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How long can a dog live with hip dysplasia?

October 30, 2020 5 min read

Doodle with a vet looking at x-rays

Hip dysplasia is an uncomfortable condition that can make life more challenging for your dog. Since hip dysplasia can cause pain for our canine friends, many dog owners wonder how long their pup can live comfortably with this disease in their life. 

In this article we’ll dive into the basics of hip dysplasia in dogs and help you understand the answer to the common question, how long can a dog live with hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia: What is it and how does it happen?

So what is canine hip dysplasia? Hip dysplasia is a painful condition that is classified by the improper alignment of the hip joint. A dog’s hip joint is a ball and socket joint that should result in smooth movement each time a dog moves. In dogs with canine hip dysplasia, the incorrect alignment of the hip joint causes the joint to rub and grind with each step. Not only is this extremely uncomfortable for the dog, but it can also cause severe joint damage over time.

Hip dysplasia in dogs is most often a hereditary condition that’s passed down from dog to dog. Since it’s most often acquired through genetics, it’s extremely important to be aware of where your dog comes from. The threat of hip dysplasia in dogs is one of the main reasons a responsible breeder will offer medical records that clear each parent of this painful hip condition. 

Though genetics play a large role in whether or not a dog develops hip dysplasia, there are a few factors that can exacerbate the disease in a dog that is at risk. Some of these factors include:

  • Improper diet and nutrition
  • Canine obesity
  • Excessive exercise
  • Fast growth periods

Signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia

Our canine companions can’t tell us when they are in pain, so it’s up to us to be aware of the possible symptoms of hip dysplasia. Some of the most common signs of a dog struggling with hip dysplasia include:

  • Stiffness or decrease in flexibility
  • Difficulty getting up and down
  • Disinterest in activity they once enjoyed
  • Decrease in daily activity
  • Crying out or whining during physical activity
  • Change in their normal gait
  • Decrease in the thigh muscle mass
  • Weakness in their hind legs
  • Sensitivity in their back end

Hip dysplasia treatment

When it comes to treating and managing hip dysplasia in dogs, it’s often a well-rounded approach. There isn’t one set way to make a dog comfortable, which means that most dogs thrive on a combination of different treatment options. In order to find the best options for your pup, let’s break it down into medical treatment options and natural and home treatment options.

Medical treatment and management of hip dysplasia

Prescribed medications

If your dog is struggling through their discomfort and inflammation due to hip dysplasia, there are prescribed medications that your veterinarian can offer. There are a handful of non-steroidal anti inflammatory (NSAIDS) medications that can help to relieve the symptoms of hip dysplasia with mild side effects. Your dog will just need to be cleared of any kidney or liver abnormalities before beginning these medications. They will also need to have their blood work checked regularly from then on. 

Surgery

There are two common surgery options for dogs that are unable to find relief from medications and other natural hip dysplasia treatments. Dogs can have an entire hip replacement, or they can have a surgery called an FHO that removes the entire femoral head. These procedures help to offer strength in a previously weakened hip joint, as well as help the joint glide smoothly. 

Natural management of hip dysplasia 

Joint supplements

Joint supplements are not only a necessity for dogs with hip dysplasia, but are now recommended for large breed dogs in general. Joint supplements contain ingredients that help to relieve inflammation in painful joints, strengthen damaged cartilage, and prevent cartilage damage in the future. Some of the many ingredients found in most joint supplements include glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, and more. 

Anti-inflammatory diet

Since our dog’s diet plays such a huge role in their overall health, it only makes sense that we attempt to cater our dog’s diet to fit their needs. There is an abundance of evidence on the benefits of raw diets in dogs with hip dysplasia, as many of the ingredients are inflammation friendly. A raw diet can also offer additional immune support.

Weight management

Excess weight in dogs is not only a threat to their overall health, but is extremely dangerous for dogs that suffer with hip dysplasia. A dog with hip dysplasia already struggles with stress and inflammation of their hip joints. Extra weight exacerbates these issues. The more in shape that your canine companion is, the easier it will be to manage their hip dysplasia. 

Omega fatty acids

Omega fatty acids are an incredible dietary supplement for dogs with hip dysplasia. Omega fatty acids are a chain of nutritional fats that help to promote immune health, target inflammation within the body, and help dogs with chronic allergies. 

Physical therapy

When we mention physical therapy for the management of hip dysplasia in dogs, we are referring to any type of therapeutic movement or exercise. While you can certainly enrol your dog in professional rehab and physical therapy, there are also options for care within your own home. Some of the best physical therapy options include water therapy, range of motion exercises, short walks, and other mild forms of exercise and stretching. 

Prognosis: How long can a dog live with hip dysplasia?

The diagnosis of hip dysplasia is not lethal in itself. There are many ways to offer your dog more comfort as they progress in their disease. Though hip dysplasia will not directly shorten your dog’s life, it can certainly make their life more challenging. 

The best way to offer your dog longevity in spite of their hip dysplasia is by finding a combination of treatment that works well for them. As you can see, there are multiple options that help to relieve discomfort and prevent further joint damage going forward. By using a combination of inflammation and stress control, your dog can find comfort in their condition. 

If you are offering your dog well rounded hip dysplasia care, they have everything they need to live a long and full life at your side!

About the author


    Amber LaRock
    linkdin-icon

    I am a Licensed Vet Tech that took my career online to spread knowledge on animal health and welfare. I grew up with a deep passion for helping animals and knew that it was my life’s purpose. With the experience I gained from my time working in emergency medicine, I have been able to spread accurate information online in all realms of pet health. If I am not at my laptop, or back home visiting family, you can find me somewhere in the world, cuddling every furry friend that I can find!



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