Hip Dysplasia in Golden Retrievers: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Hip Dysplasia in Golden Retrievers: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Golden retrievers are a popular breed of dog, and many people are unaware of the health problems that they can suffer from. One such problem is hip dysplasia. This blog post will discuss golden retriever hip problems, the signs, and the treatment of hip dysplasia in golden retrievers.

What is canine hip dysplasia?

Dysplasia is the abnormal development of organs or cells or an abnormal structure resulting from such growth. Unfortunately, this is a common disorder among golden retrievers, and it affects the hip and elbows.

A University of Columbia study on the disease found that 30% of goldens suffer from this condition. Another one by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals placed the figure at 21%. Even this figure places the risk of being afflicted with the disease uncomfortably high. 

One long-term solution for this is to wean out the culprit genes by breeding. With the lifespan of a golden retriever in the range of 10-13 years, this process will take a long time to take effect.

The bone sockets are not well developed in hip dysplasia, and the femur head is not rounded properly. Elbow dysplasia is essentially the same, affecting the elbows instead of the hip. 

When the socket and the ball of the bone are not properly formed, it will result in friction and wear and tear of the joint. Over time, this impairment affects the activities of the dog. This disease is both enervating and extremely painful. It starts with weakened hind parts and leads to an inability to walk.

What are the symptoms of canine hip dysplasia?

This disease is easy to spot and diagnose. An x-ray is enough to confirm the ailment and assess the degree of affliction. It can be done as early as six months of age, but most owners do it around two years. 

The most common golden retriever hip problems signs are lameness, stiffness, and pain in the hindquarters. These dogs will often have difficulty rising from a sitting or lying position and may limp or refuse to run or play. In severe cases, the dog may become unable to walk at all.

Other symptoms include reluctance to jump, bunny hopping, and a swaying back-and-forth walk. If hip dysplasia is left untreated, the dog may eventually develop arthritis in the joint.

What Causes Golden Retriever Hip Dysplasia?

There are a number of reasons why golden retriever hip dysplasia occurs. Some of these include:

  • Genetics: Hip dysplasia can be hereditary, and if one or both parents have the disease, their offspring are more likely to develop it as well.
  • Obesity: Overweight Golden retrievers are at a higher risk for hip dysplasia, as the extra weight puts more stress on the joints.
  • Poor Diet: A poor diet can also lead to hip dysplasia, as it can cause the dog to be overweight and lack important nutrients necessary for healthy joint development.
  • Lack of Exercise: Dogs who don’t get enough exercise are also more likely to develop hip dysplasia, as the lack of activity puts extra stress on the joints.
  • Age: Golden retrievers are at an increased risk for hip dysplasia as they get older.

Treating Hip Dysplasia in Golden Retrievers

The sad part of this disease is that there is no complete cure. Expensive experimental solutions like total hip replacements, surgery, medications, and physical therapy can be attempted, but there is no guarantee of its efficacy. However, for treating hip dysplasia in dogs, an owner can do many things to lead a happy and healthy life.

The first step towards this can be taken while buying the pup. Go in for a certified pup with no history of the disease in its parents. As dysplasia is a genetic disease, this eliminates the chances of the disease to a large extent. 

This may not work when buying from a private breeder or while adopting from a shelter. Even in this scenario, there are actions an owner can take to minimize the problem. Get the dog examined as early as possible to rule out the condition. If it exists, maintain the weight of the dog to a minimum to keep it manageable.  

This doesn’t mean that the dogs have to be unfed, as this is both unhealthy and cruel. As most dogs are overfed, this can be avoided to keep the weight low. If the activity level is low, it is perfectly fine to reduce the food by 10-20%.

Even after detecting the disease, it is doesn’t mean that the dogs have to be devoid of any activity. A reasonable amount of activity is good to keep the muscles toned and maintain the joints’ movement. Moreover, healthy muscles are useful in maintaining proper bone alignment and thereby lubricating joints. 

With reduced activity and a proper diet, golden retrievers can still enjoy their lives. Regular checkups will help the vet to rule out any other problems that may crop up due to dysplasia.

How to Prevent Your Golden from Developing Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia in golden retrievers is a hip condition that can be prevented by following some simple tips:

  1. Make sure your dog maintains a healthy weight. Obesity can put stress on the hips and increase the likelihood of developing hip dysplasia.
  2. Ensure your dog gets plenty of exercises. Regular exercise helps to keep the muscles around the hip joint strong and can help prevent hip dysplasia from developing.
  3. When selecting a puppy, be sure to ask the breeder about the parents’ hip scores. Hip dysplasia is hereditary, so choosing a pup from parents who have good hip scores is important.
  4. Ensure your dog gets plenty of good quality food and avoid feeding them excessive amounts of treats.
  5. Keep an eye on your pup’s movement and if you notice any hip problems, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for hip dysplasia.

Final Thoughts

Hip dysplasia is a common condition in Golden Retrievers. If you have a Golden Retriever, it’s important to be aware of this condition’s symptoms and treatment options. Early diagnosis and treatment can help your dog live a long, healthy life. Prevention is key, so be sure to follow the tips listed above to reduce your dog’s risk of developing hip dysplasia.

Have you ever dealt with hip dysplasia in your Goldie? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below. If you think your dog has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia or any other disease, call your vet ASAP!

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