Hip Dysplasia in Dogs: Pit Bulls

Despite the controversy associated with the breed, pit bulls are loved and cherished by lots of people in the United States. While they can become aggressive toward other dogs or humans, they can make good family dogs. Pit bulls are also prone to many health conditions. Therefore, you need to take good care of these medium sized dogs. Caring for pit bulls are easy if you know the common diseases and symptoms they need to be aware of. Hip dysplasia is a common problem in pit bulls. Pit bulls are prone to hind leg problems, and these hind leg health conditions can slow pit bulls down. In this case, improper formation of the hip joint can lead to arthritis and persistent pain.

Hip Dysplasia in Pit Bulls – What is it?

Hip dysplasia is a condition that occurs during the growth stage in dogs. It results in the loosening of the hip joint, which causes dysfunction and pain. As the dog grows, the cartilage and bone of the hip begin to wear down. Over time, this causes arthritis, muscle atrophy, and limited mobility. Because of the way weight is distributed on the hip joint, pitbulls, bulldogs, retrievers, Great Danes, Old English Sheepdogs, Saint Bernards, Rottweilers, boxers, and German shepherds are just a few breeds affected by hip dysplasia at a higher rate. If you know that your pitbull has a genetic predisposition to hip and joint issues, it’s important to watch for pitbull hip dysplasia symptoms. 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?

①Hobbles, or walks/trots with an irregular gait

②Tries to keep weight off one of the rear legs

③Starts to slow down or limp on a favorite walk or run

④Stays in bed instead of playing outdoors

⑤Whimpers or yelps when climbing stairs

⑥Flinches when hip area or lower back are touched

Dogs can be very stoic and may not show all of these clinical symptoms. However, this condition is very painful, regardless of whether your dog has symptoms.

What Happens in Hip Dysplasia?

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.

What Causes Hip Dysplasia in Pit Bulls?

It has been suggested that although hip dysplasia is an inherited condition, environmental factors also play a significant role in the likelihood of a pit pull developing the condition. Some of these include feeding dogs too many calories early in their development and spaying or neutering them too early before they are fully developed, which can cause hip dysplasia. There are also those who believe that too much high-impact exercise or the wrong type of exercise, such as grabbing a ball or frisbee on concrete, jumping and catching a ball, especially with pit pull experience of hyperextended joints or even torn ligaments can also cause this disease.

Therefore, it can be concluded that hip dysplasia is an inherited disease, which is influenced by factors such as diet, environment, exercise, growth rate, muscle mass and hormones. In fact, pit bulls are genetically predisposed to hip and hind leg problems. Early signs of hip pain in pit bulls include: rabbit hopping gait, limping in the hind legs, and lameness.

What can you do?

Our first instinct as dog-lovers is to stop the pain. If your dog is clearly in pain, schedule a visit with your veterinarian. An X-ray examination will be recommended as a first step.

Treatment depends upon the dog’s clinical signs and amount of discomfort. There are very effective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (e.g., meloxicam, brand name Meloxicam®) that have minimal side effects. Most dogs with hip dysplasia should receive veterinary-approved glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and omega-3 fatty acid nutritional supplements. Many dogs with painful hip dysplasia will benefit from polysulfated glycosaminoglycan injections on a regular basis. Moderate daily exercise, avoiding high impact activities such as jumping, may help keep the patient mobile and strengthen surrounding support structures.

Physical therapy has been demonstrated to be highly effective at improving an affected dog’s quality of life and should be part of any treatment regimen.Heat therapy stimulates dilation of blood vessels, this helps to bring fresh blood flow to the tissues, aids in clearance of tissue fluid and stimulates chronically injured tissues. Heat can also be beneficial to reduce stiffness after a period of rest as warmth improves tissue elasticity, access to oxygenated blood supply and improves synovial fluidity in joints.