Bull Mastiffs

The Bull Mastiff is a big, strong, intelligent dog that was originally bred from an English Mastiff and an Old English Bulldog in the 19th Century. Gamekeepers used them on large estates to help keep them free of poachers.

Even though Bull Mastiffs are big dogs they are sensitive, loving and can make good family pets because they are very loyal and protective.  They are great with children and will watch over them as well as being an excellent guardian of the home.  Bull Mastiffs are generally quiet and rarely bark, however, if they sense a possible threat they will make a lot of noise and will raise the alarm.  They are very territorial so will make natural guard dogs and they will protect you with their life.

When you read about Bull Mastiffs they sound wonderful. They are laid back, unless there is danger, faithful, eager to please, fearless and have unconditional love for people. However, there is one BIG messy downside………………SLOBBER!

These dogs are well known for their drool and slobber so you will need to have an old towel or rag in every room of the house. Also, have a few spare ones near the front door so you can give them to visitors who enter your home.  They do not discriminate when it comes to sharing the slobber.

Due to their size and stubborn nature, Bull Mastiffs need training from early on before they get too big. They need to be trained not to pull on the lead.  Also, it is good to socialise it with other dogs at an early age so it develops into a reliable and well behaved dog.

bull mastiff dog

Health Issues

As with most dogs there are certain types of hereditary problems associated with this breed such as Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Entropion, Hypothyroidism, Lymphoma Cancer, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Arthritis and Bloat.

For more information on some of these issues we have other blogs on our website and also our health advice pages. The links are below.  Also, as well as our main Facebook page we have a sister page which relates to our Orthopaedic Services and covers issues such as Hip Dysplasia and Elbow Dysplasia.  Click here and it will take you directly to the page. Please click the “like” button so you can keep up to date with information about the subject.

If you have any questions about this please give us a call at the clinic where someone will be able to help you. Alternatively, you can leave a question on our Facebook page

Blog Links

Hyp Dysplasia Part 1 – Click HERE

Hyp Dysplasia Part 2 – Click HERE

Elbow Dysplasia – Click HERE

Cruciate Ligament Rupture – Click HERE

Arthritis – Click HERE

Bloat – Click HERE

Breaks and Fractures

At Cherrydown Vets one of the reasons pets are bought in to us is because of breaks or fractures to their bones.  It could be because of a car accident, a high fall, fighting, over exuberance or something more serious like bone cancer. There are two types of fractures, open and closed. An open fracture is when the bone breaks and pierces through the skin. A closed fracture is where the bone has broken but does not break the skin.

If your pet has had a heavy fall or an accident there are some things you can look out for to see if there is anything broken.

  • Your pet may hold the broken limb in an abnormal position
  • The limb will become very swollen
  • There may be an open wound with bone sticking through it.
  • You pet may be limping or is reluctant to put any weight on a particular limb
  • Your pet may hold up their limb and not put any weight on it at all
  • Your pet may not want the limb touched by anyone

Bones consist of an outer, hard portion known as the cortex and an inner area known as the marrow.  A fracture can range from a simple hairline fracture with little displacement of the bone to complex fractures where the bone has shattered into many pieces. If a fracture has taken place at a joint it can be even more serious.

If you believe your pet has fractured a bone you should take them to the vets immediately so they can be x-rayed. When the vet can see how serious the break is they can advise on the best course of action.

When it comes to transporting the animal, try to minimise movement of the affected area. If the bone is exposed cover with a clean, damp towel to protect the wound.  Also, be careful when moving your pet. No matter how friendly and soft they are, when animals are scared or in pain they may bite. If you have a dog it may be worth putting a muzzle on them.

The vet will do a thorough examination of the fracture and will also check for any other injuries. Once they have all the relevant information they will be able to decide what to do next. Each fracture is different but generally there are two types of treatment, depending on the fracture. The vet may recommend internal or external stabilisation.

External stabilisation – If your pet has a hairline fracture or something minor, the vet may choose to use splints, casts or padded bandages to keep everything in place.

Internal stabilisation – This involves surgery and your pet will be anesthetised It can be anything from inserting a metal pin lengthwise into the centre of the bone (like an internal splint) to metal plates, pins, screws and wires to hold together various pieces of bone or to fix a joint.  If it is a serious fracture your vet may refer you to an Orthopaedic Specialist.

There is no strict rule on the amount of time it can take to heal a fracture but generally, the younger the animal the sooner it will take.  You need to make sure you limit the amount of exercise your pet does during the healing process to ensure the bones stay aligned. If your pet has too much activity it could refracture the bone and delay the healing or your pet could have a deformed limb due to stress on a weakened bone.  During the healing period your vet may take further x-rays to ensure it’s healing properly and let you know when your pet’s limb is back to normal.

If you have any questions about this subject please call us at the clinic and someone will be able to discuss this with you. Alternatively, you can post your question on our Facebook page.

The Siberian Husky

 The Siberian Husky (also known as the Arctic Husky) is a beautiful looking dog and they have lovely piercing eyes.  Huskies are thought to originate from Eastern Siberia where they were used to pull sleds over long distances by the Chukchi. They were exported to Alaska during the Nome Gold Rush and later spread into Canada and America. Once there they were used as sled dogs but over the years they became more popular as pets.

We have seen quite a few huskies at Cherrydown and know how popular they are as pets.  If properly trained they can be very good with people, children and other dogs. Huskies are commonly known for their friendliness toward people.

However, one thing that does upset us is there are many people who take on huskies without doing the proper research and end up dumping them or putting them in homes because they can’t handle them anymore.

In this blog we will go through a few things which are useful to know before getting a husky.

A Husky will shed A LOT!  You will have hair EVERYWHERE! We have heard from long term Husky owners that they shed from September to February and March to August. So basically, they will shed hair all year round.  Also Huskies will “blow their coat”. This means their hair will literally come out in chunks.  You are going to have to make sure you have Henry the Hoover on high alert when that happens. 

Huskies need A LOT of exercise as they extremely energetic and athletic. These dogs were bred to run for long distances and pull sleds so they will most likely leave you tired while they still have lots of energy.  However, use some common sense in the height of summer. These dogs are very hairy so if it’s really hot outside don’t let them over do it. Huskies are very intelligent and will need things to keep them occupied or entertained. If they are bored they can become very unhappy. They can also be very destructive if they are bored and left alone. You could come home and find your best shoes or the kids toys in tatters. Be prepared to give a husky a lot of mental and physical stimulation.

Huskies are very stubborn so can be harder to train than other dogs. That’s not to say it’s impossible but they will need a bit of extra work to get them to do as they are told.

cute huskies 2

These dogs have been bred to run and pull so if you are walking one on a lead you will definitely need a good arm to keep them from tugging you. These dogs are strong.  You will need a lot of patience to train them to behave on a lead.  As long as you are firm and consistent about the no-pulling rule and reward good behaviour you should get good results.  However this is not a guarantee.  Unless a husky has had good training from an early age, letting one of the lead is not a good idea unless it’s in an enclosed area. These dogs are natural hunters so if they are off the leash and spot a small animal they may be off without considering its surroundings and will ignore your commands. This could result to them being lost or injured.

Huskies like to dig. If you have a well kept garden you might find it full of holes. Be aware that Huskies might end up digging a hole under the fence and escaping.

Huskies have sensitive stomachs and can be fussy eaters. Speak to your vet for advice on feeding them.

Huskies are generally healthy dogs and could live to a ripe old age. However, as with a lot of breeds there are specific problems.  Many of the problems with Huskies are genetic such as seizures and eye disorders (such as cataracts, corneal dystrophy, canine glaucoma and progressive retinal atrophy) and congenital laryngeal paralysis. Hyp Dysplasia isn’t common with this breed. However, as with all medium to large breeds, it can occur. If you want to know more about Hyp Dysplasia, the links to our blogs on the subject can be found at following links:

 

Hyp Dysplasia Part one – Click HERE

Hyp Dysplasia Part two – Click HERE

 

As with all pets, the more you put in, the more you will get out of it. Huskies can be hard work but the rewards will be great.

If you have any questions about this or any about any of our blogs please call us at the clinic or leave a message on our Facebook page.

Cute Huskies 3

Great Danes

Great Danes may be big but they are a very friendly breed and have a lovely disposition.  Due to this they are known as the “Gentle Giant”.  With proper training they are loving, affectionate and are patient around children.  They love everyone and need to be around people.  Big as they are, Great Danes make very good house dogs. Admittedly they will take up all the space infront of the fireplace and you probably won’t get to sit on the sofa or comfy armchair ever again, but this is a small price to pay for having a big, loving, loyal, dependable dog.

All dogs love a walk and Great Danes are no different, however, you need to be careful not to over exercise them especially when they are young.  Puppies do not stay small for long and grow very quickly which puts them at risk of joint and bone problems.  Great Dane pups will have a lot of natural energy and owners have mentioned they take steps to minimise activity while their dog is growing.  We would not recommend taking your Great Dane pup jogging or running until it is at least 12-18 months old

Like a lot of big dogs, Great Danes could have certain health issues such as Panosteitis-Pano, Cardiomyopathy, Hypothyroidism and Hip Dysplasia.

Panostetis

This is a painful condition that occurs when Great Danes are pups and are growing rapidly. The symptoms are usually periods of lameness lasting 2-3 weeks and it may shift from leg to leg. Also, your dog may not be keen on exercise or going for walks due to the discomfort. Any lameness in a growing Dane is worth getting vet checked.

Cardiomyopathy

There are three types of Cardiomyopathy, but Dilated Cardiomyopathy is most common in Great Danes and can be deadly.  The chambers of the heart become enlarged and the thin wall of the affected chamber stretches and stops the heart from working properly.  As the heart is not performing as it should, it works harder to pump the blood around the body.  Also, fluid will build up in the lungs and abdomen. If Cardiomyopathy is suspected, an x-ray will be taken of your dog’s chest to assess whether there is fluid in the lungs and to look at the size of the heart. An ultrasound will be taken to assess cardiac chamber size and function. The dog may also be referred to a canine cardiologist for tests.  Some of the symptoms to look out for are an unexpected cough or it sounds like the dog is trying to clear its throat, trouble breathing, lack of appetite and lethargy or collapsing.  If you suspect anything contact your vet as soon as possible.

Hypothyroidism

A lack of thyroid hormone in the body is called hypothyroidism. Often the symptoms of a lack of thyroid hormone are not very obvious. The problem is usually seen in middle-aged or older dogs and quite often the symptoms come on so slowly that owners simply think their dog is just getting a bit old. Dogs tend to slow down a bit and be less keen to run around. Additionally, their appetite is usually normal but they may put on weight . Other common changes associated with the disease are bald patches on the body, other skin problems, or feeling the cold more than normal.There is no treatment which will make your dog’s thyroid gland start to work normally again. However, it is very simple to replace the missing hormone by giving hormone replacement tablets. These tablets will need to be given at least once (and often several times) every day for the rest of your dog’s life. However, once your dog is receiving these tablets they should get back to their normal self very quickly. Your dog should be happier and more active within a few weeks and if they had other symptoms (like skin disease) this should get better within a few months. Your vet will probably want to keep a check on your pet and may need to take several blood samples to ensure that the tablets are working properly but, after this, the long-term outlook for your dog is very good.

If you are thinking about getting a Great Dane please read our blog about getting a big dog to make sure they are right for you and your circumstances.  Click here to read it.

As always, if you have any questions about Great Danes or big dogs in general, please leave a comment or question on our Facebook page or call us at the clinic and we will be able to help you.

The Rottweiler

Rottweilers originate from Germany and Italy & were originally used for herding and as guard dogs. The Roman army had dogs to protect the soldiers & herds and in Rottweil in Germany they interbred with more local dogs to form a larger dog. They continued to be used for herding & breeding but numbers went into decline during the 1800’s. They started a comeback in the early 20th century & are now a popular breed often used for working.

Rottweilers are a big powerful muscular dog with a broad & deep chest. They have many of the traits associated with GSD’s – trainable, courageous & devoted to their owners. They are loyal and protective of their owners and willing to fight fiercely if they are threatened. Despite their size & powerful frame, they can be good around children and other pets. The best way to ensure this is to start early socialisation and training as a puppy.

Most of a dogs behavioural traits are formed in their first few weeks and it is important at this early stage to introduce the Rottie to all the sights and sounds of your home. Children need to be taught to respect the puppy & vice versa. When buying a puppy, check to see if the breeder has started their socialisation. Are they a well known, recognised breeder of Rotties that has invested time with the pups. Rottie’s can sense how a person is feeling, if they are afraid, irritated, angry, calm.

As with the GSD, they have been used extensively by the police and military because of their obedience & trainability. They need a lot of exercise and will not want to be kept cooped up in doors for long periods alone. They will make an ideal companion for a run through the forest or a leisurely bike ride. They are also slow to mature and up to two years is not unusual.

They live about 10 to 12 years and below we consider some of the commoner problems we see in Rottweilers. Obviously we can see many other problems with them but these are some of the ones they are susceptible to

Skin problems:

Allergic skin disease including food allergies and atopy (environmental allergies)
Canine acne

Gastrointestinal disease

Parvovirus infected- a fatal disease we routinely vaccinate against
Inflammatory bowel disease causing diarrhoea

Musculoskeletal conditions

Hip and Elbow dysplasia
Cranial Cruciate Ligament rupture
Osteosarcoma- bone cancer
Cancers of the toes

Neurological Problems

Meningitis
Various polyneuropathy- diseases affecting multiple nerves in the body that affect the ability to walk and move

Eye Problems

Entropion- curling in of eyelid
Distichiasis- extra eyelashes
Inherited eye problems including cataracts, retinal atrophy and retinal dysplasia

Rottweilers can make a wonderful family pet, but whilst they look cute & cuddly as a puppy, it must be remembered that they will reach 100lb in weight and be more powerful than any family member. Training is essential, needs to be started at an early age and continue through its lifetime.

Breed related diseases in Dogs – Boxer

Did you know that dogs are affected by the greatest number of naturally occuring genetic disorders of any non-human species. Many of these conditions seem to appear in specific breeds.  This is the second of our series of breed related diseases in dogs, and this time we feature Boxers

Below we discuss the commoner diseases that Boxers are prone to.  Some of these are known to be genetic. Please note: These are not the only diseases Boxers can get.

Aortic Stenosis

This is where there is a partial obstruction of the flow of blood as it leaves the left side of the heart (the left ventricle) through the main blood vessel (the aorta) and carries blood to the rest of the body.

Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Boxer Cardiomyopathy

This is an inherited disease where the heart muscle becomes inflamed and doesn’t work as well as it should.  Causes include a genetic predisposition and viral infections.  The condition is most commonly found in Doberman Pinschers and Boxers and can result in heart failure and sudden death.  Signs to look out for include exercise intolerance and fainting.

Atrial Septal Defect

This is where the dog’s heart has an opening in the wall (septum) between the right area and left area of the upper part of the heart.  A Consequence of this is that some blood from the left atrium flows through the hole in the septum into the right atrium and increases the total amount of the blood that flows toward the the lungs. The increased blood flow creates a swishing sound, which is known as a heart murmur.

Skin Disease

Canine Acne

Allergic Skin Disease

These include food allergies and environmental allergies (atopy). Itchy feet, faces, armpits, groin and bottom are the commonest signs

Seasonal Flank Alopcia

A non itchy hair loss on the flanks

Endocrine (hormonal) Diseases: 

Hypothyroidism (under active thyroid gland)

Cushings Disease

Eye Problems:

Corneal Dystrophy

The outermost layer of the eye is known as the cornea and is a clear, dome shaped surface that covers the front of the eye.  A corneal dystrophy is a condition where parts of the cornea lost their normal clarity due to a build up of cloudy material.  The disease is inherited, affects both eyes equally and is not caused by outside factors, such as diet or injury

Cherry Eye

This where the gland of the third eyelid, prolapes as a pink fleshy mass  protruding over the edge of the third eyelid. It cn become inflamed and ulcerated.

Corneal Ulceration

Boxers are very prone to corneal ulcers and they can be very challenging to treat.

Other Ailments for Boxers Include:

Tumours – Boxers are prone to many types of tumours including mast cell tumours, haemangiosarcomas, melonoma, lymphosarcoma etc.

Cryptorchidism – Retained testicles

Hip Dysplasia

GDV or Bloat

Histiocytic Ulcerative Colitis – This is an inflammatory bowel disease and is found most commonly in boxers.  It causes inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the lining of the large intestine.

If you have any questions about the about the above topics please feel free to contact the clinic

Breed related diseases in Dogs – Labrador

Breed related diseases in Dogs.

Welcome to our new series of blogs on breed related disease in pedigree dogs. Unfortunately, certain pedigree dogs are prone to certain diseases. We thought these guides would be helpful for people who own the breeds so that they can be more aware of some of the diseases their pet may suffer from and will be able to pick up the symptoms of disease more rapidly. We also thought they would be useful for people thinking of buying a specific breed so that they can be aware of some of the problems that may exist.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of all the diseases that each breed can get- just the more common ones that we see regularly.

So, to start with, let’s look at the Labrador Retriever:

  • Allergic skin disease including Atopy and Food allergies
  • Hip dysplasia (animals used for breeding should be screened for)
  • Elbow dysplasia (animals used for breeding should be screened for)
  • OCD of hock and shoulder
  • Cruciate ligament rupture
  • Lipomas
  • Entropion
  • Cataracts
  • Congenital eye defects such as Generalise progressive retinal atrophy (animals used for breeding should be screened)
  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Ectopic ureters

If you have any questions about any of the above, please feel free to contact the staff to discuss them.

Hip Dysplasia Part 2 – Diagnosis and Treatment

This is Part 2 of two blogs on Hip Dysplasia in dogs, in this blog we go through the diagnosis and treatment of hip dysplasia.

DIAGNOSIS

The only definitive way to diagnose hip dysplasia is XRAY. If your dog shows any of the signs mentioned in Part 1, a veterinary examination should be carried out immediately. The vet’s examination may reveal some clues as to the problem but xrays will be needed. Xrays enable an assessment of the severity of the hip dysplasia, whether arthritis is present and helps in the decision of what is the most appropriate cause of treatment. It is interesting to note that the severity of the pain and lameness the dog shows and the severity of the xray changes do not always correlate i.e. some dogs with mild radiographic changes can have a lot of pain and vice versa. There are a number of conditions that can mimic hip dysplasia. Once xrays have confirmed the diagnosis a treatment plan is devised.

TREATMENT FOR HIP DYSPLASIA

There are two types of treatment medical or surgical. Which of these options is taken depends on age of patient, level of pain and disability, physical and Xray findings and financial constraints. Your vet will advise you on the best course of action. 1.Medical Treatment is also known as conservative treatment. When hip dysplasia is diagnosed in young dogs (5-10 months) the aim of treatment is to reduce the stresses on the developing joints in an attempt to minimise the progress of the hip dysplasia. Therefore, weight control and sensible exercise are vital. Lead exercise should be used wherever possible up to 12 months of age. Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for dogs with hip dysplasia, as it is non weight bearing and so does not traumatise the susceptible joint. It also maximises muscle development which helps joint stability. As the affected dog approaches maturity at 12 months of age the dysplastic joint capsule becomes thicker and stronger. This helps to stabilise the joint and helps reduce the pain and lameness the young dog has suffered from. During this period and beyond the joint can be painful and sensible use of painkillers is often needed. The commonest drugs used are Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories (NSAIDS) and chondroprotective drugs (drugs that may help to reduce the progression of arthritis.) Young dogs with hip dysplasia often have sudden flare ups of pain in the joints. When older dogs are diagnosed with hip dysplasia treatment is directed at the arthritis 2. Surgical Treatment. There are a number of complex surgical procedures that can be undertaken to treat hip dysplasia. They vary in difficulty and most of them need to be carried out by specialist orthopaedic surgeons.:

 a)    Triple Pelvic Ostetotomy (TPO) is carried out on young dogs before any osteoarthritis has developed. The aim of the operation is to alter the shape of the hip joint to reduce the instability of the joint and increase the fit of the head of the femur (ball ) in the acetabulum (socket). It is a complex procedure and must be done by a very competent surgeon.

b)    Juvenile pubic symphysiodesis. There have been no clinical studies proving this procedure works and is basically an experimental operation. It may prove to be an alternative to TPO but long term studies are needed.

c)    Femoral Head and Neck Excision (Excision Arthroplasty) can be used when conservative treatment fails and is a relatively simple and economic procedure to carry out. In larger dogs it must be used only as a salvage procedure when the hip joints are very painful and there are no other options available. The operation involves cutting off the head and neck of the femur. As a result there is no bony contact between the femur and the pelvis thereby reducing pain. A fibrous false joint forms in the place of the hip joint. Unfortunately, post operative function of the leg can be unpredictable and disappointing in large dogs. This procedure should only be done in mature dogs.

d)    Total Hip Replacement is the gold standard of surgical treatment. The acetabulum and head of femur are replaced by prosthetic (false) implants. Mainly used in older dogs with untreatable arthritis. It is a very technically demanding procedure and there are many potential complications. Selection  criteria is tough. However, in the hands of specialist surgeons the results can be excellent.

Summary

Hip dysplasia is a common and distressing condition. One day via gene mapping the condition may be eliminated, but until then careful selection of breeding stock is vital. Treatment options are complicated and decision making for the owner of an affected animal can be difficult and stressful.  If you have any concerns over your pet’s well-being, please consult your vet.

Hip Dysplasia Part 1 – What it is and what causes it.

Hip dysplasia is a common condition in dogs. It predominantly affects larger breeds of dog and is particularly common in German Shepherds, Labrador retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Rottweilers, Great Danes and St Bernards. However, any breed of dog and even cats can be affected. To fully understand it we must first consider the normal hip joint.

ANATOMY OF THE NORMAL HIP JOINT

The hip joint is formed between the acetabulum of the pelvis and the head of the femur (thigh bone). The head of the femur is a ball shape that fits snugly into the socket on the acetabulum. All the bony surfaces of the hip joint are covered in smooth articular cartilage to allow pain free movement of the joint. The joint is also lubricated via a special viscous fluid called synovial fluid, which is produced from the synovial membrane. The femur is kept in position by the round ligament which runs from the head of the femur to attach to the acetabulum. The joint is surrounded by a tough fibrous layer called the joint capsule; there are two hip joints the right and left.

WHAT IS HIP DYSPLASIA

Hip dysplasia is an abnormal development of the hip joint. Usually both hips are affected. The hip joint is unstable so that the head of the femur (the ball) does not fit snugly in the acetabulum (the socket). This is known as subluxation. Hip dysplasia causes pain and lameness because the articular cartilage gets worn away, the joint capsule becomes stretched, the joints become inflamed and eventually arthritis develops.

WHAT CAUSES HIP DYSPLASIA

Hip dysplasia is called a multifactorial disease. This means that there are more than one potential cause. Both hereditary (genetic) and environmental factors play a part in the development of the disease. Environmental Factors:

  1. Excessive food consumption resulting in rapid weight gain and growth increases the risk of developing hip dysplasia. Overfeeding itself does not cause hip dysplasia but will increase the risk of it developing in genetically susceptible individuals. Furthermore, studies have shown that restricted feeding regimes have reduced the amount of hip dysplasia seen in the at risk breeds. Why excess food causes a problem is unclear. It may be simply that excess food produces excess weight gain and this produces an excessive force on a potentially susceptible hip. However, there may be more complex and subtle reasons than this relating to the effect of food intake on various chemicals and hormones in the body.
  2. Repeated mild trauma such as excess exercise while growing such as running up and down stairs and jumping on and off furniture may also be important. It is thought that in a susceptible hip, mild trauma can cause inflammation of the synovial membrane (synovitis) which results in excessive production of synovial fluid. This may then reduce the stability of the joint worsening the hip dysplasia.

Genetic factors There is a strong hereditary basis to hip dysplasia in dogs . The exact number and location of the genes is not known at present. As technology advances and  gene mapping is performed the exact genes responsible for hip dysplasia will become apparent. Dogs produced from dogs with hip dysplasia tend to be dysplastic and vice versa. However, some dogs with perfect hips can carry the genes for hip dysplasia and if they are mated with another dog with the genes the puppies have a high risk of developing hip dysplasia. Due to this genetic factor most countries have some form of hip xray screening programme to detect dogs with hip dysplasia. Dogs or bitches that prove to have radiographic (Xray) signs of hip dysplasia should not be bred from. When selecting a puppy it is vital to know if the dam (mum) and father (sire) have been tested. Your vet can advise you more as to what the test results mean as they vary from country to country. No screening system is perfect and possibly due to this many breeders do not get their breeding dogs tested. Breeders may also be concerned that the results of such tests could hurt their business and reputation. Finally, some dogs with hip dysplasia can appear to the untrained eye as normal either because the lameness is very subtle, both hips are equally affected and so no overt lameness is present or because the problem is intermittent. Even mildly affected dogs should ideally not be used for breeding.

CLINICAL SIGNS

(What are the signs that may tell you your dog has hip dysplasia?) The age at which hip dysplasia becomes apparent  is usually  5-10 months of age due to hip instability and pain, or 3-12 years due to secondary osteoarthritis. Males & females are equally affected. In the younger dogs signs may include difficulty getting up after rest; not wanting to exercise; lameness (both intermittent and continuous) in one or both hindlegs; a change in jumping behaviour; a “bunny hopping” walk or run; clicking while walking. Remember not all signs will be present in all dogs. In the older dogs signs are due to osteoarthritis including difficulty getting up, reduced ability to exercise; stiffness; a waddling walk; muscle wastage; lameness. Next week we’ll look at the Diagnosis and Treatment of Hip Dysplasia.