Last Updated on January 17, 2022 by Fabiola L.
Hip dysplasia is rarely talked about with dachshunds as they much more often suffer from back problems. Hip issues are a possibility in Doxies too, however. So, what are the main dachshund hip dysplasia treatment and prevention methods? Is this a common problem for these dogs, do you need to be aware of it ahead of time, and how exactly can you affect your dog’s life? Let’s discuss this below.
Are Dachshund Hip Dysplasia Treatment Options Often Necessary?
Hip dysplasia is most common in larger dog breeds – 50 lbs (23 kg) and above. This is well above even the larger Doxies’ weight range but it doesn’t mean that these short-legged hounds can’t get hip dysplasia too. While it isn’t as common as back issues such as Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), hip dysplasia can be especially problematic in combination with back pain.
So, even though it isn’t the main thing to watch out for with Doxies, it should still be on your radar. Fortunately, the main prevention methods for hip dysplasia apply to back issues as well – we’ll cover those below too.
What Is Hip Dysplasia In Dogs?
First things first – what is this condition? Hip Dysplasia is a condition that starts developing during the growth of the pup even though it “gets bad” in adulthood. Simply put, with hip dysplasia, the socket and the head of the hip joint grow at a different rate, resulting in a loose joint. This causes discomfort, pain, and a walking disability later in life. You can easily notice the condition of your dog’s walk has become wobbly, unstable, if the dog avoids moving unnecessarily, or if it’s wincing with pain.
Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition, meaning that parents pass it to their pups. It doesn’t always occur even if the dog has the predisposition, however – environmental factors such as food, exercise, growth rate, environment, hormones, muscle mass, and others play a huge role in whether your dog will develop the condition.
How Long Can A Dog Live With Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia doesn’t need to be a life-threatening condition. Other problems can follow if the hip dysplasia is left untreated, of course. With dachshunds, a big issue is that they can worsen the dog’s back health as well as its legs. However, if you take care of your dachshund and you treat hip dysplasia, there’s no reason why it should shorten or threaten the dog’s life.
What Are The Main Dachshund Hip Dysplasia Treatment Options?
So, how to make a dog comfortable with hip dysplasia or treat it all together? Fortunately, there are quite a few things you can try.
First and foremost, you will need to go to the vet as soon as possible. Nothing we can write here should overwrite a vet’s opinion. This is especially true for conditions like hip dysplasia which can be highly individualized. In other words – every dog’s hip dysplasia is a bit different and requires a different approach.
If you are hesitant about your vet’s recommendation and prescription, you can look for a second opinion but resorting to online tips over a vet’s expertise is ill-advised.
What Would Your Vet Recommend?
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, for short). These are a very good option as they have little to no side effects and are highly effective in a lot of cases.
- Supplements such as chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, omega-3 fatty acid, and others. These are also quite helpful in most cases of hip dysplasia. A vet should approve those, however – don’t give your dog anything without talking to a vet first.
- Polysulfated glycosaminoglycan injections. Administered daily, these injections are very effective in moderately severe cases of hip dysplasia.
- Physical therapy is a great supplementary tool to reduce the problems caused by hip dysplasia. It’s almost never enough on its own, but it’s usually great in conjunction with other treatments.
- Low-impact exercise regimes such as swimming and supported walking (e.g. with lift harnesses). Doxies are not the best swimmers, but this is still a great exercise for dogs that need to stay mobile but have leg or back problems.
- Lifestyle changes such as adding ramps to your home’s stairs and furniture are also great as they’ll reduce the stress on your dog’s hip joints.
- Weight loss. This is also a must as weight gain is strongly linked with the development and worsening of hip dysplasia. Besides, weight gain is also horrible for dachshunds’ backs so getting your dog on a diet is always a good idea.
- Surgery. If neither NSAIDs nor injections helped, surgery might be necessary. Experts recommend multiple different surgical procedures for hip dysplasia based on the severity of the condition. The two traditionally recommended options are total hip replacement and femoral head ostectomy (FHO). Both can sound scary and daunting, but if your vet has recommended either of them, they are probably necessary. Fortunately, neither of them nor some of the other surgical interventions (juvenile pubic symphysiodesis, triple pelvic osteotomy (TPO), and DARthroplasty) are too high risk nowadays.
Alternative Medical Treatments
There are some people that swear by alternative methods. These include traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, stem cell treatments, class 4 laser, and others. Experts view those as “alternative medicine”, however, and data about their efficacy is sporadic and all over the place. So, while we can’t say that they don’t work, we’d advise that you look for a second opinion if a vet tries to heal severe hip dysplasia with acupuncture alone.
How To Prevent Hip Dysplasia In Dogs?
If hip dysplasia is hereditary, does this mean that it can’t be prevented? Not at all. The predisposition for hip dysplasia may be hereditary and reputable breeders do their best to breed it out of their stocks. However, having it doesn’t mean your dog will develop it. Instead, many of the treatment methods we mentioned above also work great for prevention:
- Adequate exercise regime
- Nutritional and breed-specific
- Weight loss
- Physical stress reduction through indoor ramps
Doing this right from the start of your dog’s life will drastically reduce the risk of it developing hip dysplasia. What’s also great is that these things are just healthy overall for dachshunds anyway. They prevent back problems too, as well as various other issues.
Jordan is an animal–lover who specializes in dachshunds. He has owned and cared for dachshunds since he was a child, and his passion for these unique dogs has only grown with time. Jordan is an avid researcher and learner, and spends a large portion of his free time studying the history, behaviour, and health of dachshunds. He has a knack for training and socializing his own dogs, and loves introducing them to new experiences. When not caring for his own pets, Jordan likes to volunteer at local animal rescue shelters, helping to find homes for abandoned dachshunds. He is a true animal advocate, and dedicates his time to ensure that all animals receive the love, respect, and care they deserve.