Hip Dysplasia and a sad story “Charlie is self-confident, intelligent, and socializes quite well, a loving and devoted companion. An extremely energetic and playful dog, Charlie loves keeping pace alongside myself whenever I’m out for a run, or for a long hike in the woods or mountains.
My Rottweiler has been my greatest companion in the last couple of months. He never left my side even once. But then, Charlie started hopping about a few days ago, he would lay down and hardly stand. I thought he was tired, we didn’t know he was sick. It was so devastated to see him in such pains. I went to the vet the following morning and to my displeasure, he was diagnosed with canine hip dysplasia, the two most terrifying words any dog owner would hear”
Seeing your pet gradually lose a leg or two to hip dysplasia is a really bad feeling.
These disease is prevalent among certain dog breeds, like the Rottweilers, and the German shepherd etc. Hip dysplasia can drastically affect your Rottweiler’s mobility and quality of life if left unattended.
Learning about this condition is one of the steps in helping your Rottweiler. You’ll learn the causes, symptoms , prevention, diagnosis and possible options for treatment
What is Rottweiler Hip Dysplasia?
Canine hip dysplasia is a disease of the skeleton, very common to dogs most especially the larger breeds.
This condition occurs as a result of irregular growth in the hip joint.
In the case of dogs with these conditions, the ball and socket fails to grow at the same pace, the depth of the socket becomes shallow, thereby causing grinding and rubbing instead of sliding smoothly without friction.
It sometimes may or may not affect both hips. When the muscles , connective tissue, and ligaments become loose (laxity) this condition occurs. Most of the Rottweilers affected by this condition are born with normal hips, but due to genetic and other environmental factors, the soft tissues that surround the joint start to become abnormal as the puppy grows. It’s Important to note that these changes pushes the bone away from its place.
The condition is generated as the dog grows, causing the hip to be unstable and loosely fitted.
As time goes on ,there is cartilage loss, formation of scar tissue around the joint. The condition can lead to inflammation and pain experienced by the Rottweiler. In the body’s attempt to stabilize the loose hip joint, the condition degenerates to joint disease (DJD) or osteoarthritis( OA).
What causes canine hip dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia can be cause by a multiple of factors. It accounts for approximately 80% of all orthopedic cases with roughly 10% occurrences among the Rottweiler breed.
Although the primary cause of CHD is genetics as the disease is hereditary. The genes involved in hip dysplasia has not been singled out as it is believed to be polygenic. Environmental factors have a large role to play in the generation of this disease.
Environmental factors exposing Rottweilers Hip Dysplasia.
exercise plays a part in canine hip dysplasia is excessive stress on a immature skeleton. It’s best to know the right kind of exercises for your Rottie looking at his already huge size being a predisposing factor for CHD . This factor can act as a trigger and can also be helpful in reducing the amount of energy available for growth in the case of over nutrition.
It is a fact that dogs with larger and more prominent leg muscle mass are at lesser risk of developing the disease than dogs with small muscle mass. Therefore, exercising and maintaining good muscle mass may lower the chances of the disease. Exercises such as running and swimming is good as it strengthens the gluteal muscles. On the other hand, exercises such as jumping and playing frisbee is bad because it exerts so much pressure on the joints thereby increasing the chances of the condition.
Rapid growth and nutrition
Another environmental factor that influences the development of hip dysplasia in Rottweilers and other breeds is nutrition. It does not in itself cause hip dysplasia but it determines how often or severe the condition could be. Check dog food advisory to help determine what your dogs weight should be and to find good quality dog food for your puppy.
Dietary deficiencies do not have any known direct influence on hip dysplasia development. Study shows that excessive intake of energy in immature animals be it in the form of protein, carbohydrate or fat will increase body weight and skeletal growth. Buy dog foods that are specially formulated for large breed puppies. These dog foods helps in the prevention of too fast growth, which can cause disorders in the skeletal formation. Making dogs to grow at a slower pace allows the joints some times too mature and thereby reducing the cases of skeletal disorders such as hip dysplasia in the long run.
Obesity puts a lot of strain on the dog’s joints, which can worsen a pre-existing condition such as hip dysplasia or even cause hip dysplasia.
ADRK website says: An overloading of the joints during growth, for example intensive climbing of stairs or larger jumps, can cause cracks in the sensitive cartilage tissue and thus promote joint inflammation. Especially with large and fast growing breeds, such as the Rottweiler, feeding also plays an important role. A frequent mistake in the dog nutrition is the oversupply with nutrients and a too high energy content of the food in the growth. As a result, the young dogs grow too fast, so that the bones grow quickly in length, but cannot build up the necessary stability. Cartilage and ligaments are also initially quite unstable. This results in a double burden on the body – too much weight for the respective age and also a to weak support system. The resulting problems are particularly evident in the “weak points” of the skeletal system, namely the joints.
Therefore, it is essential to note that medium to large dog breeds have specific nutritional needs to aid proper growth. Only food that satisfies these needs should be fed to the dog and nothing more.
Mississippi Rottweilers recommends a high quality puppy food specifically designed for large breed dogs. Don’t buy the cheap stuff, also, read the directions on the back of the bag and make sure to feed the recommended amount and try not to over feed your precious puppy. Many people want to see their rots grow fast, they can’t wait to see how big their rot will grow. There’s a great desire by many people to have a 150 pound rottie so in an attempt to have a giant dog they tend to over feed their the puppy. Over feeding not only causes the pup to make messes everywhere studies show that it can cause harmful side effective in more way than one.
What are the symptoms?
In some cases, the symptoms may not be obvious as these varies with the individuals. CHD symptoms may be visible at any stage of the disease development. AKC has some good info on this subject.
Some can begin to show these signs as early as the fourth month whereas others develop them as they age in connection with osteoarthritis.
There are several sign that are associated with CHD examples;
1. Reduced activity
2. Difficulty or reluctance rising, climbing furniture’s, running and mounting on stairs.
3. Obvious shoulder muscles enlargement compensating for the hind end.
4. Hip Pain and Stiffness when extending or bending the joint.
5. Reduction in range of motion
6. Lameness in the hind end. This could be mild, moderate or severe.
7. In most dogs, joints become loose.
8. Narrow stance
9. Shifting of weight to the forelimbs
10. Swaying, “bunny hopping” gait
11. Joint makes grating sounds during movement
12. Loss of thigh muscle mass
How do I prevent Rottweiler Hip Dysplasia?
● Avoid feeding young puppies food high in calories, protein and fat because it leads to rapid bone growth. Puppies should be fed healthy and nutritious food for slow and steady growth not rapid growth.
● Exercises like jumping should be avoided because it causes to much stress on the joint causing dysplasia. Also expose the dog to selected exercise in order to avoid him being under exercise. Like long walk, runs, and swimming.
● Select puppies from reputable breeders to help avoid this condition.
● Make sure your dog is not overweight.
The most effective method of diagnosing dogs presenting with clinical signs of arthritis and pains is by combining radiology (x-ray) with physical examination. With proper palpation the vet can determine the level of joint laxity present in the Rottweiler.
It is very important to know as a dog owner that, early detection of hip laxity is fundamental to treatment.
There are several treatment options available for addressing this condition in Rottweilers.
Non surgical options
The process applies when the condition of your rot is not critical or if your budget size cannot afford a surgery at the moment. The veterinarian may recommend medications that help in reducing pain and inflammation and drugs to support and repair cartilage .Physical therapy such as weight management and nutritional supplements are also part of the process.
Surgical options for Rottweiler Hip Dysplasia
● Double or Triple Pelvic Osteotomy
This is one of the surgical options available for dogs less than 8-10 months with CHD and no visible radio graphic arthritic Changes.
Surgical options do have their dangers so speak with your vet about possible risk.
This procedure aims at improving the coverage of the ball by the socket and decreasing hip laxity.
Young dogs with lameness and signs of hip arthritis are not suitable for this treatment option.
● Total Hip Replacement (THR)
It is one of the most efficient surgical means of treating hip dysplasia. It is the process of totally removing the hip joint (ball and socket)and then replacing it with metal and plastic implants. This process returns the joint to a normal range and eliminates the pain and discomforts synonymous with this condition in our Rottweiler. This method is preferable for older dogs, at least 1 year old.
● Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO) surgery.
This involves the process of totally removing the femoral head (the ball) with the aim of eliminating the pains caused by the abnormal joint that causes grinding and rubbing instead of sliding smoothly without friction. The surgery allows a chance for a “false joint” which grows and the muscle around the hip now transfers the forces from the leg to the pelvis directly during movements. The FHO method does not target the return to normal hip function.
It is a method that is suitable for dogs of all ages even the younger ones that did not meet up conditions for DPO and TPO.
Dogs that undergo this process should stay slim and not obese.
Here at Mississippi Rottweilers, our dogs come from some of the best breeding stock in the world, Health tested for hip and elbow dysplasia for many generations to help eliminate any potential Rottweiler Hip Dysplasia problems. Mississippirottweilers.com has imported Rots from champion bloodlines in Germany or Serbia (European bloodlines) and brought them to our breeding kennel in Mississippi, USA. Mississippirottweilers.com
We are able to ship puppies anywhere in the lower 48 states.