Capers is a super happy 5 months young Labradoodle puppy. Recently, his family noticed he was bunny hopping (taking short, hopping steps) more frequently, especially during faster gaits. There was also stiffness in his hind limbs.
X-rays were taken and Capers was diagnosed with mild hip dysplasia. A surgical procedure called Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis (JPS) is recommended to prevent the development of painful arthritic hip degeneration. Treated early, Capers can continue to live an active and full life!
what is hip dysplasia?
In a normal hip joint, the femoral head (ball) fits snugly into the acetabulum (socket). In dogs with hip dysplasia, there is abnormal looseness between the ball and socket. When these two structures do not fit smoothly, the femoral head slips in and out of the joint (subluxation). Over time, the bones become deformed, resulting in inflammation, lameness, stiffness and pain.
how is hip dysplasia diagnosed?
A puppy’s hip dysplasia is usually detected during the second or third vaccination appointment when the vet performs a physical examination and gait evaluation. X-rays are necessary. In order to get the best diagnostic view, the dog is sedated or anaesthetised for proper positioning with the hips distracted (femoral heads “distracted” or pulled out of the acetabula as far as they will go) so that any looseness between the ball and socket can be seen.
Symptoms of hip dysplasia
- Bunny hopping
- Swaying gait
- Difficulty getting up and lying down
- Reluctance to run, jump or climb stairs/slopes
- Shifting of weight to forelimbs
DID MY PUPPY GET HIP DYSPLASIA FROM HIS PARENTS?
Genetics do play a part. Puppies diagnosed with hip dysplasia should be neutered or spayed to prevent the breeding of dogs who carry the gene for hip dysplasia. Dogs used for breeding should have their hips evaluated by vets.
Although there is a genetic influence, hip dysplasia can be caused by other factors:
- Body weight – Overweight puppies and larger breeds who grow rapidly are at greater risk of developing hip dysplasia.
- Nutrition – Puppies must receive good nutrition to grow but they should not be overweight. Speak with your vet about proper nutrition and supplements.
- Exercise – Avoid over exercising your puppy and high impact activities like jumping, leaping for balls, running up and down the stairs. Take your pup for a few short walks daily instead of one long walk/run.
- Environment – Puppies who frequently walk on slippery surfaces or have access to stairs at a very young age have a higher risk of hip dysplasia.
What can be done?
* Early intervention is critical. If the diagnosis is made at an early age, a minimally invasive surgery known as Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis (JPS) is recommended.
If the diagnosis is made at a later stage, Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (cutting the pelvic bone in three places and rotating the segments to improve coverage of the ball) or total hip replacement surgery is required. These are major surgical procedures. If surgery is not an option, the dog may need lifelong pain relief medication.
WHAT IS JPS surgery?
In JPS surgery, the goal is to achieve a better congruency (fit) of ball and socket. This is done by “fusing” the growth plate of the pubic bone to limit the growth. The hip socket is forced to rotate over the ball (femoral head) as it grows.
should my puppy be neutered at the same time?
Puppies should be spayed or neutered at the same time as JPS surgery, to prevent the breeding of dogs that carry the genes for hip dysplasia.