Hip Dysplasia

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but Bella has hip dysplasia.

For those not familiar with hip dysplasia, it is a disorder of the hips that causes the ball of the femur bone to not fit into the socket of the pelvic bone. It can cause lameness and arthritis. Big dogs, especially German Shepherds, are prone to it. It is caused by part genetics, part diet, part physical activity.

Bella started showing signs of hip dysplasia in Fall '09. Her sire, who we had until he died, also had hip displasia. Towards the end, his was pretty bad. Bella's isn't as bad as his was. She does have the characteristic "bunny hop" when she runs, moving both back legs together instead of separately. This winter, she also started whining when going up and down stairs.

She has been on glucosamine chondroitin since last spring, but I hadn't really seen any improvements. Part of the reason I hadn't seen improvements was because she wasn't getting it consistently. I was away at school during the week and only home on the weekends. During the week, my mom, dad, or an older brother would feed her and give her her medicine. In November, it started getting cold here and Dad started bringing her in at night and noticed how difficult the stairs were for her. When he realised this, he started being more consistent giving the medicine to her. We also moved her crate from my room in the basement to the main floor so that she wouldn't have to use stairs.

Since then, I've noticed a few improvements. She no longer whines when using the stairs, and will now go up them at nearly a run. Not as fast as she used to, but it's a big improvement over what she was doing. Yesterday while I had her outside, I got her running a bit and realised that her "bunny hop" wasn't as pronounced as usual.  Her back feet aren't moving completely separately, but she's not holding them together like she was.

In addition to her being on the glucosamine chondroitin, Bella has also lost some weight over the past month (a good thing--she had gotten a little fat). I think that has helped quite a bit. I plan on making her get more exercise which should also help.

It has been really upsetting seeing her in so much pain, and seeing her being more active really lifts my spirits.


Post a Comment