Hip problems can affect several different breeds, and they need to be identified early on. You may have thought smaller dogs were immune from hip problems but this is not the case. In fact hip problems can occur in dogs of any breed, and at any time. You cannot be sure if your own dog is suffering from hip problems, but the information in this article should help you to make a determination.
The commonest hip condition is known as hip dysplasia, a term which refers to the malformation or deterioration of the hip joint. The hip joint is sited on a socket which secures the head of the femur. When the socket is excessively shallow it gives rise hip dysplasia. Following diagnosis the problem needs to be treated urgently because it can cause a lot of pain, especially when the cartilage has already been destroyed. Asymptomatic dogs should not be used for breeding. Although the condition is common among the larger breeds studies have shown that smaller breeds including Cocker Spaniels and Shetland Sheepdogs can also be affected.
It is difficult to tell if your dog has dysplasia without a radiograph. Your vet will not be able to analyse the results, and therefore you will need to send the hip x-ray to the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals in the US. The evaluation process normally takes several weeks. There are similar programs available in Britain, Europe, or Canada, but the certification will vary depending on the age of the dog.
Some organizations issue certification for dogs aged one year and above, whilst others wait until the dog is at least two years old. Look for an organization which provides the appropriate certification.
There is another joint problem called OCD or Osteochondrosis Dessicans which is located in the elbow area. This condition arises when the flake or bone spur wears out, giving rise to a lot of pain and stiffness. In order to obtain the correct diagnosis your dog’s elbow joints will have to be x-rayed. Dogs with hip dysplasia may also be suffering with OCD.
Patellar Luxation is another joint problem sometimes seen in dogs. It is a condition which affects the dog’s kneecaps, and is usually associated with the smaller breeds. When the kneecap slips out of position it causes the dog’s leg to become locked in a straight position. Fortunately this condition can be treated successfully with surgery. Nevertheless, it is not a good idea to breed dogs suffering with this condition because of its hereditary nature. There is a strong possibility that any pups will inherit the condition.
If you speak to an expert they will be able to tell you more about the various joint problems. As well as the problems already mentioned dogs can suffer from a condition known as hock which affects the spine; and there are many other joint problems you need to be aware of. You will need to learn as much as possible about the dog breed you’re handling. Carry out research into bloodlines and potential joint problems; and since most of the conditions are hereditary in nature you will need to take extra care when selecting a breed.
Dog breeding is not an easy task. Learn as much as you can about the subject, and keep up to date with any developments. To be a successful breeder you will need to keep your dogs fit and healthy.
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