Lisa Miller - Dr. Annette Guswiller joins us with this weeks pet check talking about a skeletal disease that does affect a lot of animals, that is hip dysplasia. Tell us a little bit about what that is.
Dr Annette Guswiller - Canine hip dysplasia is a disorder of the skeletal system that is a malformation of the hip joint, essentially. It's a degeneration, it tends to be a chronic disease.
Lisa Miller - Do we see this in one particular breed of dog?
Dr Annette Guswiller - It's more common in the German Shepherds, the larger breed dogs, the German Shepherds, St. Bernard's, Goldens, Labs, any breeds along that line - the Rottweilers. It does happen in the smaller breed dogs, but we typically don't see the clinical signs in those.
Lisa Miller - What are those signs? How does an owner know "my dog is suffering from this?"
Dr Annette Guswiller - It shows up early in most dogs if they have a lax hip joint. What lax means is it's not sitting in the socket the way it's supposed to. You will see them as early as four months of age. It will, depending on how chronic it is, you'll see it later on in life, as well.
Lisa Miller - How do you diagnose it?
Dr Annette Guswiller - You diagnose it, typically, by x-rays. You would anesthetize the patient, that's the best way to do it. We would take some nice x-rays and i have a picture of it here. You would look to see how far the joint is on the younger age dogs and then on the older age dogs, you see how chronic it is. You look for the degeneration of the hip joint itself.
Lisa Miller - once you've diagnosed it, how do you treat it?
Dr Annette Guswiller - You can treat it with a variety of ways. It all depends on the dog itself. One is the age of the dog, the breed of the dog, what the dog is going to be intended for. Obviously, like a German Shepherd, tends to be more of a working dog, this one is a working dog. Labradors that are going to be used for hunting. If you find it early you want to be more aggressive with your treatment, so you may look at a surgical option instead of just the medical option. Surgical options are total hip replacement, or a TPO, which is a triple pelvic osteotaymor and FHO, where we remove the femoral head of the hip joint itself.
Those work for different reasons at different times. The conservative method is the one most likely used and those are done with a lot of non-steroidals anti-inflammatories and it is done with fatty acid supplements.
Lisa Miller - Doctor, thank you so much for your great advice in this week's Pet Check.