| I’ve Heard of Hip Dysplasia in Pets…What
is it Though?
Hip dysplasia is a deformity of the hip joint in animals.
In plain terms, a displacement occurs in the hip joint of the
animal and the ball of the femur no longer properly fits into
the socket of the hip joint. A breakdown of the joint and abnormality
of the bones will occur over time resulting in dysplasia. This will lead to incredible pain when engaging in physical activity. Unfortunately the pain will only worsen over time.
Do Cats Suffer From Hip Dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia in cats was unheard of until recently, but current
research indicates that felines of all breeds are capable of
developing feline hip dysplasia. Large dog breeds are more
commonly diagnosed with hip dysplasia, but cats are by no means
Where Does It Come From Then?
The cause of this deformation is believed to be genetic, and
if your cat develops FHD, then both its parents either suffered
from this as well, or they were carriers for this defect. FHD
is not readily seen in kittens, as the hip bones are not fully
formed at that point. A kitten would then be born with the genetic
predisposition, and, over time, stress on the joint causes
the dislocation to occur. Subsequent abnormalities
and deformation of the hip joint ensue. This would create
walking difficulties and a cat may then appear disinterested
in playing and exercising. Your cat may also appear to be a lazy cat,
but in reality, the cat chooses not to play because it is painful.
Are Some Breeds More Likely to Get It?
All breeds of cats are capable of developing this, but those
cats who have larger bones are more prone to this disease. In larger cats, the bones may not be as cushioned as they
could be by muscles and other sinuous tissues. This leads to
a greater likelihood of dislocation of the hip joint. For example, Siamese cats are typically lighter,
smaller in size and bone structure and are therefore less likely to develop FHD. The disorder is genetic
and can be avoided by altering breeding patterns.
How Do I Know if My Cat Has FHD?
FHD is best diagnosed with the use of an x-ray of the hip joint.
This can be done by your vet, and then sent to the Orthopedic
Foundation of Animals who has a division, the Hip Dysplasia
Registry, specifically designed to analyze the x-rays of cats
suspected of having FHD. They can then tell definitively if
FHD is present in one or both hip joints. The deformity would
be clear upon this type of examination. Signs of the disorder
would be apparent as the condition
is incredibly painful and will impair a cat’s ability
to walk. This will then lead to limping, difficulties walking,
and what appears to be a general sense of laziness in the cat
(an avoidance of exercise or playing).
My Cat Has FHD…What Can I Do To Help?
There is no available treatment to completely repair the deformity
of FHD. In the most severe cases, surgery may be necessary to
fuse prosthetics into the joint. Other less radical options
will include anti-inflammatory medicines and pain reduction
medicines. For cats who are overweight, reducing the weight
problem with food adjustments may be the first step. Also removing
unnecessary exercise, such as extra jumping, is also helpful.
Additionally, many alternative treatments exist that offer
effective pain reduction. One of the leading dietary supplements
includes the use of a glucosamine product to help try to repair
the joint naturally. Many cat owners, and dog owners too, have
reported that liquid glucosamine supplements have helped to
correct some of the limping and lameness.
Be sure to visit the Glucosamine
Product Guide for a review of commercially available glucosamine