Canine Hip Dysplasia and the Rottweiler


Canine Hip Dysplasia and the Rottweiler

Canine Hip Dypslasia (CHD) is a hereditary health condition that can produce a crippling disease in dogs. CHD can affect the joints of the hips regardless of a dog's size and age.  It is predisposed by the abnormal development of the ball and socket joint that is found in the hips.  The head of the femur is the ball while the socket is the cupped part of the hip bone where the ball fits.  When the socket is too shallow the ball will not fit snuggly resulting in lax or loose hips. This abnormal conformation will permit the femur to move loosely against the hip bone and cause wearing off of the hip joint.

The constant friction between the head of the femur and the socket of the hip bone can result in a gradual loss of bone cartilage leading to joint inflammation, formation of bone spurs and pain.  It is an often misunderstood disease that is brought about by a weakened hip joint. This condition is certainly painful for your Rottweiler. Pain is a result of the inflammatory condition that is present that leads to a decreased flexibility.

Dysplasia is a medical term that denotes the abnormal growth and consequently atypical conformation of the canine hip.  If left untreated, it will progress into arthritis leading to lameness of your dog. Large breeds such as Rottweilers and Labrador Retrievers are most prone to Canine Hip Dysplasia. This degenerative disease has different manifestations depending on its severity.

Although certain breeds of dogs have a genetic predisposition for CHD, the interaction between the genetic makeup of the dog and its environment will play a large part in the development of the disease.  If a puppy is undernourished and subjected to strenuous exercise and couple that with a gene for CHD, there is indeed a high probability of that puppy developing CHD later on in life. The hip joint is not the only part of the body that can be affected by Dysplasia. The joints present in the shoulder, knee and the spine are also prone to CHD.

Although Hip Dysplasia is mainly known as a hereditary disease it does not necessarily mean that a Rottweiler pup whose parents are CHD-free will not have any chances of developing the disease.  Hip Dysplasia can also develop as a result of gene mutations or hidden genes that have been masked and have skipped certain generations.  These masked genes which may have escaped being detected can give rise to Canine Hip Dysplasia when the predisposing factors are present particularly obesity and strenuous exercise.

A Rottweiler suffering from Canine Hip Dysplasia will exhibit lameness particularly after exercise and takes a long time to rise after getting up.  Some would describe the dog as having a "bunny-hop" gait.

Your pet may also show personality changes due to the constant presence of pain.  Dogs suffering from CHD have a greater risk of injury especially when subjected to strenuous activity. 

Not all dogs, though, which have CHD, show these tell-tale signs of the disease.  There are dogs that fail to show symptoms especially during the early stages of the disease, while there are those which can be seen with severe crippling and painful symptoms.

In order to make a definitive diagnosis, you should take your dog to the Veterinarian so that it can be subjected to a radiographic (x-ray) examination.  Severe and well-advanced CHD can easily be detected via X-rays. However, there are cases where there is a need for additional testing in order to get a confirmation.

At present, there are two methods which can be used to get a correct diagnosis.