Arthritis in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Arthritis is a debilitating condition affecting approximately 20% of all adult dogs. Arthritis generally develops when a dog is older but it can also affect younger dogs.

In order to provide a better quality of life for a dog with arthritis, a dog owner needs to understand arthritis, its symptoms, and what treatments are available for an affected dog.

What is arthritis in dogs

Arthritis is one of the most common medical conditions that affects our beloved pets. It’s a general term that is used to describe several different diseases that basically affect a dog’s joints in similar ways.

A simple way to describe and understand arthritis in a dog is that the disease causes painful inflammation of the dog’s joints.

Because arthritis occurs in about one in five adult dogs, it is one of the most common diseases treated by veterinarians. Like arthritis in humans, arthritis in dogs cannot be cured.

The good news is that arthritis is not inevitably hopeless. There are a number of effective treatments on the market today that can help ease your dog’s symptoms, allowing your pet to live a longer, active life.

What causes it

Since arthritis itself is more of a general condition rather than one specific disease, many other diseases like hip dysplasia, OCD, and degenerative joint disease are linked to it. A dog with arthritis will usually develop hip dysplasia or degenerative joint disease as the arthritis progresses.

There are several causes for arthritis in dogs. The condition can be genetic, as is the case with hip dysplasia, and it can also develop as the result of an infection or an immune disorder that affects the dog’s joints.

Arthritis associated with a degenerative joint disease is caused by repetitive pressure on a dog’s bones and is common to aging dogs. This type of arthritis can occur in younger dogs if they are genetically predisposed to the affliction. However, it’s more common in older dogs because their joints become lax after many years of use.

Because this type of arthritis is normally age-related, the treatment options are limited to alleviating the symptoms. In some cases, the arthritis is associated with an autoimmune disorder where the immune system mistakenly begins attacking the dog’s muscles and bones, thereby reducing the functioning of the joints and causing inflammation and irritation.

There often is a genetic predisposition toward this type of arthritis in certain breeds. Whether or not an affected dog is among those breeds is not important; it is imperative that a veterinarian determine why the dog’s immune system is malfunctioning and start the appropriate treatment as soon as the malady is diagnosed.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of arthritis in a dog will usually manifest over time, unless an autoimmune disease is the cause. Also, these signs or symptoms are often mistaken for other disorders.

The following symptoms may indicate arthritis in a dog:

  • Limping
  • Weight gain not caused by excessive overeating
  • Obvious favoring of one leg over the other
  • Acting less alert
  • Sleeping much more than usual
  • Avoiding the use of stairs
  • Having a lot of difficulty standing
  • A painful appearance when walking
  • A progressive unwillingness to exercise, play, or go for the usual walk
  • Urinating or defecating inside the house after being housebroken for many years

Treatment of arthritis in dogs

A veterinarian will decide on treatment options after conducting several tests on the dog to try to determine what factors are contributing to the disorder. The tests will include X-rays, blood work and occasionally an ultrasound.

• Dietary restrictions are often an integral part of any treatment for arthritis, since a reduction in weight helps alleviate some of the symptoms of arthritis in overweight dogs. A regular, easygoing exercise routine will be recommended to prevent too much pressure being placed on the dog’s weakening joints.

• Non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications like Rimadyl are sometimes used to help reduce inflammation in the dog’s joints. Rimadyl is a pain killer that veterinarians sometimes prescribe for dogs suffering from arthritis.

There are many pros and cons about giving a dog Rimadyl for arthritis pain. As a responsible pet owner, it would be a very good idea to research this drug as thoroughly as you can before giving your dog the medication.

• A much safer treatment, and one that many owners and vets agree is more effective, is to start an arthritic dog on a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, an all-natural formula developed by a Naturopathic Doctor to heal his own beloved dog who suffered from arthritis and hip dysplasia. This proven formula has been giving relief from pain and stiffness to all breeds and ages of dogs for over 20 years with remarkable results. Owners report that their pets have new vitality and alertness now that they are free of pain.

If the arthritis is not extremely severe and advanced to the point that your dog cannot walk at all without the aid of braces or a dog cart or wheelchair, the most common treatment for arthritis in dogs are supplements like Winston’s Joint System.

• In addition to feeding your dog Winston’s Joint System, you should massage its arthritic joints for about 10 minutes at least twice a day.

• And when you put your dog to bed for the night, apply heat using a heat pad or a hot water bottle.

Heat pads can be purchased specifically for dogs with conditions like arthritis, but a regular heat pad kept around the house for human use works just as well.

The heat works to relax the muscles and promotes increased mobility and activity. Just be sure that the heat level is low to medium, never set it on high, as too much heat could be very uncomfortable or even dangerous for your dog. We humans know when a heat pad is set too high and we simply turn the level down; but remember, not only does your dog have no fingers to work the switch, it also is unable to let you know if the heat is too high.

You can also use a hot water bottle in place of a heat pad. There are newer hot water bottles available that have fleece covers which feel softer on your dog’s body.

Heated pet beds are also available online or from most pet stores. You can also purchase an orthopedic bed with a heat element. This helps distribute your dog’s body weight and eliminates pressure points while soothing the joints and muscles.• Lastly, if you live in a part of the country that gets very cold in the winter, keep your dog warm inside and outside the house with clothing made especially for dogs. Many of these products are constructed of breathable material that insulates your dog’s body and keeps the chill out.

Arthritis can cause a lot of pain so try to make your arthritic dog as comfortable as you would like to be if you suffered from – or do suffer from – arthritic pain. It will make your dog’s life much easier and happier, and your dog will love you even more for the help you provide it.

Arthritis can have many causes and the symptoms are sometimes misdiagnosed as being another condition or ailment of an affected dog. The treatments for arthritis are limited, and many dog owners prefer the safety of a supplement like Winston’s Joint System rather than the sometimes questionable efficacy of a drug like Rimadyl.

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?

 

Degenerative Joint Disease – What Is It, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

The terms arthritis, osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia, OCD, and degenerative joint disease are often used to describe the same joint problems in dogs.

But no matter what it is called, the result is pain and inflammation in a dog’s joints. The term “arthritis” is the most common one used to describe this joint disease that can easily -and usually does at some point- incapacitate a dog.

What is Degenerative Joint Disease?

Degenerative joint disease is characterized by the loss of the smooth cartilage that covers and protects the end of the bones in the dog’s movable joints.

There are no nerves in the cartilage, so when it touches the cartilage of another bone, the dog feels no pain.

But when the cartilage wears away due to aging or joint disease, the bone becomes exposed. The bone does have nerves, so when the two bone ends in a joint touch each other, it results in pain and inflammation – sure signs that some form of degenerative joint disease is present.

In degenerative joint disease, small bony projections form on the bone that is close to the joint. This adds considerably to a dog’s pain. This type of degenerative joint disease is progressive, meaning it continues to get worse until the poor dog has considerable difficulty getting up and down by itself. The pain is so severe in some dogs that they are unable to stand or walk.

What causes degenerative joint disease?

Degenerative joint disease can occur simply as a result of wear and tear on an otherwise normal joint and occurs as the dog ages. Veterinarians refer to this stage of the disease as “primary degenerative joint disease”.

Osteoarthritis may also occur as a result of another condition that affects a dog’s joints. This is what is known as “secondary degenerative joint disease” and is identified either as hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia.

Which dogs are at risk of developing degenerative joint disease?

Certainly any dog with a congenital joint problem, like hip dysplasia, is going to be more prone to developing degenerative joint disease.

Dogs who have had injury to a joint such as a fracture involving the joint, or a ruptured ligament in the knee will be more likely to develop arthritis.

What are the symptoms of degenerative joint disease?

The symptoms of arthritis will vary as to which joints are involved, the age of the dog, and the severity of the disease.

The first symptoms an owner usually notices is a change in the way a dog walks since the dog will try to put more of its weight on the unaffected limbs. There may be muscle atrophy (reduction in the size of the muscle) in the affected limb because the dog is using it less, or at least putting less weight on it.

For a dog with hip dysplasia in both hind legs, the muscles of those legs may be thin, where the muscles of the chest and shoulders may increase in size because the dog is putting more weight on the front legs.

Many times the dog may find it difficult to get up after lying down and appears to be stiff. The dog also may be unable to jump up into the car. Many dogs with degenerative joint disease find it difficult to go up or down stairs.

Depending upon the amount of pain the dog is experiencing, its appetite may change and it may also choose to be alone more often.

The dog’s joints are generally not swollen and the pain it experiences is a dull aching type, so a dog usually will not cry out in pain. Some dogs will lick or bite at the area that is painful, while others will seek out warm or soft places to sleep.

How is degenerative joint disease diagnosed?

Your veterinarian will take a history of your dog’s symptoms and perform a complete physical exam. X-rays will be taken. Other lab tests or more detailed exams of the affected joints may be undertaken.

How is degenerative joint disease treated?

Some forms of degenerative joint disease can be treated without surgery. Winston’s Joint System is an all-natural formula developed by a Naturopathic Doctor to heal his own beloved dog. For over 20 years, this proven formula has been giving relief from the pain and stiffness of degenerative joint diseases to all breeds and ages of dogs. Owners who have discovered and used Winston’s report that their pets have a new-found vitality and alertness now that they are free of pain.

Degenerative joint disease does not heal itself. It is a progressive, debilitating disease that will continue to worsen without treatment. This is all the more reason to start your dog on Winston’s Joint System as soon as your vet gives you a diagnosis of hip dysplasia, arthritis, OCD, or any degenerative joint disease. Winston’s is a tried and proven formula that will slow down the progression of your dog’s joint disease and many dogs will respond well and can live comfortably for years. Your dog will love you for the gift of years of pain-free living.

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 Great Pyrenees

Hip dysplasia in Great Pyrenees is a genetic disease that can cause an afflicted dog to walk or run with an altered gait.

HIP DYSPLASIA IN GREAT PYRENEES – 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 Labradors

Hip dysplasia in Labradors is a genetic disease that can cause crippling, lameness and severe arthritic pain in a dog’s joints.

For Labradors that are genetically prone to hip dysplasia, symptoms can occur in puppies that are just a few months old or they can strike later in a dog’s life.

HIP DYSPLASIA IN LABRADORS – 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.

 

 

Hip Dysplasia in Large and Older Dogs

Hip dysplasia in large and older dogs -medically referred to as Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD)- is a common disease in large breeds. But it can also affect dogs of medium-sized breeds, although it’s rarer in small breeds.

HIP DYSPLASIA IN LARGE AND OLDER DOGS – 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.

 

 

BEWARE: PAINKILLERS FOR DOGS HAVE RISKS AND SIDE-EFFECTS – Natural Alternative Offers Safer Pain-Relief for Your Dog

Does your dog suffer with joint pain?

Our first instinct when we experience pain is to make the pain stop, right now. As dog-lovers, this is our first instinct when our dog is in pain, too.

But unfortunately, drugs which immediately stop pain in dogs, especially if your dog is experiencing joint-pain or osteoarthritis. In fact, sometimes the risks associated with these pain-killing drugs are worse for your dog than the original condition.

DOES THIS DESCRIBE YOUR DOG?

  • Difficulty getting up from a nap
  • Stiffness lower back, hips or back legs
  • Sits down more often, to take weight off back legs
  • Stands and sits with front legs very wide-apart
  • Won’t chase ball
  • Not interested in playing
  • Pauses at stairs, avoids climbing steps
  • Not able to jump after a frisbee
  • Gets tired mid-way through a favorite run or walk
  • Lowers head
  • Whines or whimpers (or snaps) when hip or leg is touched

If you answered “Yes” to one or more of these symptoms, your dog may be in need of help to repair and improve joint health.

When someone is hurting, whether it’s ourselves or a loved one, including a beloved family pet, our initial impulse is to dull the pain. For a dog with joint pain, steroids, non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) or aspirin all may be prescribed by your vet.

But these are powerful drugs with potential side-effects. They may offer benefits in the short-term, if your pet is in severe pain. But as a long-term solution, the risks of taking these drugs often outweigh the benefits.

Winston’s Joint System offers a safe, effective, healthy long-term solution to canine joint pain and arthritis. This unique formula has helped literally thousands of dogs boost their immune system for more robust health, and regain their mobility and strength to walk, run, and play longer and happier. And this makes their human happy, too.

Winston’s is a food-grade joint supplement developed to do more for your pet than simply treat painful symptoms. It actually helps rebuild joint strength and health, and keeps tails wagging without putting your dog on a lifetime regimen of potentially dangerous drugs.

ARE YOU OVERLOOKING THE SOURCE OF YOUR DOG’S PAIN?

If you’re just treating symptoms, then the answer is yes. This means that your pet will never experience complete healing, and that the pain-symptoms will persist.

Conventional Western medicine for both humans and dogs tends to address symptoms rather than root-causes. Some of this has to do with our modern insistence on instant gratification. We want the quick-fix, and we want it now!

No one wants to see a pet suffer. But there is more to effectively treating canine hip dysplasia, joint degeneration, osteoarthritis and related conditions than just making the painful symptoms go away.

WOULDN’T YOU LOVE TO SEE YOUR DOG PAIN-FREE AND BACK IN TOP FORM—NATURALLY?

Winston’s Joint System repairs and rebuilds healthy joints, at the same time it relieves pain. The formula reduces swelling and inflammation, which immediately makes your dog feel better.

What’s even more important is that Winston’s Joint System gets to the root-cause of the pain. The formula helps rebuild cartilage and sinew, for greater strength and flexibility. And the system also replaces synovial fluid, which is essential to full movement and mobility in a damaged joint. Helping the joint-structures to repair themselves naturally, without toxic drugs, is the key to reducing inflammation and pain in the short term, and keeping your dog mobile and active in the long term.

DO YOU REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR VET IS PRESCRIBING?

Rimadyl is the most commonly prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) drug intended for the relief of pain and inflammation in dogs. The generic name for this compound is carprofen. Rimadyl, Deramaxx, Medican and aspirin are often prescribed for dogs with osteoarthritis, or other forms of degenerative joint disease and the resulting pain. These drugs often prescribed for older dogs, as well as for big breeds which may be more prone to hip dysplasia and other joint-related pain.

Rimadyl in particular was identified as a “miracle drug” and a godsend when it was introduced by the drug-maker Pfizer in 1997. But as with so many allopathic or palliative drugs, the “miracle” of the miracle drug now is known to have a dark side. One of the primary reasons is that painkillers like Rimadyl, or even aspirin, mask pain without addressing the deeper sources of what causes the pain. So the originating cause is never addressed, and the pain persists, diminishing the quality of life for your pet.

HOW RIMADYL WORKS, AND WHY IT MAY BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR DOG

Rimadyl acts by inhibiting prostaglandins that cause inflammation in injured or aging joints. Prostaglandins are also necessary for normal body functions, however. When their production is stopped, normal body functions (digestion, liver and kidney function, for example), also cease. This obviously poses a tremendous risk to the overall system.

Rimadyl may erode the stomach lining and cause ulcers, resulting in internal bleeding. The action of the drug may reduce circulation to the liver, which may cause toxins to build up in the body. The resulting hemorraghing and/or toxicity may be fatal to your dog. It’s important to know that the drug residue remains in your dog’s body even after your stop giving your dog the drug. Just how long this residue lasts has not been conclusively proven.

  • Numerous deaths have been attributed to the use of Rimadyl. Some veterinarians prescribe this powerful drug over the phone, without ever examining your dog. Why? This drug has been aggressively and successfully marketed, with multi-million dollar ad campaigns backed by the huge Pfizer corporation (which also manufactures Viagra, along with many other highly profitable drugs for humans).
  • Before agreeing to give your dog any pain-killing drugs, have the veterinarian test your dog’s kidney and liver function, and discuss other blood panels which may be recommended. After a preliminary period determined by you and your vet, have these tests run again. Any changes in these results, indicating organ-function distress or damage, are indicators to stop the drug program.
  • Veterinarians sometimes mistake Rimadyl toxicity reactions for simply “old age” in your dog. If you do choose to begin a regimen of Rimadyl or other pain-killing drugs for your dog, keep a daily journal – like a diary—of your dog’s eating and drinking habits, bowel and bladder habits, breathing, energy, activity and overall behavior. BE SURE TO NOTE ANY CHANGES IN YOUR DOG, and bring your dog back to the veterinarian if you have any concerns. Closely observing and immediately noting changes immediately will help you and your vet identify symptoms of toxicity—not to be confused with healthy aging.

SYMPTOMS OF DRUG TOXICITY

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody diarrhea or stool
  • Lack of appetite
  • Extreme changes in water-dish habits (refusal to drink, or gulping water)
  • Excessive urination, or “marking” new spots
  • Incontinence
  • Listlessness or lethargy
  • Hyperactivity or restlessness
  • Aggressiveness
  • Panting
  • Pacing
  • Collapse
  • Paralysis
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Sudden or excessive shedding
  • “Hot spots” forming on skin
  • Facial swelling
  • Jaundice (yellowing) of eyes
  • White gums (may indicate internal bleeding)

EMERGENCY!
Please be aware that all of these symptoms have been reported in dogs on a prescribed program of Rimadyl, Metacam and Deramaxx, and may occur with other pain-killing drugs. In particular, ulcers, gastro-intestinal bleeding and hemorrhaging are common side-effects. If your dog exhibits any of these conditions, take your pet immediately to a veterinarian.

BE SURE THAT YOU READ THE FINE PRINT!

By law, ads for drugs, like ads for cigarettes, are required to identify health hazards and established risks. These warnings are present in the ads for the pain-killing drugs commonly prescribed for dogs—but you have to really look for them. Read the fine print before making your decision to use any drug.

  • Likewise, veterinarians have a lot of confidence in major brand and product, but may not share the full story with you. Rimadyl is packaged with a “PIL” or “Patient Information Leaflet”. The product also is accompanied by a “Client Information Sheet”, but when vets repackage the drugs into smaller vials, they may not pass along this vital consumer information to you. Be sure to obtain both of these documents, and read them carefully, before giving your dog any drug.
  • Never accept a phone-diagnosis or prescription for these powerful drugs. In fact, it might be wise to take your “Patient Information Leaflet” and “Client Information Sheet” documents home and read them in a relaxed, private setting before making the decision to give any drugs to your dog.
  • Be sure to discuss and fully understand dosage requirements. When treating pain with powerful drugs, lower dosage may lower risk of toxicity. Also, be informed that many veterinary authorities consider mixing NSAIDS with aspirin a high-risk practice.

IF YOU’D RATHER NOT TAKE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH PAIN-KILLING DRUGS FOR YOUR DOG, READ MORE ABOUT THE ALTERNATIVE: Winston’s Joint System

Arthritis in Older Dogs

Just like humans, older dogs are susceptible to many diseases, arthritis and hip dysplasia being two of the most common ailments. If your dog is affected by arthritis, there are some things you’ll need to do to make sure it’s comfortable at all times and has the ability – and mobility – to enjoy its “golden years.”

Arthritis is a problem affecting a dog’s joints and is caused by a natural reduction in glucosamine which is essential for healthy bones.

A dog’s joints become swollen and painful, making it difficult to move about.

Most dogs with arthritis will suffer from pain when attempting certain activities like walking or climbing stairs.

Remedies & treatment for arthritis in older dogs

Dogs with arthritis also require a special diet containing additional vitamins and minerals.

The diet for a dog with arthritis needs to be easily digestible and should contain fewer proteins. Carbohydrates should be eliminated from the dog’s diet as much as possible.

If the dog is obese, a weight loss diet is absolutely necessary because the extra weight can cause additional pain in the dog’s joints. Senior dogs are the most apt to suffer from arthritis and a vet may recommend a wet food diet for an older dog.

Arthritis in older dogs will require administering supplements that help with joint support and make the dog more comfortable. Winston’s Joint System is an all-natural formula developed by a Naturopathic Doctor to heal his own beloved dog. For over 20 years, this proven formula has been helping dogs find relief from the pain and stiffness caused by arthritis and hip dysplasia.

Dogs suffering from either of these debilitating diseases also need extra vitamins and minerals too. The dog will also benefit from a pain relieving supplement like Winston’s Pain Formula, It’s fast acting and highly effective and works exceptionally well with Winston’s Joint System to give comfort to an ailing dog.

Arthritis in older dogs can be more debilitating than it is for younger dogs. Younger dogs are usually able to handle the pain of arthritis a little easier and they may limp or slow down their movements, whereas an older, senior dog is unable to do the same.

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.

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Hip Dysplasia (Hip Dysplasia In Dogs – Part 2)

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

In this part we’ll focus on the diagnosis and treatment of hip dysplasia. How is the disease diagnosed? How to treat it? What options are there?

If you notice any signs of hip problems on your dog, it’s imperative to pay a visit to your vet for a complete examination as soon as possible.

Diagnosis of hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia in dogs is normally diagnosed by a complete physical exam and X-rays of the hip joints.

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Hip Dysplasia

Your veterinarian will observe the dog as it moves, stands and sits to check for characteristic signs of hip problems.

If a dog has noticeable signs resembling hip dysplasia or arthritis, any changes in the dog’s hip joint will be apparent on an X-ray.

The vet will also check to see if there is looseness in the dog’s hip joints. The dog may also display pain when the vet extends and flexes its rear legs.

In order to get the best result from an X-ray and make certain that the dog’s muscles are relaxed, the vet may need to anesthetize the dog in order to take the best pictures of the dog’s hip joints.

After reviewing the X-rays, the veterinarian will compare the dog’s hip or hips to healthy dogs of the same breed and age.

When a dog is diagnosed with hip dysplasia using X-rays, the vet can determine whether the disease is in a mild, moderate, or severe stage.

Treatment of hip dysplasia

Treatment of hip dysplasia is both medical and surgical.

How is hip dysplasia treated surgically?

There are several surgical procedures available to treat hip dysplasia in dogs. The type of surgery will depend upon the age and size of the dog, and the severity of its hip joint degeneration.

• Young dogs under one year of age with severe hip problems but no apparent damage to the joints yet will be considered for a procedure called Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO).

This procedure involves surgically breaking the dog’s pelvic bones and realigning the joint bones to restore the weight-bearing surface area. This surgical procedure is major and expensive, but has proven to be very successful on younger dogs.

It is not recommended for middle-aged and older dogs.

In a senior dog, the severity of the surgery can be enough to cause its death.

Total hip replacement may be the best surgical choice for a dog whose disease is a result of chronic hip dysplasia.

Total hip replacement can produce a functionally normal joint, stop further degeneration of the joints and help ease joint pain. The existing joint is removed and replaced with an artificial one.

If both hips need replacement only one hip will be operated on during surgery and the dog will require as long as three-months of rest to fully recuperate between the surgeries.

This is a very expensive surgery but it produces excellent results, allowing most dogs to return to an almost normal level of activity without pain.

Femoral head and neck excision is a procedure in which the head of the femur is surgically removed and an artificial joint replaces the hip.

This procedure is used in cases where there is serious degenerative joint disease and total hip replacement is not feasible or the expense of a total hip replacement is unaffordable.

The resulting artificial joint will usually be free from pain and will allow the dog to increase his activity but his full range of motion and joint stability will be decreased.

How is hip dysplasia treated medically?

Medical treatment includes restricting activity and giving a non-steroid anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) analgesic such as Rimadyl.

There are many pros and cons about giving a dog Rimadyl for hip dysplasia and arthritis pain. As a responsible pet owner, it would be best to research this drug as thoroughly as you can before giving your dog this medication.

Painkillers like Rimadyl, or even aspirin, mask pain without addressing the deeper sources of what causes the pain. The biggest risk about giving your dog Rimadyl, is its serious side-effects. Numerous deaths have been attributed to its use.

Non-medical treatment of hip dysplasia

A much safer treatment, and one that many owners agree is more effective, is to put your dog on a daily regimen 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. Because of the high cost of corrective surgeries, non-medical treatment of hip dysplasia is often the only realistic option for pet owners.

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.

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 in dogs 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.

Joint Disease in Dogs

It’s evitable that many dogs will develop some form of joint disease during their lives. It may be mild and unnoticeable, or it could be debilitating, severely affecting a dog’s quality of life by causing complete lameness and the inability to get up and down without help.

Some dogs will develop joint disease in the first few years of their lives but not display any visible signs until much later in life. This is often dependent on the dog’s breed. Dogs are also very susceptible to arthritis, and larger dog breeds are more vulnerable than smaller breeds.

The most common signs of joint disease in dogs include stiffness, limping, or favoring one limb over another. After awakening from sleep a dog with joint disease may find it difficult to get up or be reluctant to climb stairs.

Diseases that can affect a dog’s joints fall into ten major classifications. These joint diseases occur as a result of
(1) ligament, tendon, or muscle disease,
(2) bone fractures involving the joint,
(3) dietary and hormonal diseases such as hyperparathyroidism and obesity,
(4) developmental disorders like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia or OCD,
(5) congenital disorders,
(6) metabolic disorders,
(7) cancer,
(8) inflammatory joint diseases like Lyme disease or rheumatoid arthritis,
(9) degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis), and
(10) degenerative spinal joint disease.

Treatment of joint disease in dogs

The treatment of hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis has vastly improved with the introduction of supplements like Winston’s Joint System.

Because hip dysplasia is primarily an inherited condition, there is no product on the market that can prevent its development, only treat it.

Dogs with hip dysplasia will need to be fed a proper diet and be put on a limited exercise routine.

There are anti-inflammatories like Rimadyl that are used to relieve a dog’s pain. Since Rimadyl and other drugs are controlled substances, they are available only through veterinarians.

Unfortunately, drugs like Rimadyl cannot decrease the progression of degenerative joint disease and often have serious side effects. You should consult with your vet and learn about all the possible side effects before agreeing to treat your dog with prescription medications such as Rimadyl.

Surgery is sometimes performed on dogs with serious cases of hip dysplasia. These surgeries are not always able to stop the progression of the disease and some dogs benefit only by having their lives made a little more comfortable.

Because of the high cost of this type of surgery and the questionable value of performing the procedure on older dogs, the management of pain and inflammation remains the only realistic option for many pet owners.

Weight management is very important for all dogs suffering from hip dysplasia. If surgery or other medical procedure is deemed necessary, the results will be more beneficial if the dog is not overweight.

Up to half of the dogs in the U.S. are overweight, so chances are very good that dogs with hip dysplasia or osteoarthritis are also overweight. Helping a dog lose pounds and get back to its recommended weight is one of the most important things a dog owner can do to help their pet who is suffering from hip dysplasia or arthritis.

Dogs who are overweight and are diagnosed with hip dysplasia or arthritis need to be exercised in ways that provide a good range of motion and muscle building, while limiting wear and tear on the dog’s joints.

Walking, swimming, slow jogging, and going up and down stairs are excellent low-impact exercises. An exercise program should be tailored to a dog based on the severity of the hip dysplasia or osteoarthritis.

The dog’s weight and physical condition must be factored into planning the types of exercise it should be subjected to. The wrong type of exercise can cause harm to the dog. A veterinarian will be able to recommend the best exercise program that’s appropriate for the dog’s condition.

Glucosamine and chondroitin are two supplements commonly used to treat animals for osteoarthritis. They are effective on some dogs but not on all dogs.

Glucosamine is the major sugar found in the important building blocks necessary for the synthesis and maintenance of joint cartilage.

Chondroitin enhances this synthesis and prevents damage of enzymes in the joint. These products are not painkillers.

Glucosamine and chondroitin work on the dog’s cartilage-forming cells in an attempt to repair the damaged cartilage. These products take at least six weeks to begin their healing, and if successful, a dog will need to continue taking the products for the rest of their lives to prevent further cartilage breakdown.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been developed for dogs with osteoarthritis. Carprofen, marketed as Rimadyl is the best known of these medications. It is a strong painkiller and anti-inflammatory agent, and is available only by prescription because of its potential for serious side effects.

A much safer treatment for dogs suffering with joint diseases such as arthritis, bursitis, osteochondrosis (OCD), hip dysplasia and other degenerative joint disease is Winston’s Joint System, a combination of three, totally-natural whole food supplements developed by a Naturopathic Doctor for his own dog. Winston’s contains no potentially dangerous drugs.

Joint disease is a condition that affects a large number of dogs and there is no known cure. Surgery works for some dogs but is almost prohibitively expensive. If your dog has been diagnosed with arthritis, bursitis, osteochondrosis (OCD), hip dysplasia or other degenerative joint disease, you owe it to your pet to help make its life better by treating it with Winston’s proven formula.

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.