If you have or are thinking about getting a bulldog, there are several things you should know about this dog breed. A question to ask is, are English bulldogs prone to getting hip Dysplasia?
English bulldogs are susceptible to hip dysplasia and are one of the breeds most prone to the disorder. Hip dysplasia is caused by the femur head and hip socket growing at different rates, leading to misalignment in the joint. Maintaining a healthy weight and taking joint supplements can help.
What is hip dysplasia?
Canine hip dysplasia is a skeletal condition found in many different dog breeds. Essentially, it is a malformation of the dog’s skeleton. Although multiple factors come into play when it comes to hip dysplasia, such as diet or exercise, it is mainly developed due to bad genes. Hip dysplasia is the result of improper development in the hip joints resulting in possible dislocations and other chronic ailments, such as arthritis.
To understand hip dysplasia, you must get to know the two essential parts in a dog’s hip joint: the femur and the pelvis. Both bones must grow equally to work properly. If the pelvis outgrows the femur or rather, the femoral head, the hip joint might become loose. As a result, the femoral head starts to move around inside the pelvis instead of locking in when the dog walks or runs. That improper skeletal growth and the resulting poor biomechanics is what veterinarians call hip dysplasia.
Even though hip dysplasia is bad news, it does not mean the end of a dog’s healthy lifestyle. Canine medicine has advanced enough to give your dog comfort if he is suffering from this ailment. It can be fixed via surgical operations, but this is not advised unless the hip dysplasia is overly severe.
Do bulldogs get hip dysplasia?
One would like to believe short, stocky, good looking dogs such as bulldogs would not have to suffer such a problem thanks to their anatomical structure. But, quite the contrary. Sadly, bulldogs are a breed that are quite prone to suffer from hip dysplasia. Because of that, you must check your bulldog for signs of hip dysplasia, even if he/she seems to have been born healthy. In general, bulldogs susceptible to hip dysplasia are more likely to develop it after their fifth month.
What makes bulldogs susceptible to hip dysplasia?
There are three reasons as to why bulldogs are susceptible to hip dysplasia.
1. Genetic disposition:
As with many health traits, your bulldogs family and genetic background can help determine whether or not he/she will be susceptible to hip dysplasia.
This is why it is so important to do your research and find a good, reputable breeder. If you find a good breeder, he or she will make sure bulldogs with hip dysplasia aren’t used to breed, as they can pass down their genetic predisposition for this ailment. If a bulldog has hip dysplasia, there is a 90 percent chance their offspring will have it as well.
A bad or careless breeder could potentially not realize or not care about having puppies who come from bulldogs that are genetically predisposed to hip dysplasia. Professional, responsible breeders will have a certificate from an institution such as the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals to demonstrate that their bulldogs do not have hip dysplasia or any other deformity or health problems for that matter.
2. Improper nutrition:
Heavier dogs are more prone to suffer from hip dysplasia. If you have an overweight bulldog, your dog could eventually develop hip joint problems. This could be the case for any dog, but you must be extra careful when it comes to bulldogs as they are not as active as other dogs and tend to pack weight more easily. Nutrition also plays an important role in the health of your bulldog’s bones. Improper nutrition can lead to weak bones which could also result in hip dysplasia.
3. Lack of exercise:
Since bulldogs do have a tendency to put on weight easily, it is important to ensure that they get enough exercise, in addition to feeding them properly. Even if your bulldog doesn’t have hip dysplasia, obesity in dogs is a serious problem.
But remember while exercise is good, it should be done in moderation. Several short walks are better than fewer long walks. They are a rather lazy breed and do not like exercise too much and get tired easily, so it is best to keep them engaged with shorter walks.
What other dog breeds get hip dysplasia?
All dog breeds can be affected by hip dysplasia, unfortunately. Smaller breeds are not affected as much as bigger and larger breeds. The main victims of hip dysplasia are Mastiffs, German Shepherds, Great Danes, Rottweilers, and St. Bernards. Bulldogs, as previously mentioned, are also largely affected by hip dysplasia and and one of the few smaller breeds to be in this category.
What are some symptoms of hip dysplasia?
There are several warning signs when it comes to hip dysplasia. Even though they are not unique to this ailment, if your bulldog shows more than one of these symptoms, he or she might be suffering from hip dysplasia.
Pain and discomfort around the hip area:
Hip dysplasia results in the hip joint receiving constant friction when the dog moves. This can become quite painful as bones rub against each other damaging and eventually breaking down the hip’s cartilage. If your dog seems uncomfortable or whines when you touch his or her hip area, it might be a sign of hip dysplasia.
Pain when walking:
If your dog is showing signs of pain when he or she walks, that is another sign that he or she might be suffering from hip dysplasia. Movement is more painful than standing still, because movement of the bones causes more friction in the hip joint.
Inability to climb or go down stairs:
Everyday activities like climbing stairs or hopping into your car can become difficult and painful if your dog suffers from hip dysplasia. Another consequence of hip dysplasia is arthritis, making normal activities, such as climbing the stairs, extremely painful to perform.
Difficulties peeing or pooping:
If your dog suffers from hip dysplasia, it will become extremely hard for him or her to lift their hind legs or to squat when they go to the bathroom. Hip dysplasia can turn discharging into a painful scenario, and you need to be aware of any cries of pain or discomfort.
In severe cases of hip dysplasia, the pain can become so unbearable that your bulldog might be unable to use his hind legs. This might result in your dog hopping like a bunny, instead of walking normally.
Loss of muscles:
If your bulldog has hip dysplasia, he or she will avoid using their hind legs as much as possible due to the pain and discomfort. Because of this, muscle loss is likely. If you find your bulldog losing muscle in their hind legs, it might be a consequence of hip dysplasia.
Laying and sleeping in a frog position:
If your bulldog is suffering from hip dysplasia, he or she will try to avoid putting weight on their hind legs at all costs. This results in them sleeping or laying in a frog-like position, to reduce the stress on their hind legs.
If your bulldog shows signs of any of these symptoms, it’s best to take him or her to a vet for an x-ray, to find out what’s causing the discomfort.
What are the consequences of hip dysplasia?
If your bulldog is suffering from hip dysplasia, there are a handful of things that could happen. First and foremost, your bulldog will suffer from discomfort and pain around the pelvic area when moving around. This will result in a loss of mobility and possible muscle loss as your bulldog stops using their hind legs more and more. Chronic illnesses, like arthritis, can be the result of a loose hip joint, as the femoral head keeps rubbing off the pelvis.
One thing that hip dysplasia is not going to do to your bulldog is shortening your bulldog’s life expectancy. Hip dysplasia is an unfortunate ailment as it can become painful, but it is not terminal.
Can you do anything to prevent your bulldog from getting hip dysplasia?
There are two main ways to prevent hip dysplasia. The first one happens before the dog is born. Choosing the right breeder can be the difference between your puppy having a lovely, healthy lifestyle and your puppy suffering from hip dysplasia as he grows up. The second thing would be making sure your bulldog has the right diet and proper exercise routine to avoid putting on unnecessary weight which could trigger the onset of hip dysplasia.
How do you treat hip dysplasia?
There are several things you can do to ease the pain a bulldog with hip dysplasia may suffer. You can give him glucosamine supplements to improve his or her joints. Anti-inflammatory drugs can also be helpful in reducing the pain. Physical therapy can become your bulldog’s greatest ally against hip dysplasia. Swimming can also help your bulldog strengthen his or her hind legs without putting any stress on them.
Hip dysplasia is a painful ailment, so keeping your dog as comfortable as possible is important. Giving him or her a soft foam to sleep on can go a long way in helping to give them a comfortable night’s sleep. in worst case scenarios, you might have to give your bulldog a pair of wheels to allow for better mobility. Finally, you might consider hip surgery as a last resort, but keep in mind that this is a costly treatment and recovery can be lengthy as well.