> I had an Alsatian years ago that had to be killed because of hip problems
> (aged 5).
> As I educate myself on this network, I am discovering that many breeds
> suffer from hip problems.
> Why are so many breeds subject to this particular problem? I don't mean
> Is it the fault of man? but rather what is it about our selection
> procedures or about dogs that leads to that particular problem. YOu dont
> hear about hip displasia in canaries or goldfish or horses or cats.
> Arnold Chamove
> Massey University Psychology
> Palmerston North, New Zealand
Hi! I was extremely dissatisfied with the responses you received
to your questions about hip dysplasia. Let me begin by saying that
we don't know the exact cause of dysplasia. I have researched the
issue in depth, and the veterinarians with whom I have spoken have
told me that they have seen dogs whose hips were formed perfectly,
and yet the dog couldn't walk. Then they've seen dogs whose hips
showed all signs of not being able to walk, and they walked fine.
However, for the most part hip dysplasia is when the femur head
does not fit correctly into the hip socket.
Man has increased the level of hip dysplasia we are seeing because
of inbreeding. Many "breeders" will breed father to daughter and
grandfather to granddaughter because they want to pass on some
strong traits the dogs have; however, when they do this they also
pass along weak traits. Due to this inbreeding we are seeing a
great amount of hip dysplasia.
Cats have hip trouble and horses have hip trouble, but there is a
lower number of people breeding cats, and the horse associations
keep a fairly tight reign on horse breeding. However, with dogs a
guy has a buddy who has the same breed of dog, and they think it is
profitable to breed, so "let's have a litter." This produces
puppies that whose backgrounds were not well researched and
planned, who might have just an occasional problem with a few
things but not real serious. Then that dog is bed to another dog
whose background is not well researched and that dog also has an
occasional problem, then those two dogs are bred , and the owner
likes the way one of the male pups looks so he keeps it and breeds
it to mom, and we've deteriorated the breed further.
I am not trying to say that a good breeder doesn't have a rare
dysplastic dog in his litter, but the key word is "rare." When you
are choosing a puppy, find out if the breeder has ever had a
dysplastic pup before, find out if any of the dam's litter, or any
of the sire's litter has had hip problems. Look at the dog's
pedigree, and if you see signs of inbreeding, look for a different
breeder. Once you obtain a pup, "do not overfeed it."
I was once given a Rottweiler *** that was on medication because
of "hip dysplasia." The dog was approximately twenty pounds over
weight, and when her weight was reduced, she didn't have any hip
problems at all. Feed quality food. Do not buy the cheapest dog
food on the market and expect your dog to develop well. Choose a
dog food, which your veterinarian recommends. In the previous
responses the people discussed larger dogs having hip problems, but
very often this is due to the fact that the animals were not
provided with a quality dog food during their developing months.
My sister-in-law purchased a German Shepard pup, and knowing that
they have weak hips I asked her what she was feeding. When she
told me the name brand I told her that if she wanted that pup to be
able to walk when it was older to change to a quality food. She
did, and the pup is doing beautifully a year later.
Be cautious of calling a dog dysplastic before it is two years
of age. Al dogs grow in stages: first their front, and then their
hind quarters. During these stages it is difficult for a dog to
learn to use its added growth, and it may be uncoordinated and
spastic until the front end catches up.
Good luck with future dogs; I'm sorry about the one you had to have
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