Hip Dysplasia – An Issue Among Older English Bulldogs

Probably some people consider English Bulldogs as tough and intimidating dogs. Who would not think that way when this breed possesses certain characteristics that made people think that they are indeed tough and intimidating. Plus the fact that, they were originally used for bullbaiting as well as bearbaiting. Now who says English Bulldogs are not intimidating?

Yes, they look intimidating but actually, they are not. They are in fact considered as one of the gentlest among dogs. They are extremely people-attention seeking dogs and would love every bit they can get. However, just like other dog breeds, English Bulldogs are subject to some health issues that can lead to the deterioration of the quality of their life.

One health issue that can possibly affect this breed, especially older dogs, is hip dysplasia. Many dog ​​owners are aware of hip dysplasia probably because their own dogs have experienced it. But to those who does not know the disease, canine hip dysplasia is a result of abnormal development of the hip while your pet is still a puppy. This abnormal development involves the ball (the head of the femur or thighbone) and the socket (the acetabulum). When the ball and the socket do not fit snugly, painful and damaging friction occurs and will later progress to cartilage destruction, inflammation and pain. This can later result in progressive arthritis that can possibly cripple your pet.

A dysplastic dog has less energy and movement and sufferers difficulty when rising. Lameness in the back legs, reluctance to use stairs especially when going up, conductance to jump or stand on hind limbs soreness after lying down and after heavy exercise are also signs of the existence of canine hip dysplasia.

Veterinarians use x-rays in addition to physical examination to diagnose the disease. Most vets use the hip-extended ventrodorsal view x-ray because it provides a frontal view of the pelvis and hip joints and allows for an assessment of the arthritis present. PennHIP radiography technique on the other hand is usually used to detect hip looseness in younger dogs. Other less commonly used methods to diagnose hip dysplasia are computed tomography (CT scan) and ultrasonography.

Hip dysplasia can be treated medically or surgically, depending on the severity of the condition. Conservative or medical treatments include pain and anti-imflammatory medications, weight loss programs, controlled exercise and physical therapy. These methods can be very effective however, conservative or medical treatments do have their limitations. Some cases of hip dysplasia call for surgical treatment such as osteotomy (TPO) and femoral head and neck incision in several cases.

A good practice to prevent this is to screen breeding dogs for evidence of hip joint subluxation.