Although the APBT often are adept at hiding their pain symptoms they can be affected by this chronic issue just like any other dog. It happens to be the number one genetic issue in dogs. (No matter the breed or type of dog.) Hip Dysplasia is basically a loose hip joint. What happens is there is abnormal rubbing in the joint surfaces. In time not only can this cause pain due to the inflammation but arthritis as well. Typically signs that there might be a problem are when their gait is altered; they may have issues going down stairs, or even have a lack of interest in playing. Depending on the severity and the dog’s age there a several treatment options. Talk with your vet to determine which one your dog may respond to best.
Treatment options (milder cases):
· Weight control – Keeping your dog within the proper weight range may help to decrease or in some fortunate cases end join point completely.
· Diet – Sometimes genetics is not the cause of the issue. Overfeeding can be a major cause (hence controlling their weight) and too much or too little of supplements such as calcium, carbohydrates, and/or phosphorus. It’s important to have an appropriate diet for your growing dog. It can help reduce risk in both puppies and adult dogs. Discuss options with your vet on what will work best for your dog and their needs.
· Regular exercise – This is important in all dogs. It helps to maintain strength, tone, and range of motion. A low impact activity like walks on a leash at the speed and distance the dog can handle can help. Be sure that they stop the walk before stiffness or lameness sets in. That would have the reverse effect on what you’re trying to accomplish. Another excellent type of low impact exercising is swimming. Like humans that use swimming as part of their rehabilitation it can have positive effects on dogs. Join your dog during their exercise regimen by dancing. Simply pick up their front legs and step backwards causing them to come forward. Don’t allow them to go backward because it could possible cause pain while the hip is in an extended position. Not only is this fun but it can help strength their gluteal muscles. By doing so it can help reduce arthritis.
· Joint RX food – There are many dog foods available that focus on helping to improve the function of joints. They are diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
· Pain reducers – Your vet may prescribe medication to help ease the dog’s discomfort. Since each dog is different they respond differently. Therefore more than one type of medication may have to be tried before finding the one that best suits your dog.
· Glucosamine/Chondroitin – These supplements are often used by humans to promote joint health. There’s been encouraging evidence that suggests that this also works with dogs.
Treatment options (more severe):
· Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – Pain is reduced by electric impulse. Typically these treatments only take about 20-30 minutes.
· Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) – This device often gives dogs with minor cases relief for up to 2 years. For the more severe cases relief can be found for several months. It uses sound waves.
· Juvenile Pubic Symphysidesis (JPS) – Most puppies aren’t symptomatic at a very young age. However, if a puppy is diagnosed before they’re 14-16 weeks old this invasive procedure may be tried. It’s typically performed in conjunction with early spay/neuter surgery. A tighter hip joint is created by cauterizing the growing cartilage cells in the lower pelvis area. This procedure can be beneficial to high risk ABPT or loose hipped puppies.
· Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO) – This treatment is best if performed on young puppies with minimum or no issues with arthritis. Three cuts are made in the pelvic bone. Then it’s repositioned so that the femoral head is secured.
· Femoral head and neck incision – The femoral head is removed forming a false joint. This procedure is recommended for 50lbs or less.
· Hip Replacement – This procedure is similar to the one performed on humans. The downside is the cost and long recovery time. However, the now artificial hip is more functional and there’s overall improvement. Depending on the severity of the case the prognosis varies. In cases where the dog was given more conservative treatments for a long time prior the outlook is often good to excellent.