Rottweilers are one of the sturdiest and strongest dog breeds. However, hip dysplasia in Rottweilers is a common health issue owing to their genes. Shockingly, nearly 20% of Rottweilers have hip dysplasia, which is why it is important to factor in pet costs and breeds in order to be aware of potential medical challenges before they arise.
What is hip dysplasia?
Dysplasia means abnormal growth and hip dysplasia refers to abnormal hips. When it comes to hip dysplasia in Rottweilers, the issue can be mild or severe. When it’s severe, it can entirely disable an active dog. However, even when it’s mild, hip dysplasia can make moving around painful and hard for Rottweilers. And, since Rottweilers are big, it becomes quite difficult for their owners to help them sit inside a car or climb the stairs.
It’s therefore important to be aware of the condition if you have a Rottweiler so that you can identify hip dysplasia, provide proper care, and know-how to treat it.
The Rottweiler breed
One of the main characteristics of Rottweilers is that they are intelligent and self-confident. When you properly socialize and train a Rottweiler, they become devoted and affectionate furry pals.
Rotties are very active, which is why they love to play catch or go with you for a long hike or run in the mountains or woods. These dogs are great for activities that involve strength and endurance. Like most other dogs, Rottweilers want companionship and attention from their owners and if they don’t get it, they are likely to get destructive and bored.
However, if your Rottweiler is well-trained and happy, he or she can be both an efficient watchdog and a great buddy to your kids. These dogs make great friends since they are always keen to please others.
How to identify hip dysplasia in Rottweilers
It’s important to be able to identify signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia in your Rottweiler, so you can take your pooch to the veterinary practice before the condition worsens.
Mild hip dysplasia can be seen in Rottweilers from as young as 4 or 5 years old. And even if your pooch’s parents didn’t suffer from hip dysplasia, your pup can still develop this condition owing to a genetic mutation. Let us take a look at some of the symptoms of hip dysplasia in Rottweilers:
1. Changes in activity level
If your Rottweiler has hip dysplasia, he or she will slow down or completely avoid some activities. For instance, your furry friend might not go on long walks or any walks at all and he might hesitate to climb or go down the stairs.
Moreover, you would see a change in your Rottweiler’s excitement level when you walk through the door. This is because dysplasia makes the hip area painful from day-to-day activities.
2. The walking style
Rottweilers that have hip dysplasia walk with a ‘bunny hop.’ This means their rear legs move simultaneously instead of one by one. You might notice your Rottweiler limping when it has hip dysplasia. Moreover, in the morning, there is stiffness in the dog’s walking style, which generally goes away over the day.
3. Consult a vet
A vet can conduct a full physical, orthopedic exam on your Rottweiler. They might also sedate your dog to take some x-rays. The x-rays of your dog’s hip will help the vet diagnose hip dysplasia. In this condition, the top of the thigh bone or femur of the dog does not fit properly in the hip socket and might have additional bone growth, resulting in grinding and rubbing rather than sliding smoothly.
So, now that you know how to diagnose hip dysplasia in your Rottweiler, here’s how to treat it…
How to treat hip dysplasia in Rottweilers
Unfortunately, hip dysplasia doesn’t have a cure. Still, you can make your pooch’s life a lot more comfortable with one of two treatments:
- Medical or non-surgical treatment
- Surgical treatment
Let us take a look at how you can help your four-legged friend with medical or non-surgical treatments:
1. Change your dog’s exercise routine
Make sure you maintain a controlled exercise routine for your Rottweiler in order to improve its motion range, enhance its joint stability, and maintain its muscle tone. You can start with swimming or short walks since these have a low impact on your dog’s joints. When you take your dog out for a walk, ensure you do so on the grass since grass provides more cushioning as compared to asphalt or hard concrete.
Try to avoid activities, such as jumping and running, since these put a high impact on dogs. However, you have to see which exercise works for your Rottweiler and which don’t. Most importantly, make sure you make your Rottweiler exercise every day – even if it’s for very short bursts.
2. Control your pet’s weight
Extra weight can put more pressure on your dog’s joints, which is why you must reduce its calorie intake. Talk to your vet about nutritious and low-calorie diets if your pooch could lose a few pounds, or read unbiased dog food reviews for Rottweilers on sites like Pup Junkies.
One way to reduce the calorie intake of your Rottweiler is to swap treats bought from the store with healthy treats, such as orange slices and carrot sticks. Alternatively, you could completely remove treats from your Rottweiler’s diet or cut them down to once a week.
Exercising regularly can also help your furry friend lose weight. However, you must ensure that the weight loss in your dog should be gradual. You take ask your vet about the ideal weight of your furry pal and how much time will it take to achieve that ideal weight.
3. Provide a warm and comfortable sleeping-place
You can buy a comfortable Rottweiler dog bed or an orthopedic foam bed, which will make it easy for your dog to get into and out of the bed without feeling extreme pain in their poor hips. Make sure you put the bed in a warm area in your home where there is no wind.
Apart from these non-surgical treatments, you can opt for surgical options. Of course, in this case, you will need to consult with your vet who will tell you everything about the surgery and the various risks.
You should take proper care of your Rottweiler if it has hip dysplasia. Some of the common causes of this condition include genetics, environment, and improper nutrition. Moreover, unethical breeding practices can also increase the chances of severe hip dysplasia in these dogs. If you detect hip dysplasia early, it would make it easier for you to treat it. Therefore, you must regularly take your Rottweiler to your vet.