Hip Dysplasia in Boxer Dogs
Posted on Jun 25, 2012 by Tim Sacora at DOGS HEALTH
Boxers are proud, playful and fun-loving dogs, loyal to their family and friends, and particularly to children.
Boxers are naturally suspicious of strangers and consequently make excellent watch dogs. They can also be trained to be guard dogs. Boxers are intelligent and alert, but can be stubborn at times. Because of this stubbornness, early obedience training is usually recommended. Boxers are full of energy and require long and regular walks to control their enthusiasm.
Besides making excellent family companions and guard dogs, Boxers often participate in obedience, tracking, and agility contests. Due to their natural instincts, Boxers are also used as Search and Rescue Dogs as well as Therapy Dogs.
Hip dysplasia is a legacy disease passed through the genes of a dog€™s parents or grandparents, but can also be acquired through environmental factors. Statistics prove that loose-hipped Boxer dogs that mate with one another will give birth to Boxer puppies prone to hip dysplasia.
Obesity is also a risk factor for the development of hip dysplasia in a Boxer. Obesity in dogs is usually caused by feeding them manufactured dog food that is over-supplemented with extra proteins, vitamins and minerals to make puppies grow faster. This fast growth of puppies can create orthopaedic problems in some breeds of dogs like Boxers, resulting in hip dysplasia and arthritis.
When a dog has hip dysplasia, it has an abnormal development of the ball and socket joint that makes up the hip. The ball and the socket don€™t fit together correctly, resulting in painful and damaging friction between the two parts. When a dog places its weight on the joint, the friction strains the joint capsule that produces joint fluid. The straining then damages the cartilage and leads to the release of inflammatory proteins within the joint. The cartilage is eventually destroyed and becomes inflamed, causing the pain symptoms associated with hip dysplasia and arthritis.
Like any other breed of dogs, Boxer dogs with hip dysplasia experience the same signs and symptoms as other dogs, including decreased activity, difficulty getting up and lying down, rear limb lameness, a reluctance to use the stairs, and an unwillingness to jump or stand on its hind limbs.
Some owners opt for surgery or even a total hip replacement, hoping for a complete recovery from dysplasia. But all too often there are complications during recovery, requiring the removal of the hip implants. There are also non-surgical methods for treating hip dysplasia such as pain medications, weight loss programs, controlled exercise, and physical therapy.
A proven and effective treatment for dogs suffering from hip dysplasia is with a regimen of Winston's Joint System, a combination of three, totally-natural whole food supplements developed by a Naturopathic Doctor for his own dog. With Winston€™s there are no dangerous drugs with their often serious side-effects.
Winston's provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue. Within the first 30 days of treatment, dogs on Winston's Joint System show noticeable and often remarkable improvement.
In order to reduce the incidence of hip dysplasia in Boxer dogs, careful breeding is the best measure of prevention. It isn't always easy to avoid breeding Boxers with the intent of avoiding the eventual development of hip dysplasia because it's so difficult to detect hip dysplasia in dogs that don't show signs of the disease.
A proper diet can also help to prevent hip dysplasia. Avoid feeding puppies over-supplemented, high-protein food, thereby avoiding too rapid weight gain. Dogs fed calorie-limited diets will reach the same adult size more slowly but with a reduced possibility of developing hip dysplasia.
It is always best to consult with your veterinarian regarding specific diets and proper feeding schedules to minimize the risk of your puppy or young dog developing life-threatening hip dysplasia. Many veterinarians recommend x-rays of at-risk breeds like Boxers, so have your Boxer checked for hip dysplasia in order to keep it healthy and active and able to enjoy a long, happy, disease-free life.