When to Put a Dog Down With Hip Dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is a degenerative disease causing pain in the joints, making mobility difficult, and decreasing life expectancy. If your dog has hip dysplasia, it is important to know when to euthanize him.

When to put a dog down with hip dysplasia

My dog has hip dysplasia should I put him down?

As dog owners, it is incredibly difficult to say goodbye, but our ability to let our pets go should not outweigh the pain they are suffering. Their quality of life should always be the priority.

Your veterinarian can help you make the best decision to ease your dog’s pain and keep him as comfortable as possible. If he is having difficulty getting up, jumping or playing, a veterinarian may recommend surgery to repair the hip joint. If the condition has progressed, your dog may be in pain and not able to do the things he loves.

In the case that your dog has had surgery, his therapy sessions and/or pain medication are not effectively controlling his pain and he has severely limited movement, you should consider euthanizing your dog as an option.

Is hip dysplasia painful?

The short answer is yes. Hip dysplasia in dogs is painful, and dogs will take any measures necessary to avoid putting pressure on their hips, making pain a daily struggle.

Luckily, there is a treatment for hip dysplasia, but it requires surgery. It’s important to start early because dogs can live normal lives after surgery. Early treatment is also less expensive than surgery later in life.

What is the best treatment for hip dysplasia?

When your dog is first diagnosed with hip dysplasia, your veterinarian will have a few options of treatment available, especially if the condition is new.

They may recommend a gentle exercise schedule and regular hydrotherapy or physiotherapy session, as well as a pain management plan using anti-inflammatory pain medication. Putting your dog on a calorie-controlled diet to reduce weight gain will also help to manage their condition.

In more severe cases, your dog may require surgery. This may involve a partial or full hip replacement or surgeries that alter the anatomy of the hip.

How much does it cost to fix hip dysplasia in dogs?

THR (total hip replacement) is widely used to treat canine hip dysplasia. For most large breeds, the average costs are $3,500 to $7,000 per hip. Labradors and Golden Retrievers (the most popular breeds in the USA) usually cost $5,000 per hip but can reach up to $10,000.

What are the first signs of canine hip dysplasia?

The earliest signs of hip dysplasia in dogs include decreased activity, decreased range of motion, and lameness in the hind legs. If untreated, your dog will experience difficulty or reluctance rising, jumping, running or climbing stairs. He may also develop an unsteady gait with a “bunny hop” motion as he tries to move around.

Your veterinarian will observe your dog walking to determine if they have an abnormal gait, which is often displayed as a sway of the back end when your dog walks. They will also perform a full body examination looking for indications of stiffness or pain.

Finally, they will perform radiographs to get a better look at your dog’s hip joints. If your dog is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, they may be referred to an orthopedic surgeon.

What is hip dysplasia in dogs?

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition that causes the dog’s hip joints to develop abnormally. In a healthy hip joint, the ball joint of the femur (thigh bone) fits snugly into the hip socket.

A dog with hip dysplasia may have a shallow hip socket, a deformed ball joint or both. This means the ball joint does not sit in the socket as it should. As they age, this begins to cause swelling and pain.

Large breed dogs are more susceptible to hip dysplasia, but any dog has the chance of developing the condition if either one or both of their parents also had it.

Responsible dog breeders will have their dogs screened for hip dysplasia and will not breed from dogs who have the condition, even if they are not displaying any signs of pain or walking difficulties.

Conclusion of euthanizing a dog with hip dysplasia

My advice is to not quit doing what you are doing. If your dog has hip dysplasia, and you have been treating it with medications and supplements, keep doing that. It may be helping him a great deal. If he is still wagging his tail when you come home, he still seems to enjoy life to a degree, then I would continue with the medications and supplements.

If the dog is in pain, if he seems miserable and depressed, if he can’t walk or go outdoors much or do any of the things he used to do, then perhaps it is time to put him down. Don’t wait until he has been suffering for months or years.

There is no hard and fast rule about when to euthanize a dog with hip dysplasia. It’s an individual decision based on the circumstances of each case.

Your veterinarian is the best person to help you make this decision. They will be able to tell you how advanced your dog’s condition is, and what symptoms they can expect in the future.

Some of the factors that might influence your decision include:

  • The age of your dog
  • How much pain they are in
  • How much difficulty they are having moving around
  • Whether they are still enjoying life or have become withdrawn or depressed

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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