Helping Dysplastic Dogs

by on 21/01/10 at 4:42 pm

First, I need to make it clear that there are many types of rear end lamenesses that may end up being diagnosed as hip dysplasia, but
you really can’t accept the diagnosis of hip dysplasia without hip x-rays. Hip dysplasia is a radiographic diagnosis, not a clinical diagnosis. That may be splitting hairs, but I see many dogs with conditions such as ruptured and improperly healed cruciate ligaments or lower back arthritis that have been diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Only radiographs can determine whether or not a dog has hip dysplasia.

Radiographs are not necessarily definitive, however. Sometimes what we see on the radiograph does not correlate with the dog’s clinical signs. For instance, sometimes we see dogs that exhibit severe lameness but have only minimally visible arthritic changes in their hips, and sometimes we see dogs that exhibit minimal signs of discomfort yet have severe changes showing in the radiographs. A lot of it has to do with the individual, his tolerance for pain, and his exercise level. But in the case of a dog with severe lameness whose X-rays look OK, I am really tempted to keep looking for some other cause of his pain.

Click here to read the rest of Phyllis Giroux’s article in PDF.

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