Thursday, July 9, 2009 9:22 PM

Prevention and Treatment of CHD, Part 2

If your dog is already exhibiting symptoms of hip dysplasia, the immediate concern is relieving pain and attempting to slow the progression of the disease. Unfortunately, osteoarthritis will most likely develop in the dysplastic joint, compounding the problem. Depending upon whether the disease is mild or severe, there are several treatments that you can try.

In milder cases, pain relief medications and anti-inflammatory drugs are used to reduce discomfort. If the animal is overweight, it is imperative that this be corrected. If your dog is eating a commercial diet, now is the time to slowly change him over to a premium or, better yet, a homemade diet. A moderate exercise program should be initiated not only for weight loss, but to keep the hip joints limber and to try to strengthen the muscles supporting the hips. Acupuncture and acupressure may afford some relief, with the latter technique being one that the owner can perform at home, with training from a licensed practitioner. Massage therapy has produced good results in pets, not only for pain relief but to calm and relax the animal. Again, the owner should consult with an expert in this field so that it can be practiced at home. Many non-toxic herbs may be employed to control discomfort, as well. Yucca is often used by human arthritis patients for pain and swelling, as has boswellia. Try adding a bit of either tincture to your dog's water or food to see how well he responds and to make sure there is not negative reaction. Others have had some success using glucosamine-chondroitin supplements, which seem to be well-tolerated by dogs.

More serious cases of dysplasia may require surgery. Total hip replacement has shown success, but is quite expensive. Short of that, a procedure that removes the deformed ball at the head of the thighbone sounds like it shouldn't work, but apparently does. The muscles and ligaments tighten to support the hip, and the bone-to-bone grating that causes pain no longer occurs. A less invasive technique involves cutting a muscle inside the dog's thigh, affording pain relief by reducing the close contact between the ball and socket. This last procedure seems a poor treatment to me, since the laxity in the joint is what caused the problem in the first place. It may be worth discussing with your veterinarian, however, if the dysplasia becomes severe.

Chances are that, even if your dog has dysplasia, it won't progress to the point where surgery is needed. Putting into practice the preventative methods outlined here should give you and your best friend many happy, active years together.

So Cute: Recently, we purchased a notebook computer, the Asus Eee PC both for portability and for backup in case this old ark hits the skids again. For $250 at Target, it seemed like a steal. We got it home and, since we still have dial-up internet here in the boonies, I tried to set up a connection only to find the tiny thing has no modem. OK, so we go out and buy an external modem, only to find (of course) that it has an INSTALLATION CD and, you guessed it, no CD drive. Sigh. Oh, well--at least it's really cute.
Chat later!


Anonymous Says:
July 10, 2009 at 10:28 AM

Such a dog! Love that Damian and that Punkin!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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