Dog Hip Pain Diagnosis

Dog hip pain can be very distressing for both you and your pet. Canine hip pain can occur due to hip dysplasia or arthritis. Other causes of hip pain could be injury, cancer or Lyme disease. Large breed dogs are more prone to hip pain, as are older dogs. Canine hip dysplasia is a genetic disease and develops due to a deformity in the hip joints that causes pain in the hips and degenerative changes or arthritis in the hip joint.

Symptoms of Canine Hip Pain Include:

  • Lameness in the hind legs
  • Pain
  • Decreased mobility
  • Creaking sound from the joints
  • Difficulty in rising
  • Reluctant to climb stairs
  • Swaggering gait
  • Reluctant to exercise
  • Preference to hop instead of run
  • Tendency to put weight on the front legs while walking
  • Whining or crying when moving

Diagnosis of Canine Hip Pain

If you observe any of the symptoms mentioned or if you observe that your pet is limping for more than a couple of days, it's best to have your dog checked out by your veterinarian. It's important to determine whether your pet is suffering from pain and also determine the location of the pain. Pain in the ankle, knee, foot or lower back can be mistaken for hip pain. The vet will identify the origin of the pain by manipulating the hip joint and observing if there is any laxity or decrease in mobility. A physical exam will also be conducted and the vet will observe the dog as he walks, sits and trots. X-rays will be recommended along with a visit to an orthopedic specialist so that the diagnosis can be confirmed prior to starting treatment. The cause for the hip pain has to be identified and treated accordingly to ensure that your pet has relief from the pain.

Treatment of Hip Pain

Treatment varies with the condition and its state of progression. If the pain is due to an injury or a pulled muscle, anti-inflammatory medicines, rest and restricted exercise for a week or two will show an improvement in your pet's condition. Growing pains, also known as panosteitis, can be treated in the same manner. For this condition, anti-inflammatory medication is also used.

If the pain is due to problems in the lower spine or cancer, treatment would vary according to the progress of the condition and the financial situation of the pet owner. Treatment in such cases is usually expensive.

Mild hip dysplasia can be treated with diet, exercise and weight management while hip replacement might be the best option if the dysplasia is severe. If the hip pain is due to arthritis, anti-inflammatory medicines and weight management will improve your pet's condition. Exercise helps to strengthen the muscles supporting the hip joints and is vital in hip pain management.

A diet of raw and home cooked food that's rich in proteins and vitamins and food that has lesser amounts of carbohydrates and grains is recommended. Dietary supplements such as glucosamine and chrondroitin are also beneficial in the treatment of canine hip pain.

Hip dysplasia or arthritis can't be prevented, but a dog with mild cases of these conditions can live a full, active life with proper treatment, diet and exercise. You should ensure that your pet remains lean and doesn't put on excess weight, as this can exacerbate the condition.