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Dog Hip Problems, Canine Hip Dysplasia
Helping dogs with hip problems.

Hip Dysplasia is a common condition found in many dogs (canine hip dysplasia, or CHD). This article discusses what CHD is and what you can do to help your dog.

Hip dysplasia simply means an "abnormal formation" of the hip joint. It is important to distinguish between CHD and Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD). Hip Dysplasia is the abnormal development of the hips, which results in an increased amount of looseness in the hip joint. Degenerative Joint Disease (arthritis) is the changes within the joint, which occur because of this increased looseness. Pain can result from either of these problems. Young dogs with hip dysplasia can be in pain without having degenerative joint disease, and dogs with chronic DJD do not always have hip dysplasia.
Think of the condition first as looseness in a joint that should be snug - most of the problems of hip dysplasia are a result of this "looseness".   See the image below for an example of a nice, normal, snug hip joint.
Normal Dog Hip Joint

 The normal anatomy of the hip joint is a classic Ball and Socket joint.  The head of the femur (the "Ball" ) is supposed to match the acetabulum (hip socket).  A good hip joint has a neat, snug fit between the ball and socket - that is, the head of the femur should not be slipping and slopping around somewhere in the neighborhood of the hip socket!

There are many variations of dysplasia - ranging from only very slight changes from normal to complete dislocation.  Consequently, no two dogs will be affected by CHD exactly alike.
Some dogs will show clear signs of CHD at a young age.  For these dogs a surgical treatment may be a viable, though expensive option.  Pain relief associated with conservative treatment is derived from strengthening the joint capsule and preventing further capsular sprain. Initially, painful dogs should be treated for acute sprain. Complete rest is mandatory for two weeks. Physical therapy during this time can be performed to maintain good range of motion. However, resuming normal activity early can predispose to further injury, pain, and prolonged recovery. Most young dogs treated conservatively return to acceptable clinical function with maturity.

Unfortunately, CHD often does not reveal itself until severe, often crippling arthritis has developed.  In those cases, treatment options are limited and complex.  CHD is a hereditary disease, and most commonly found in larger breeds, such as German shepherds, mastiffs, Saint Bernards, rotweillers, Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers. Smaller breeds, such as the cocker and springer spaniel, and mixed breeds may suffer from this disease as well.  The symptoms are all too common: lameness, difficulties rising, soreness especially after heavy exercise, reluctance to jump due to painful hind limbs, and swaggering gait.

Treatment Options
Traditional medical therapies for chronic degenerative joint disease can be subdivided into three areas - weight control, proper exercise, and anti-inflammatory substances. 

Weight Control: Regardless of whether or not a dog has hip dysplasia, they will be at higher risk for joint disease if they are overweight. The further they are from their ideal weight, the more likely they will be to have orthopedic problems such as arthritis, intervertebral disk disease and cruciate ligament disease. Dogs that have hip dysplasia and are overweight are at extremely high risk for chronic arthritis in the hips. Proper weight control should be obtained through proper exercise and dietary management. If your dog is too heavy, please consider proper weight control to minimize these risks.

Proper Exercise: If your dog has hip dysplasia you should limit him or her to moderate exercise such as swimming and long walks. High-intensity activity should be of short duration and should only be allowed after an adequate warm-up period.

Anti-inflammatory substances: There are many nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) available for use in dogs. However, all of these medications must be used with caution, as the pharmacokinetics are largely unknown and over dosage may result in severe gastrointestinal ulceration. NSAIDs should never be given without the specific recommendation of a veterinarian. In general, NSAIDs should be reserved for acute flare-ups of pain, but should not be used for long term management due to the potential for gastrointestinal side effects and continued joint breakdown.

Alternative Treatments: Dietary Supplements.  An excellent alternative to medical treatment is to give your dog a high quality nutritional (“dietary”) supplement that contains ingredients known to reduce pain and inflammation and increase joint mobility. Ingredients that have a solid foundation of clinical studies include glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, Ester C, Cetyl Myristoleate (CMO) and Perna mussels. Many herbal preparations commonly found in joint supplements, including bromelia, avocado, and brewer’s yeast, are less well studied, or recent research has disputed their effectiveness. A word of caution: There are numerous pet supplements on the market, and their prices vary widely.  The dietary supplement industry is poorly regulated and many supplements do not contain nearly the amount of the active ingredient that is claimed on the label.  One common reason is that supplements often originate from China and the active ingredient concentration in these inexpensive substitutes may be low or even absent.

One of the best joint supplements available on the market to-day is Arthrix Plus for Dogs.  This supplement has been available since 1999 and is produced by KALA Health, Inc.  It contains a combination of ingredients that provide the building blocks for cartilage and joint fluid, including MSM, glucosamine and chondroitin, Ester C, CM and trace minerals, all in sufficiently high concentrations to be most effective.  The benefits of Arthrix Plus include:
•Help to lubricate joints;
•Improve cellular nutrient absorption;
•Reduce inflammation of joints;
•Restore the growth of cartilage;
•Inhibit the enzymatic break down of cartilage.

ARTHRIX plus for dogs.ARTHRIX Plus for Dogs contains only natural ingredients, so offering it in conjunction with arthritis medication prescribed by your veterinarian will not be a problem. ARTHRIX Plus, like all supplements, is not a substitute for veterinary treatment, but a supportive means to assist with canine age-related discomforts.

Arthrix Plus contains only US made, human grade ingredients, so you know that you get what you pay for. Arthrix Plus is a chewable tablet that dogs love to eat.  This is important as it makes administering the proper dosage very easy. Extended use of this product is very safe and offers significant support and pain relief in most dogs. In addition, it will help to maintain joint health in young dogs, which benefits your pet on the long run.

Contact: Kala Health Inc.
PO Box 936
Falmouth, Massachussets 02541
Phone: 800-998-8813 or 508-495-4034
Email: sales@kalahealth.com
Website: www.kalahealth.com

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