Rottweiler Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is common among Rottweilers. In some cases, it may be prevented, but in others, it may just be a piece of your dog's genetic makeup.

Hip Dysplasia in Rottweilers

Hip dysplasia is a progressive disease of the hip joints that leads to arthritis and may eventually prevent your dog from walking without a limp. In severe cases, it can be crippling.

It's caused by an abnormality in the hip joints that prevents the hip bones from fitting into their joints, which can cause looseness and damage to the cartilage and joint tissue.

Symptoms include difficulty walking and jumping, difficulty getting up from lying down and reluctance to participate in activities that your dog once enjoyed.

Genetic Components of Hip Dysplasia

Many breeds are more likely to develop hip dysplasia, such as Rottweilers, which is often caused by the genetic component. The predisposition for hip dysplasia can be inherited, and this is often the worst kind. Rottweilers as young as a few months can begin to show signs of hip dysplasia, which will usually require surgery at some point in life.

Once you have adopted a dog, there's nothing you can do about his genes. However, you can reduce the likelihood of adopting a Rottweiler with hip dysplasia if you ask the breeder for proof of good hips in the line he or she is breeding. If the breeder is unwilling to provide this, you should be unwilling to adopt one of the puppies.

The best way to prevent hip dysplasia is to stop breeding dogs who have the disease. Some dogs may develop hip dysplasia in old age, but it's important for breeders to stop lines that have the genetic predisposition.

Prevention of Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is most common among large breed dogs, such a Rottweilers, which can grow quickly and easily injure themselves. Because of this, it's important to monitor your Rottweiler's exercise during critical growing periods.

Until your Rott is six months old, maybe even nine months, his exercise should be limited. Swimming is a great exercise, and walks, especially on soft surfaces, such as grass, are also fine. However, you should avoid any activity that involves a lot of running and jumping.

If you allow your dog on the furniture or in the car, consider purchasing ramps so they don't have to jump. Jumping off objects and running down stairs are especially difficult on the joints.

Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements are also thought to slow the progression of joint disease. Though it may not help once the disease has set in, many experts believe that  proactive treatment can slow the onset. Glucosamine and chondroitin are natural amino acids found in the joint tissue and cartilage, so supplementing the existing tissue can help joints last longer.

In addition, be sure to keep the weight off your Rottie. Overweight Rottweilers are much more likely to develop hip dysplasia, so cut back your dog's food if he appears to be putting on weight. Feeding less of a high quality food is a great way to shave the calories since many commercial brands have cheap fillers that pack on the pounds without providing a lot of nutrition.