Symptoms of Arthritis Hip Pain in Dogs

Arthritis hip pain in dogs is mainly caused by hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is an abnormal development of hip joints, when the femoral head does not perfectly conjoin with the hip cavity so that the hip deforms and becomes instable, leading to joint inflammations and weakening the bones. Depending on the gravity of the condition, hip dysplasia can lead to pain, arthritis or even joint displacement. Symptoms might not show in early stages and the condition can easily degenerate into arthritis.

Hip Arthritis in Dogs

Hip arthritis in dogs is a secondary condition and consists of the degeneration of the joints caused by an advanced state of hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is common in large breeds and it is believed to be hereditary; the symptoms do not show at birth. Once arthritis is installed, the hip dysplasia is no longer curable.

Symptoms of Arthritis Hip Pain in Dogs

If hip dysplasia degenerates into arthritis, the dog will suffer of severe pain around the hip. There are a few signs you can observe in your dog if he has developed arthritis:

  • Lameness and lack of interest in activities
  • Limping
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Running raising both hind legs, like rabbits do
  • Avoiding to run and jump or sit
  • Possible aggressiveness when touched or petted around the hip
  • Depression and personality changes
  • Lack of appetite

The symptoms can vary according to the severity of the disease and the dog’s age. The first symptom to appear is limping since the dog is trying to support his entire weight on the healthy front legs. Therefore, the muscles of his hind legs are under-developed while the front legs have well formed muscles (since they sustain the entire body weight).

The dog will also avoid sitting since this would be painful for his hip joints.

Some dogs also experience changes in behavior.

They might lick or bite the painful area or look for warm and soft places to lay down and sleep.

Treatment of Arthritis Hip Pain in Dogs

Hip arthritis is not curable, but it can be improved through dietary changes, treatment and exercise. Arthritis is a progressive disease that worsens in time. There are, however, medical remedies meant to slow down the evolution of the disease and give your dog a high quality of life. Usually the medication prescribed for hip pains caused by arthritis consists of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs which help reducing the pain and the inflammation of the joints. This type of medication can often cause serious side effects in the stomach and the gastrointestinal tract.

Another good option which has insignificant side effects and can be used long term is glucosamine and chondroitin. These substances work well in arthritis treatment since they also help restoring the cartilage.

Dietary changes and high quality food help with arthritis hip pain. Avoiding preservatives and other substances which contribute to inflammation is recommended.

Daily exercise, comfortable and warm bedding are also means to reduce pain.