German shepherds are well-known for being intelligent, loyal, and physically strong. This is why they have been a favorite among canine lovers over the years. It’s also imperative to mention that German shepherds are active members in police departments, rescue units, and military units around the globe.

German shepherds also excel at being household companions and world-class show dogs. It’s fair to say that this breed is a well-rounded dog.

Despite their impressive physical prowess, these loving dogs can develop health issues. German shepherd hip dysplasia is one health ailment owners need to keep a close eye on.

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is a dog skeletal condition that can be trigger by environmental factors or traumatic fractures. Malformation takes place at the ball and joint socket or both hips.

X-rays help veterinarians diagnose canine hip dysplasia. There’s a serious problem when the ball and hip socket does not connect properly. The loose hip rubs on the socket when the dog walks or run. As a result, burn spurs can develop.

Bone spurs can cause degenerative joint disease, hip joint pain, and lethargy. Fortunately, there are treatment options for canine hip dysplasia.

Symptoms of Canine Hip Dysplasia

Look at your shepherd’s hind legs closely? Do they appear bent? If so, your beloved canine is the product of hind leg breeding.

What is hind leg breeding?

This is where breeders want their shepherds to have a 90-degree angulation. This may be impressive in the eyes of some shepherd lovers, but this can cause serious health problems. It’s not unusual for German shepherds with angulated legs to have back problems.

Bent legs can be a clear indication of German shepherd hip dysplasia. If your dog struggles with walking up the stairs, you should get in touch with the veterinarian. They will give your beloved canine a full examination.

Unfortunately, canine hip dysplasia is irreversible. However, it can be monitored and treated. This will minimize chronic pain, and extend your dog’s life.

Recent studies conducted by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals uncovered that 19.7% of German shepherds born between 2011 and 2015, suffered from hip dysplasia. These studies have helped scientists develop effective treatments for this canine ailment.

CHD has a wide range of signs. The looseness of the joint and severity of the disease plays a role in the diagnosis.

Here are some symptoms of German shepherd hip dysplasia: small range of motion, limping, “bunny hop” gait, lameness in the hind legs, etc.

Is the pain severe?

The pain can range from mild to extreme. In some instances, owners were forced to get a wheelchair for their shepherd.

Surgery for hip dysplasia is an option on the table, but it’s expensive. This includes Juvenile Pubic Symphysiodesis, Femoral Head Osteotomy, and Triple Pelvic Osteotomy. Please keep in mind that these procedures can run from $1,000 to $3,000 per hip. As you can see, this may not be an affordable option for some shepherd owners.

If the case is severe, Total Hip Replacement is another option that can be taken into consideration. However, this can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000.

Invasive surgery may not be the best choice for your furry friend. You can check out non-surgical medical options. This includes weight management, massage therapy, and physical therapy. You can also try anti-inflammatory medicine and glucosamine supplements.

Some shepherd owners opt to put their dogs in leg braces. They can slow down the progression of this nagging issue.

limping german shepherd

Several Other German Shepherd Hip Problems

When it comes to physical problems, German shepherds normally show clear signs of weakness in their hips and hind legs.

Here are four common problems associated with German shepherd hip dysplasia:

1. Hock Walking

Your canine’s hock is the joint at the back of their leg. It’s located between the hind foot and lower thigh. Some shepherds are accustomed to standing and walking on their hocks. This can put a tremendous amount of pressure on their hips. They will walk around with an irregular gait.

A Hock Holder is probably your best solution for this problem. The Hock Holder is designed to support the hock and relieve stress.

2. Degenerative Myelopathy

There’s a strong possibility that you may have heard of degenerative myelopathy. It is a progressive, chronic, and fatal disease. Sadly, it’s common in this breed.

Degenerative myelopathy typically affects dogs between the ages of five and fourteen. It has a negative impact on the dog’s muscle coordination and spinal column. If it’s not treated, it can cause paralysis within the back legs.

You must contact the veterinarian immediately when you notice something wrong with your dog. You cannot afford to procrastinate. If you do, you are putting your dog’s health in jeopardy.

3. Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis normally takes place in older dogs. Cartilage deterioration causes inflammation in the hip joints. When this happens, your beloved canine will begin to walk slower. They will also have difficulty walking on stairs.

With little cartilage between the joints, the bones will grind against each other. This causes a severe case of inflammation.

A good brace is usually recommended for this medical situation. It will not cure arthritis, but it will provide relief for your canine.

4. Canine Myasthenia Gravis

We cover German shepherd hip dysplasia without discussing canine myasthenia gravis. This is where the signal transmission fails to take place between the muscles and nerves. This leads to fatigue and weakness in the muscles.

Unlike CHD, canine myasthenia gravis signs normally surface in the canine’s face. Braces will work fine, but they will not help the canine overcome the dreadful disease.

Final Word

German shepherds are loyal and loving dogs. Their size makes it easy for them to defend their owners with pure ease.

As a German shepherd owner, you must be ready to deal with German shepherd hip dysplasia. Taking heed to the critical information in this article can help you and your canine deal with this problem effectively.