St. Bernard Getting Older? Signs, Treatment, And Prevention Of Hip Dysplasia

Large breed dogs are more prone to getting hip dysplasia, which is an abnormal formation of the hip socket. Below is some information about what signs to watch out for so you know if your dog is getting this problem and how it can be treated. There are also things you can do to help prevent your dog from developing hip dysplasia.

Hip Dysplasia Symptoms

One of the main symptoms of hip dysplasia is an altered gait. If your dog has this, you will notice when they are running that they do not have full extension of their rear legs. Instead, they will do a "bunny hop" instead. You will also notice pain and stiffness in their rear legs, especially first thing in the morning and after exercise. They may have problems when getting up from a laying down position and climbing stairs.  As the condition gets worse, you dog may not be able to get up on its own.

Hip Dysplasia Treatment

There are some surgical procedures your veterinarian can perform to treat hip dysplasia. What they choose will depend on how old your dog is, as well as the severity of the problem and the size of their body. Two surgical options they may recommend include:

  • Hip Replacement: If your dog has chronic hip dysplasia, the veterinarian may suggest a total hip replacement. This involves removing their hip joint and replacing it with a prosthesis or artificial joint.
  • Femoral Neck and Head Excision: The doctor will remove the head of your dog's femur and replace the hip with a fibrous pseudo-joint.

Your veterinarian can give you much more detailed information about these surgical options.

If your dog's hip dysplasia is not bad enough to be treated surgically, your vet will suggest medically treating it. Fortunately, there are many drugs and over the counter products that can help with the pain. There is liquid joint medication, and because it is a liquid it can get into your dog's system much faster.  Your vet can also prescribe many different types of medications for your dog, depending on what their symptoms are. All of these medications will help relieve your dog of their pain.

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Hip Dysplasia Prevention

Because hip dysplasia can be inherited, the veterinarian can prescribe medication that can prevent it from developing. Two other things you can do to help prevent this include:

  • Weight management: Your dog is already a large breed, so if they gain weight, this puts even more pressure on their hips. Make sure you feed it the amount of food that is appropriate for its size.
  • Exercise: Make sure your dog gets enough exercise each day. This could be from running, taking walks, walking on treadmills, and swimming.

Following these tips will help you keep your dog healthy and happy.