Every breed of dog can develop hip dysplasia, but giant breeds like Newfoundlands are particularly prone to this disease and often suffer more debilitating effects than small breed dogs with hip dysplasia.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic malformation of the ball and socket joints of the hip. It can lead to pain and in severe cases, crippling of the back legs. Hip dysplasia is diagnosed based on symptoms and x-rays to confirm that one or both joints of the hip aren't properly formed.
If your Newfoundland has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia, it's crucial to keep his weight down so there's less stress on his joints. Maintaining muscle mass through exercise is also important.
Newfoundlands tend to be laid back and love to lounge, but they still need daily exercise. Swimming is a perfect low-impact exercise that comes naturally to most Newfies since these dogs were bred for water rescue.
Alternately, walking on a treadmill or even slow jogging can help your Newfie maintain strength and an optimal range of mobility. Keep in mind that the severity of symptoms from hip dysplasia can vary widely from dog to dog, so it's best to work with your vet for the best treatment plan for your pet.
Anti-inflammatory medication can help manage the pain your dog may experience. Additionally, cold laser therapy is being used in a growing number of veterinary offices today and is a noninvasive treatment that can help treat painful hip joints. One veterinarian says he's treated dogs that were barely able to walk due to hip dysplasia, but after receiving laser treatments, they became active again, even behaving like puppies.
Providing your dog with an orthopedic memory foam bed can also help him to be more comfortable and will take pressure off his joints.
If Hip Dysplasia is Severe
Treating severe hip dysplasia is typically done through surgery. When the condition has reached end-stage, meaning the dog suffering from it is almost entirely immobile and in pain that's hard to control with medication or therapy, total hip replacement is the only solution.
However, a hip replacement procedure, while significantly less expensive than the same operation performed in humans, is quite costly, ranging anywhere from $3,500 to $7000 per hip. And if the dog is experiencing dysplasia in both hips, the cost will be double that. Recovery from full hip replacement typically takes at least two months, during which you will need to severely limit your Newfie's physical activity. It makes sense to weigh your dog's age and overall health condition when deciding whether to go ahead with a full hip replacement or to take measures to make him comfortable instead. For more information, contact a hospital such as Cherokee Hospital for Animals.