No Symptoms but Trouble on the Horizon
I was reading a book the other day about hip dysplasia in dogs. Before going further, I should add that this applies to cats as well. The article was written by a veterinarian and it had something very important to say about this painful condition. An incredible 65-70% of young puppies display hip dysplasia when screened with an X-ray.
That includes young pups that are not demonstrating symptoms; with no lameness or other symptoms of pain that would be visible. Now, this number is staggering when you consider that this veterinarian was talking about puppies less than one year old.
What is Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is basically a "ball and socket" kind of condition. In short, the joint does not fit right or it "pops" out of line. A cat or a dog may be born with this condition; or, it may result from activity and stress. Veterinarians face several different scenarios here. As I have said in previous articles this is a condition that larger breed dogs are prone to developing. However, this veterinarian was describing all young puppies he had studied. The more fundamental question is this. If young animals have this condition, it generally worsens. Even though they are not demonstrating symptoms this early in life as it progresses, pain and disability are inevitable.
Working on the Problem Now
For an adult pet that already has symptoms, many of those who read this column are doing what I recommend. They are using a safe and effective approach by using a high-quality liquid glucosamine formula. (I have already cautioned about the use of some remedies made available by veterinarians.)
So, what should you do?
For those who have younger pets, why wait? Do you really need the expense of an x-ray to make a decision about this? Of course not. By nature, pets are playful and active. The eventual consequence is that they will develop joint pain as a result of trauma, aging, or both.
A Simple Solution
Be proactive now. As adults, many of us wish we had done more to care for our joints earlier in life. Most of us take vitamins and minerals as supplements and the smart consumer is using a liquid glucosamine of the highest quality. The cost of the best liquid formulas is low and is given to pets based on body weight. For smaller animals, the cost is negligible compared to the potential for problems down the road. For a pet that weighs 10-20 pounds, we are talking about pennies. My suggestion is to use a high-quality liquid glucosamine for maintenance early on. As that article indicated, the number of pets with hip dysplasia is very high even with no symptoms being displayed. There is no reason to wait until your pet is in pain and suffering.