You have probably heard of Canine Hip Dysplasia, and perhaps your dog even suffers from the debilitating disease. Hip Dysplasia can simply be explained as an abnormally developed hip, where the instability causes increased wear and tear of the joints and articular tissue. This malfunction inevitably leads to degenerative joint disease, namely Osteoarthritis. No breed of dog is exempt from this orthopedic disease, although it is more prevalent among the larger breeds of dogs. Small breed dogs and cats can be affected though, and even selective breeding has not minimized the condition as many breeders believed it would. We all want our pets to be happy and healthy and to live out their golden years in great pride. Science may be getting close to a cause of Hip Dyspasia, and in turn hopefully a preventative measure that can be taken.
Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study that involved a database of over 16,000 dogs, in search of a key risk factor that would put dogs at risk of developing a degenerative hip joint disorder. They found conclusively that laxity in the hip joint correlates directly with the onset of arthritis later in the dog’s life. Hip joint laxity is an excessive amount of space between the hip socket and the ball of the femur. This is new evidence that was missing and it is considered ground breaking evidence. Hip joint laxity can be seen at a much younger age, less than six months. Hip Dysplasia is not present at birth; it develops over time, so you may not notice the condition untiol your pup is experiencing the signs of joint degeneration (limping, pain, abnormal gait). The presence of laxity in the hip will be a great indicator of what might be in store for your pet. The evidence of laxity also allows you to take early precautionary steps toward off future problems and disabilities. Hip laxity is not a guarantee of arthritis, but it is a very strong risk factor. Although this study was not conducted on humans, it is believed that hip laxity will prove to be a risk factor for our dogs pet parents as well.