Hip Dysplasia in Springer Spaniels

Hip Dysplasia is an abnormal development of the hip joint. It can develop in various degrees of severity, from loose hips to total dislocation.

It is an inherited disease but it can be exacerbated by other factors, such as poor nutrition, overexercise, especially in a younger dog, and rapid growth.

Causes

Most agree that Hip Dysplasia is a genetic problem passed down from the parents. If one of the dog's parents has the condition, the chances that their offspring will develop it are higher. This is why I recommend that you need to ask your breeder, when choosing your Springer Spaniel puppy if there is any history in the parents of this condition.

Hip scores for breeding dogs can be carried out. This is when a dog, either male or female, is assessed under anaesthetic and a number of x-rays are taken to assess the health of the dogs. Also the check can give the likelihood that hip dysplasia, will be passed on to their offspring.

If you are buying a pup from a breeder make sure you have this conversation with them to ensure that the likelihood of this condition being passed on to your pup is reduced. However it is worth remebering that genetic selection is about averages. Even if both of the parents are clear, and have good hip scores, a puppy could still be born with the condition.

Symptoms

In the most severe cases, puppies as young as 5 months have shown signs of hip dysplasia, however in most cases, signs begin to appear in their middle or later years.

The symptoms come in the form of pain and discomfort after vigorous exercise. Soon daily activities become laborious for the dog. The symptoms shown by the dog is often similar to that of osteoarthritis (a degenerative arthritic condition affecting the joints between bones) and can result in a strange gait when they are walking. Dogs with hip dysplasia often resist stretching their legs out and, in some instances, when they run it looks like they are hopping.

You should take your dog to the vet if you have any concerns, there are a number of methods to treat your dog's condition; from using medication to surgery, but this advice must come from a vet

Surgery

Hip Dysplasia can be treated surgically, however there are several different types of operation that could be carried out. These all depend on factors such as the severity of the condition and the age of the Springer. I am not a medical expert and so I would recommend that you consult your vet for more information on the surgical options available to your Spaniel.

Sleeping quarters

There has been evidence that symptoms of hip dysplasia can be alleviated by ensuring your Springer sleeps in a warm dry environment. I know myself with damaged knees that when I am in the cold and damp they hurt, and this is the same for your dog if they have the condition. So if your Springer does suffer from dysplasia then ensure he has a dog bed that is warm and cosy and placed in a warm spot to ease his suffering.

Obesity

If you have a dog that is showing signs of Hip dysplasia you need to ensure your dogs weight is controlled. A Springer with this condition carry excess weight will struggle with even the most basic of daily tasks. Ensure that his diet is not too calorific, and that they are getting enough exercise.

Swimming Springer Spaniel

Exercising a dog with Hip dysplasia can be tricky, as it can make the condition worse and aggravate it. However swimming is a great way of keeping a dog with this condition in good shape. There are many doggy physiotherapy establishment that offers specialist doggy swimming pools so this can be a great alternative.

Supplements

Supplements can be given to your Springer to help alleviate your dog's condition. Talk to your vet to get further information. However please note, supplements should be an accompaniment to other forms of treatment and you should not use supplements alone.

Glucosamine - this is great at helping joints as it gives the cartilage forming cells the building blocks they need to regenerate and improve in function. I myself take this for my own knees, having had my knees rebuilt following an accident when i was run over by a car. Glucosamine does help me on a daily basis so it can also help your Springer's joints out.

In fact I have always given my aging Springers a daily dose of this as they enter their autumn years. I feel that it helps them to continue to enjoy the woods without too much discomfort afterwards

Cod liver oil - As with humans, cod liver oil can help Springer's joints as they get older. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, the oil is helpful for conditions such as Hip Displasia. Again I take this for my own knees and have given it to my older dogs.

Vitamin C - is great for helping the production of collagen and cartilage, so a regular daily dose can help relieve your Springer’s symptoms.

Perna Mussels - or green lipped mussels. The shells of these mussels contain high levels of glucosamine, and other joint-generating products, that are helpful to this condition.

As always, please seek advice from your vet before giving any of these suppliments to your Springer, these are just guidelines. I myself am not a vet.



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