German shepherds are a loyal and loving breed of dog. However, they are prone to hip dysplasia, which can cause pain and mobility problems. Here are four signs of hip dysplasia in GSDs that you should look out for.
Several home remedies can help ease the symptoms of hip dysplasia and make your german Shepherd more comfortable. However, since hip dysplasia is a genetic condition, no 100% effective treatments exist. It is best to try and avoid the problem by getting a puppy from a breeder who has bred against this condition and taken the responsible steps to check on the condition of the hips within their adult dogs.
Hip certifications to check with German Shepherds
The OFA is the go-to organization for several health screenings, especially regarding hip health. The OFA recommends an OFA standard evaluation and an SV evaluation for German Shepherds. An elbow dysplasia evaluation is also recommended with the same two tests. PennHIP is a less common form of screening for Osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia but is also an acceptable screening.
Your breeder doesn't have to perform the screenings with all their puppies. This may not be a realistic expectation, and more accurate screenings are unavailable until the puppy is about 16 weeks old. However, for German Shepherds, having some hip certification from the parents should be a top priority. The score for each adult dog should be "acceptable" at the very least, and of course, the higher the score, the better.
Does exercise help hip dysplasia in German Shepherds?
Exercise is one of the best things you can do to help your german Shepherd with hip pain, although the exercise routine must be approached with more caution. Exercise helps to keep their muscles strong and supportive and can also help to reduce inflammation in the joints. If your german Shepherd is showing signs of hip pain or stiffness, talk to your vet about an exercise plan that is right for them. They must flex and strengthen the muscles while avoiding over-pressure and exercise in a short time. And of course, the cardio helps keep your dog's weight at a healthy level, which is even more crucial for a dog with hip pain, since an overweight dog will have more pressure coming down on its hind hips and elbows.
Exercises to avoid with hip dysplasia
Long-distance running on concrete
Impact play (such as other dogs jumping on top of your dog)
Weight pulling or placing any objects on their back
German Shepherd hip pain home remedies
Swimming is an excellent choice for dogs with hip dysplasia and pain. German Shepherds are good swimmers, so this can be a great option, especially if you can find a pool or calm body of water. Be sure to provide a doggy life vest for your GSD, not only for safety but so that they have even less pressure on their joints and can be in the water for more time. Again- it's the same recurring theme- less intense pressure on the joints and more time stretching and strengthening. If your dog becomes a swimming pro, you can even search for water treadmills or pet hydrotherapy pools.
Walking on grass is probably most people's most straightforward and realistic daily option. The grass is a great option, but the important thing is that it's low-impact. Dirt is still better than cement, for example. Avoid stairs and steep inclines or steep declines because this puts extra pressure on your dog's hip and elbow joints.
German Shepherd hip surgery options
Hip dysplasia and pain in dogs are on a scale that can range from a minor case to a severe case. It's essential to consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions on hip surgery. You can always take your dog to a veterinary orthopedic surgeon if you want a second opinion. If your german Shepherd has hip dysplasia, and your veterinarian believes it is a good idea, several surgical options can help to improve their symptoms. There are three types of more "affordable" options for hip surgery:
Triple Pelvic Osteotomy
Femoral Head Osteotomy
Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis
These three hip surgeries range in price from $1,000 to $4,000, depending on your location and the severity of the surgery. The 4th option is total hip replacement, which is the most expensive option but can also be the most effective for severe cases. Prices range from $3,000 to $7,500 for total hip replacements. Hip surgery is an expensive option, but the cost is worth it if it means giving your dog a better quality of life.
German Shepherd hip dysplasia life expectancy
Again, hip problems range from mild to severe, so it's impossible to answer this question. The good news is that in most cases, even severe cases of hip dysplasia are not fatal. In fact, what is more expected is that as your dog ages, its symptoms become so severe that the owners will choose to put the dog down to end the suffering. Often, this decision is made when the German Shepherd is 10+ years old, and their symptoms may be in combination with arthritis and other symptoms that will naturally come with old age.