Hip dysplasia in Boxer dogs is a health condition where the dog’s hip joint deteriorates. This canine health condition is inherited. Injury can trigger this. The dog who has this will have a malformed hip joint. The hip joint itself is made of a ball and a socket joint in which that ball sits. These 2 part are held together by ligaments.
When a Boxer dog has hip dysplasia, the socket is not formed correctly or the ligaments that hold the 2 sections together are not strong. This causes the ball to move out of place in the socket where it should be safe and secure. The end result is a misplaced hip that will cause a Boxer dog to have serious health issues.
What Causes Hip Dysplasia in Boxer Dogs?
While the main reason for this Boxer health condition is based in their genes, there are other factors that can make this problem worse:
• Being overweight – any excess weight will put more of a strain on a Boxer dog
• Too much exercise before a Boxer dog enters into adulthood – which causes prolonged stress on the hip
• A faster than average growth rate – which a dog owner has no control over
What are the Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Boxer Dogs?
When a Boxer puppy has hip dysplasia, the puppy will usually begin to show signs as young as 5 to 10 months old. A Boxer dog of any age can be diagnosed with this, as the condition may be very subtle in the dog’s early life and only as the dog grows older will an owner notice the signs:
• Weakness in the limbs, usually in the rear legs and usually after exercising
• Difficulty getting up from a laying position or difficulty walking uphill
• Hopping – walking by bringing both rear legs up at the same time
• Rising using front legs only and dragging rear end.
• Waddling or an unsteady walk with the rear legs
• A very short stride with the rear legs (taking very small steps)
• Unwillingness to jump, exercise, climb stairs or walk uphill
What is the Treatment for a Boxer Dog with Hip Dysplasia?
Medication is usually tried first, before surgery would be done.
• Corticosteroids are used. It is safe medication when given to dogs and it decreases inflammation and swelling. It is injected directly into the Boxer dog’s joint.
• Acetaminophen can be given to dogs, under the veterinarian’s care. Careful dosing must be done, as too much can cause liver damage to a dog.
• NSAID (Aspirin or the newer buffered versions of Rimadly, Carprofen, Metacam or Meloxiam) medications may be given. These help to decrease swelling, pain and stiffness. It is important to note that a dog owner should never attempt to give medication to their Boxer dog without the vet’s advice. Giving Ibuprofen to a dog is toxic.
• Dog supplements, called Visco-supplementation can help. This gel type substance is injected directly into the dog’s joint. It has lubricating properties and can help with pain and improve a dog’s range of motion. This is only a temporary fix.
If a dog’s condition worsens, surgery is the next step.
If diagnosed in the early stages when the Boxer dog is still a puppy and the joint and socket are for the most part, still intact:
• Surgery can be performed in which the dog’s pelvis is cut into 3 separate pieces and then relocated to fit properly. Up to 8 weeks of rest will be needed for the Boxer dog to recuperate and for the bones to heal correctly
For dogs with extensive degeneration of the joint:
• Surgery may be performed to actually remove the pelvic joint. Surprisingly, many dogs compensate well for the missing joint and will enjoy a much better quality of life. Up to 5 weeks of rest will be needed afterwards.
• Total hip replacement surgery is an option. An implant consisting of cobalt chrome stainless steel is set in and a socket made of high tech plastic is used in place of the dog’s socket. In some cases, this extensive surgery will allow a Boxer dog to resume a completely active lifestyle. Up to 8 weeks of rest will be needed afterward. Progress to a previously active exercise routine will be gradual and will increase as time goes by.