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Does your dog or cat wobble and limp? Has it gotten worse as they age? If so, your pet may have hip dysplasia, a disorder that causes cats and dogs to have abnormally formed hip joints. Although hip dysplasia is often much more noticeable in aging pets, it actually onsets in early age and worsens over time. Here's an overview on what to do, how to help your pet and why they're struggling.
It can be hard to identify hip dysplasia in its early stages, and even if you could, there isn't a ton you can do to stop it from occurring. That being said, there are a lot of treatments that can improve your pet's mobility and minimize their pain. The most important element is keeping your pet at a healthy weight with good diet and regular light exercise. Daily walks are perfect, and if necessary, put your pet on a diet. If your pet is having trouble getting up the stairs, consider making a comfortable space for them downstairs and move their food where it can be more easily accessed.
If pain is high (your pet avoids activities, winces during activity, or constantly licks or chews the hip area to ease discomfort), then you can consider treating your pet with animal pain-relief medication (such as Metacam) or anti-inflammatories. Talk to your vet about the best option for your pet. Massage and other forms of alternative treatment such as acupuncture can also be highly effective.
If your pet is still fairly mobile, consider light trail runs and low-impact beach walks to help strengthen their muscles around their joints.
Other strategies for pain management include:
It can be so difficult to watch your pet be in pain. It's important to take your pet to the vet as soon as you notice changes in their behavior so you can get ahead of the hip dysplasia before it gets worse. Loving care, a healthy diet and exercise will be your best preventive and treatment options. Click here to read more about hip dysplasia.