How do we prevent hip dysplasia?
There are many different theories on how to prevent the progression of hip dysplasia. As discussed earlier, nutrition, exercise, and body weight may all contribute to the severity of degenerative joint disease after the hip dysplasia has developed. When it comes to preventing the formation of hip dysplasia, there is only one thing that all researchers agree on, and that is selective breeding is crucial. There will be a lot of new information coming forward in the future concerning other factors that contribute to hip dysplasia, but for right now, we have to stick to what we know for sure. We know that through selectively breeding animals with good hips, we can significantly reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia. We also know that we can increase the incidence of hip dysplasia if we choose to use dysplastic animals for breeding. Breeding two animals with excellent hips does not guarantee that all of the offspring will be free of hip dysplasia, but there will be a much lower incidence than if we breed two animals with fair or poor hips. If we only bred animals with excellent hips it would not take long to make hip dysplasia a rare occurrence. If owners insisted on only purchasing an animal that had parents and grandparents with certified good or excellent hips, or if breeders only bred these excellent animals, then the majority of the problems would be eliminated. For the best results, buyers should look at three or four generations of dogs prior to theirs to ensure that there are no carriers in the bloodline. Following the newer recommendations for exercise and nutrition may help, but will never come close to controlling or eliminating the disease if stricter requirements for certified hips are not instituted or demanded.
Hip Dysplasia is a widespread condition that primarily affects large and giant breeds of dogs. There is a strong genetic link between parents that have hip dysplasia and the incidence in their offspring. There are probably other factors too that contribute toward the severity of the disease.
Osteoarthritis is the result of degeneration of the joint due to hip dysplasia. Surgical and medical treatments are targeted to prevent and treat the resulting osteoarthritis. The best way to prevent hip dysplasia is through selection of offspring whose parents and grandparents have been certified to have excellent hip conformation.
References and Further Reading
Cook. Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Canine Hip Dysplasia. Compendium. August 1996.
Francis, David; Millis, Darryl L. Managing the Arthritic Patient. DVM News Magazine. October 2001.
Johnston, Spencer A; Budsberg, Steven C. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and Corticosteroids for the Management of Canine Osteoarthritis. Veterinary Clinics. Small Animal Practice. July 1997.
Kapatkin, Amy S; Mayhew, Philipp D; Smith, Gail K. Canine Hip Dysplasia: Evidence-Based Treatment. Compendium. August 2002.
Kealy. Five-year limited study on limited food consumption and development of osteoarthritis. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. January 15, 1997.
Mclaughlin, Ronald M; Roush, James K. Symposium on Medical Therapy for Patients With Osteoarthritis. Veterinary Medicine. February 2002.
Mclaughlin, Ronald M; Roush, James K. Symposium on Alternative and Future Treatment Modalities for Osteoarthritis. Veterinary Medicine. February 2002.
McNamara, Paul S; Johnston, Spencer A; Todhunter, Rory J. Slow-Acting Disease-Modifying Osteoarthritis Agents. Veterinary Clinics. Small Animal Practice. July 1997.
Montgomery. Canine Hip Dysplasia. Compendium. July 1998.
Tomlinson. Symposium on Canine Hip Dysplasia. Veterinary Medicine. January 1996.