Hardrada Rottweiler's: Information on Hip Dysplasia
 Understanding the condition and its treatment...

Hip Dysplasia is a relatively common disorder.The highest incidence occurs in larger, rapidly growing dogs. Many people have misconceptions about dysplasia, considering it to be a form of arthritis affecting the hip joints. It is true that you can see severe arthritis in dogs with this condition but this is the secondary result of dysplasia, not the primary problem. Once you understand the disease. you can easily understand its treatment.

To better understand the condition, its important to look first at the hip joint of the dog,the pictures below show botha normal and an abnormal hip.
It forms the attachment of the hind leg to the body with a "ball and socket" joint.

Hip Dysplasia is a disease that affects development of the hip joint in a young dog. It may or may not be bilateral (affecting both the right and left hip joints) It is brought about by a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that should support the joint. Even dysplastic dogs are born with normal hips but the soft tissues that surround the joint start to develop abnormally as the puppy grows. This is because of genetic factors in the individual dog. The most important result of the change is that the two bones are not held in place but actually move apart. The joint capsule and the ligament between the two bones also stretch, adding further instability to the joint. As this happens, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. The slight separation of the two bones of the joint is called subluxation; this—and this alone— causes all of the resulting problems we associate with this disease.

It is important to remember that if two bones within any joint loose their normal position in relationship to each other, their articular surfaces no longer correctly contact each other. The surrounding muscles of the dog's joint work to force the bones back together but they are never totally successful. Because of the dog's weight, the femoral head often rides up onto or over the rim of the socket. With every movement of the leg, there are now two abnormal areas of bone grinding against each other instead of contacting on a smooth articular surface. A disaster is about to occur. Wherever these bones come in contact, new abnormally-shaped bone will grow. It is a vicious cycle; new bone growth causes further irritation which causes more abnormal bone growth. This is arthritis and it is usually a very painful condition. The femoral head that once looked like a smooth billiard ball now looks more like a head of cauliflower, with more abnormal growth, with it comes further pain and distortion of the bone.

The puppy with Hip Dysplasia usually starts to show signs between five and 13 months of age. These range from mild discomfort to extreme pain when using the hind limbs. This will occasionally be seen following prolonged activity or when the dog gets up or lies down. Later in life the signs become more consistent, noted daily regardless of activity levels.

Adult dogs that are in severe pain will usually decrease their activity. They are unwilling to run or climb stairs and, with decreased use, the muscles of their rear legs atrophy and become weakened. A few will learn to alter their gate and posture, often showing little or no signs of discomfort even though the bone changes are severe.Signs of Hip Dysplasia in young dogs are generally thought to be from small irritations or even minor fractures occurring in the bone spurs that form around the socket. Fractures may be caused by the pup's increasing weight or exercise. Sudden periods of discomfort usually follow prolonged activity. In the adult, the discomfort is simply from arthritis of the deformed joints and chronic irritation.

Only with x-rays can we truly diagnose dysplasia and hope to eliminate it. Regardless of what you have been told, you can never be positive that a dog showing rear leg lameness has dysplasia unless it is x-rayed. And you can never be sure that a dog showing no signs is disease-free without an x-ray!

A reputable breeder will have all breeding stock hip x-rayed, the score's range from 0-0, up to 106, the mean average for the breed in New Zealand is 9.5in total  & 14 in the UK. A good guide is to ensure that both parents don't total more then a score of 20, before deciding to breed two animals, the lower the score the better, but the overall quality also needs to be assessed of the dogs you are wanting to use. I personally would not use a dog with a bad temperment, even if it had 0-0 hip score, but would be much happier using a dog or bitch with a higher score of 10 to 15 if it had a good temperament.

Finally remember Hip Dysplasia is genetically spread from one generation of dog to the next. A vet can x-ray your dog and score it from 12 months of age. The x-rays are sent to the NZVA for grading and certification. By breeding only those dogs certified as free of dysplasia, we continue our efforts to eliminate the disease. If you are not buying your Rottweiler from x-rayed breeding stock, then you may contribute to the problem rather than the solution.

For information on Hip scores in New Zealand,Australia,USA,Germany,Canada,UK and many more countries open up PDF files at the bottom of our health pages. 



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