3 Common Orthopedic Conditions in Dogs

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It is common to hear about human orthopedic problems in adults and children. However, we often forget that our pets are also susceptible to the same types of problems. Pets, especially dogs, need strong and healthy bones to avoid experiencing orthopedic problems. Their bones provide support to their entire body and are essential for their movement. Dogs often show symptoms like limping and pain after experiencing bone disease. The severity of the conditions varies, and treatments for these conditions vary from exercise to medicine and orthopedic surgery. 

If your dog experiences an accident or suffers from a genetic predisposition to bone disease, then you should immediately consult a trustworthy veterinary professional for treatment. He or she can examine your dog and determine if veterinary orthopedic surgery or general medicinal treatment is needed. Researchers conclude that there are several major orthopedic conditions in dogs that hinder their movement and growth. The three most common orthopedic conditions in dogs are the following. 

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is common among large breed dogs, especially those that grow rapidly. This condition is caused by the abnormal development of the hip. The symptoms of hip dysplasia often appear at a later age when arthritis and joint instability become apparent. With this condition, the dog experiences pain and weakness in the lower back region. One or both hips may be affected. 

Surgeons can effectively treat hip dysplasia by diagnosing it quickly and reorienting the hip joint through surgery. In some cases, a surgeon may have to completely remove or replace the arthritic hip joint. There are also therapies available to relieve pain and inflammation once arthritis develops. 

Elbow Dysplasia

Similar to hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia occurs in elbow joints. This condition occurs most often in fast-growing dogs that are part of a larger breed. The term elbow dysplasia encompasses several different conditions including medial coronoid disease (MCD), osteochondrosis dissicans (OCD) and ununited anconeal process (UAP).

Elbow dysplasia is caused by skeletal development abnormalities. These symptoms appear when secondary arthritis starts. The symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, front limb lameness and decreased motion. Because dogs carry more weight on their forelimbs, it makes perfect sense that front limb lameness is more painful. The diagnosis usually starts with radiographs, so this is the first step when seeking treatment. 

Patellar Luxation

A patella is also known as a knee cap. The patella is buried in muscles and tendons above the femur. When the patella gets displaced as it slides out of the groove at the end of its femur, it causes severe pain and is a sign of imminent arthritis. The patella frequently luxates in a medial direction, which is the middle of the body. In a normally structured pet, the patella should not move around. When it does, the affected dog will hold the affected limb up or skip while running. Patellar luxation commonly occurs in smaller dog breeds.

The three orthopedic conditions listed above all have various solutions, ranging from exercise and medicine to therapy and surgical treatments. Medical science has improved significantly, and today all these surgeries that were previously labeled as complex are now easily performed.

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