German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia

photo by sina

German shepherd’s hip dysplasia is a condition that affects the hip joints of the dogs. The condition is caused by the malformation of the hip joint, which leads to the deterioration of the joint and eventually results in pain and lameness. German shepherds are particularly susceptible to this condition because of their large size and weight.

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition, which means that it is passed down from the parents to the puppies. German shepherds who have hip dysplasia are usually born with it, although it may not become apparent until they reach adulthood.

There is no cure for canine hip dysplasia, but there are treatments that can help to improve the quality of life for dogs with this condition.

Among the many incurables and painful health issues common to German shepherds, hip dysplasia is the most prevalent. This article was made to provide owners with general information about the infamous German shepherd’s hip dysplasia.

An Overview of a German Shepherd’s Hip Dysplasia

To start things off, let’s talk about what this health problem is about.

What is Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia refers to a health problem mainly involved with the hip socket. It’s where the socket is deformed. As a result, the ball in the joints isn’t completely covered and therefore cannot position itself normally.

This health issue can slowly develop in German shepherds. Hip dysplasia signs will then become more obvious as time passes by.

Many species, including humans, can develop it. However, German shepherds and hip dysplasia go hand-in-hand most of the time.

German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia Life Expectancy

A German shepherd with hip dysplasia can have a life expectancy of around 10 to 12 years. However, this number may differ based on the dog’s weight, the severity of dysplasia, and how early the diagnosis was. The earlier the signs show, the more likely it is for the dog to experience a shorter lifespan.

How Does Hip Dysplasia Develop?

Now that you know what canine hip dysplasia is, it’s time to take a look at how your German shepherd can develop this problem.

Hip dysplasia is often associated with genetics. In other words, it’s common for German shepherds to inherit this problem from their parents. If the dog’s mom or dad has hip dysplasia, there’s a greater chance that the offspring will, too.

Of course, this isn’t the only factor that determines whether a German shepherd will develop hip dysplasia. Their weight and rapid growth rate are also considerations.

For example, a German shepherd puppy that grows too fast is more likely to develop this problem. The same goes for an obese German shepherd. Excessive weight can put more pressure on the dog’s hips, which then causes the socket to deform.

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Hip dysplasia usually becomes apparent when a German shepherd is around 4 to 6 months old. In some cases, the signs may not show until the dog reaches 1 year old or older.

Does a German Shepherd’s Hip Dysplasia Shorten Its Life Span?

Unfortunately, canine hip dysplasia can shorten a German shepherd’s life span. This is because the condition can cause pain and lameness. As time goes by, the hips will deteriorate, and this will make it harder for your German shepherd to walk, run, and play.

They become less active, making it harder for them to keep playing with you, or your kids if you have any.

What’s the Worst it Can Do?

It causes the dog to experience constant pain. The signs of German shepherd hip dysplasia become worse and worse which can be unbearable to both the dog and the owner.

That’s why I said earlier that dogs are put down due to bone problems.

When Does German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia Develop?

Most of the time, a German shepherd’s hip dysplasia will only be noticeable to those of 2 years and over regardless of their lifestyle, healthy or not.

So why exactly does it choose even the healthiest of dogs?

German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia is Hereditary

There’s no preventing a German Shepherd’s hip dysplasia. The same goes for curing such a disorder. As far as statistics is concerned, 20% of dogs in this breed are diagnosed with hip dysplasia.

They inherit the trait from their parents, but the severity may depend on the owner of the German shepherd.

For example, a well-trained and healthy dog may experience less pain, while those that are often neglected may have it worse than others.

There’s more than one way to determine how severe a German shepherd’s hip dysplasia may be. One such factor is their breed.

DDR German shepherds, or East German shepherds, are known for being immune to severe hip dysplasia, although they can still inherit such a trait if bred with other breeds.

That’s precisely why a responsible owner should know how to find out the presence of a German shepherd’s hip dysplasia.

How to Know if a German Shepherd Suffers from Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia might not be obvious with a young German shepherd, but it’ll come to pass where it’s barely hiding.

Most of the time, you’ll see puppies, unbeknown to you that they have already inherited their German shepherd parent’s hip dysplasia.

German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia Signs

The following are the warning signs that a German shepherd suffers from hip dysplasia.

  • Limping
  • Unstable gait
  • Shows signs of hip pain when touched on the hip joint
  • Swaying
  • Decreased energy
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It’s also worth noting that a German shepherd’s hip dysplasia gets harder to treat the older your dog gets. That’s why it’s important to detect it early on to avoid further damage to your dog’s skeletal system.

If you think knowing the symptoms is enough for you to avoid your dog’s demise, then you’re mistaken. The German shepherd hip dysplasia signs don’t show up until your dog turns 2 years old, in which case they’re already an adult.

That’s why the only way to be 100% sure of the presence of hip dysplasia is through a specialized x-ray.

Specialized X-Ray for German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia

Specialized x-rays for hip dysplasia can be complicated. Unless you’re a vet yourself, you won’t be getting too much information on the details a machine gives you.

It is therefore recommended to request the treatment from your vet first since they’ll naturally have more experience and knowledge about this.

They may also provide you with suggestions for treating the German shepherd’s hip dysplasia, which leads us to the next topic.

Treatment for German Shepherd’s Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is known as a progressing health issue, meaning they get worse as time passes by. That’s also why I’ve mentioned that it’ll get harder to treat once your dog becomes a senior.

This introduces us to the treatment of a German shepherd’s hip dysplasia. It may not completely erase the hip problems, but it will help ease the pain experienced by your dog while slowing the development of the health problem.

There are two types of such treatments. Let’s start with the less risky approach.

Natural Remedies

There are dozens of ways to promote the natural treatment options for a German shepherd’s hip dysplasia.

  • Weight Loss Program: For one, you can implement a weight loss program for your German shepherd. A low-calorie diet is a great way to start as this helps the joints move more freely. This is because other than the deformity of the socket, excess fat can also get in the way of the joints. A prime example of a low-calorie diet that is safe for dogs is a meal consisting of green beans, berries, and apples.
  • Exercise: Exercise is also a great physical therapy to improve the flexibility of your dog, so they can handle the deformed socket more naturally.
  • Home Renovation: Slippery floors are not recommended since German shepherds may slip and put stress on their hips.

Specialized Treatments

If you think your German has severe hip dysplasia is already severe, you might need to rely on specialized treatments.

  • Joint Supplement: A low-calorie diet might not be enough to suppress the health issue. That’s why you should at least consider including supplements in the diet of your german shepherd dog. This will also help improve their bone health and growth.
  • Pharmaceutical Drugs: Another great option is to seek help from your vet. They will provide you with pharmaceutical drugs, particularly anti-inflammatory medicines or pain killers.
  • Corrective Surgery: If a German shepherd’s hip dysplasia becomes too extreme, it calls for corrective surgery. The German shepherd hip dysplasia surgery cost may range from $1700 – $4500.
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To avoid spending that much on a German shepherd’s hip dysplasia, it might be better to start your move against the health issue the moment you buy the puppies.

When Buying a German Shepherd

Hip dysplasia is genetic in German shepherds. With that said, there are many ways to avoid such a health issue by checking the genetic details of a puppy. However, that might be a bit hard considering the wide unethical breeding method nowadays.

The Issues with Bad Breeders

When looking for German shepherd puppies, make sure the breeder checks their parents. Otherwise, look for another breeder.

You might need to learn about the reasons why you should make this call:

  • Many breeders don’t check the hips of the dogs. As long as they’re sure it’s a German shepherd, there’s nothing they will do.
  • Bad breeders tend to breed dogs that are 2 years old or younger. You may confirm that their parents don’t have hip dysplasia, but they may be not old enough to show signs yet.
  • They breed German shepherds knowing that they have the genes for hip dysplasia, all for commercial purposes.

These three issues push these breeders to lower their prices. The normal price ranges from $700 – $1000. It may be lower from a breeder who knows of the hip joint issue of the German shepherd.

This is why you must buy from a good breeder. In addition to more expenses, you might have less playtime with a German shepherd suffering from hip dysplasia.

Final Thoughts on German Shepherd Hip Dysplasia

German shepherds are lovable creatures, but it doesn’t always end well for them and the owner. There are many problems, especially those involved in their skeletal system.

One of the most common joint health issues is a German shepherd’s hip dysplasia. Many owners don’t know about this health problem, but after reading this article, you’re no longer one of them.

We tackled the nature of this disorder and learned how to identify the German shepherd hip dysplasia signs. You even learned how to treat this health issue.

At the end of the day, you’ve gained the ability to help your dog by giving them a more comfortable life now that you’re aware of a German shepherd’s hip dysplasia.

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