangerous for your dog. Never reach for the acetaminophen or the ibuprofen when your dog is in pain: these common human palliatives are deadly for your dog!

Aspirin falls into the category of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), and for more than a hundred years, it’s been in common usage for aches and pains of all kinds. Aspirin is especially useful to humans for short-term, acute pain and fever, as well as the brief, sharp pain of occasional headaches (and even hang-overs!).

It may be a suitable treatment in the short-term when your dog is in pain. Appropriate use is low-dose, and not as an extended practice.  Under no circumstances however, should you give aspirin to dogs under the age of one year old. This is because puppies have not yet developed the enzymes in their bodies to effectively deal with the compounds in it.

For similar reasons, never give aspirin to a pregnant or nursing mother-dog. The compounds in the aspirin may cause fetal defects in unborn puppies, and may be toxic and damaging to nursing puppies when transmitted through the mother dog’s milk.

If your dog is a year old or older and is not pregnant, and is showing evidence of pain, especially the pain of inflammation associated with dog arthritis and hip dysplasia, follow this safety-guide for aspirin for dogs:

RULE OF THUMB: 5mg to 10 mg of aspirin per pound of an adult dog’s weight, given once every 12 hours

EXAMPLES:

  • 20 lb. dog : Dosage: 200 milligrams once every 12 hours
  • 75 lb. dog: Dosage: 750 milligrams once every 12 hours

Note: Two regular 325 mg aspirins which are typically sold in drugstores (equaling 650 mg) should be sufficient for dogs 75 lbs. and up.

As you may know from your own experience with aspirin, this common drug can irritate the lining of the stomach. In fact, in dogs, aspirin may result in ulcers which are indicated by blood-tinged vomit. In order to make the aspirin more appetizing (dogs often are put off by the synthetic smell and taste), wrap the pill in a bit of meat or doggie-treat.

Because aspirin can easily irritate the stomach, don’t give aspirin to a dog with ulcers or other digestive issues. Veterinarians also agree that aspirin for dogs is not recommended when the dog is taking steroids for allergies or immunosystem conditions.

 

The biggest issue with aspirin, however, is that it is not a viable long-term treatment. Although aspirin may be an effective pain-reliever in the short term, it does not arrest the development of arthritis, due to its negative effects on proteoglycan synthesis, needed for other normal bodily functions. In fact, strange though it may seem, long-term use of aspirin can lead to premature degeneration of the dog’s joints.

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW FOR YOUR DOG

  • When your dog is giving you the signs that it is in pain, schedule a visit with your veterinarian
  • Provide a padded bed for your dog. Sleeping on a hard surface creates muscle-contraction, which can make inflammation more painful. A gel-pad, which is literally a thin, firm, jelly mattress, offers excellent cushioning to ease the pain of sore joints.
  • Keep your dog active as well as comfortable, to prevent obesity. Becoming overweight makes every health problem worse, in canines and in humans.
  • Provide heat for your dog. It may seem counter-intuitive, but arthritis and hip dysplasia respond better to heat than to cold (cold-packs are best for bringing down the inflammation of an incision after surgery). Be careful when using heat on your dog. A hot water bottle in a snuggly fleece liner, or a heating pad set on the lowest setting, may be perfect for helping your dog relax and sleep.
  • If possible, offer your dog the opportunity to swim. Proper exercise is always good for a dog’s systemic health, and when weight-bearing exercise like walking and running are painful, the buoyant feeling of being in water may be both relaxing and energizing to your dog.
  • Remove obstacles, which stress your dog’s joints. Offer your dog a ramp to the front door, since taking the stairs puts strain on joints. And, try a doggie-ramp leading to your bed and couch, so that your dog can continue to bond with the family.

 Try massaging your dog. Be gentle and gradual. In some cases, slow, light, pressure actually helps to reduce neuro-muscular inflammation. Some experts theorize that massage works in these cases simply because the dog enjoys being touched by its human, and produces brain-chemicals which are natural pain-killers (endorphins) when it is touched in a loving manner. Massage in these cases is as effective or more effective than any drug.

If you’d like more information to help your dog’s joint, pain or mobility issues, check us out at www.dogshealth.com

You can also call us for discounts and more information at 888-901-5557.

 

Hip Dysplasia in Dalmatians

Do you remember when a Dalmatian dog could be seen riding on a fire truck? Or how about the Disney film “101 Dalmatians”? I doubt that as you were watching these magnificent creatures you ever thought that there could be such a thing as hip dysplasia in Dalmatians.

Unfortunately, there is.

HIP DYSPLASIA IN DALMATIONS – 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, even behavioral and mood-changes in your dog, including snappishness and depression.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF HIP DYSPLASIA?

Hip dysplasia robs your dog of its most fundamental drive as an animal: to run. Our domestic pets share common roots as hunting pack-animals, like wolves. While many breeds of dogs have developed specialties, such as the ability to burrow, dig, and swim in the pursuit of prey, all dogs are literally born to run. However, hip dysplasia makes running and even walking painful, sometimes to the point where the animal has difficulty rising from a sleep-position, and resists movement. Playtime with other dogs and humans becomes too excruciating to bear. This lack of activity may result in weight gain, which compounds the discomfort of hip dysplasia. The condition may even make the dog’s hips and lower back too sensitive to touch, during brushing, grooming, bathing—even hugging! So, your dog becomes less active, isolated, disconnected, and often low-energy.

SIGNS THAT YOUR DOG MAY HAVE HIP DYSPLASIA:

  • 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 hip area or lower back are touched

In short, hip dysplasia can reduce your feisty, sparkling companion and playmate to a diminished creature, which barely leaves its bed.

 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, and so the onset of symptoms—the pain, specifically—also is 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 fits into the cup-like cavity of the accompanying bone.

The purpose of joints is to provide movement to the body. A healthy canine spheroidal joint controls this movement with the support of muscles, ligaments and tendons. The ends of the bones are covered in tough cartilage, and lined with synovial membrane, with contains a small amount of synovial fluid as lubricant. In fact, the ball and socket joint is the most mobile in the body – in both dogs and humans.  The design allows the articulating or distal bone to rotate around three main axes with a common center, allowing the leg (or, in the case of the elbow ball and socket, the arm) an extremely versatile range of movement. The ability to swivel, pivot and rotate with speed and agility is what makes dogs great hunters.

In the case of the hip, the articulating or distal bone is called the femur. The cup-shaped socket bone is called the acetabulum, located on the pelvis.

Perhaps because they are such hand-working structures, the ball and socket joints are prone to disease, and to simple mechanical wear and damage over time. Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula, two products for dogs developed by a naturopathic doctor, offer support and relief for many conditions affecting the joints, including hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory diseases which also are common in dogs, attacking the cartilage, muscles and membrane linings of cartilage and joints.


 

HERE’S THE BREAKDOWN:

  • 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 both hips, or only the right or left.

With the loss of protective scaffolding between the bone surfaces, the nerves in the bone-endings themselves are exposed. When bone touches bone, there is acute pain. In addition, the loss of tensile strength of the supporting tendons, muscle and cartilage mean that other structures in the hip and leg must compensate in terms of weight-bearing and movement. This unnatural compensation may cause fatigue, pain, and 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.

These theories are not conclusive, though of course appropriate nutrition and training are essential to the health and well-being of any pet.

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 in these large dogs, are most likely to become vulnerable to hip dysplasia, therefore calling upon informed and responsible breeding practices.

But here’s the thing: many of us fall in love at the animal shelter. We may generously rescue a dog whose history is entirely unknown. A darling “Shepherd mix” from the pound may represent a complex genetic history, a history to which we have no access. Medical problems may indeed manifest down the line, and hip dysplasia could be one of these. This condition is common, and is not a death-sentence. Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula (www.dogshealth.com) offer a holistic, gentle and effective way to manage your dog’s hip dysplasia, from the first signs of stiffness, discomfort or loss of mobility.

 WHAT YOU CAN DO:

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.

  • If your dog is clearly in pain, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. An X-ray examination will be recommended as a first step.
  • 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 exercise like stretching and swimming.
  • Remove unnecessary physical stressors from your dog’s life.
  • Replace stairs with a ramp while your dog is recovering, to prevent further damage to the damaged hip.
  • Provide a padded dog-bed—sleeping on 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.
  • Experiment with low-heat heating pads or fleece-covered hot water bottle, as well as gentle massage, as ways to relax your dog and provide comfort during the healing process.

Bringing a dog into your life requires a leap of faith, and a demands commitment to that dog’s health and well-being. It is virtually impossible verify the genetic “blueprint” of any animal, even if the animal is pedigreed and purchased through a breeder. Recessive genetic tendencies are difficult to identify, and may take us by surprise. Because we are unable to identify the sources of this condition, realistically it is not possible to truly prevent it. Avoiding large breeds and purebreds may be one precaution, but many dogs who are not in either of these categories do experience hip dysplasia as well.  With this in mind, advanced formulas and ongoing research continue to offer non-invasive, non-intrusive, gently effective treatments for the common canine condition known as hip dysplasia.

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 and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: www.dogshealth.com or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.

Does Your Dog Have Trouble:

  • Walking?
  • Standing?
  • Getting up?