If you have a dog or plan on getting one soon, you probably know just how energetic these furry friends can be. They love to run, jump, hop, and play on a daily basis.
Although many breeds can be given the title of playful and athletic, these characteristics especially apply to the beautiful Australian Shepherd.
This breed is loving, intelligent, and energetic, but it can also suffer from a few hip issues depending on its genetics. It’s no surprise that a dog that spends most of its time on its feet might have some issues when it comes to hip problems.
Not every dog will suffer from this condition, but it’s best to understand the signs and symptoms to help prevent and treat any issues that may arise in the future.
If you have concerns about the health of your Australian Shepherd and their potential for hip dysplasia, keep reading to learn more.
What is an Australian Shepherd?
If you want to add one of these beautiful dogs to your home, it might be a good idea to know a little more about the breed first. Aussies are incredibly intelligent dogs that thrive on mental stimulation.
This dog is most commonly used to herd cattle and watch over livestock on farms, but they do just fine in regular homes as well. They are loving and easygoing and will do well with children or other pets due to their calm nature.
They also come in a variety of colors that range from whites, browns, and tricolors and they weigh about 40-60 pounds when fully grown.
Due to their love of working and stimulation, they can often become anxious or bored when left to their own devices, so try to keep them busy for a few hours a day at least.
Where does the Australian shepherd Originate from?
Despite its name, the Australian Shepherd does not actually originate from Australia. There have been multiple sources that have debated the true origins, but the most common theory is that they were originally Spanish herding dogs.
They were taken from Spain to Australia and then moved to the United States, thus earning the name Australian Shepherd from people in the U.S. Their intelligence and natural desire to herd made them a very helpful and sought-after breed.
Are Aussies prone to hip dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia in dogs is more common than most people think. It’s mainly seen in larger dogs, but Australian Shepherds are also prone to this disease as well.
Normally, the ball and socket of the hip joint move together smoothly, but hip dysplasia causes abnormalities that can make it hard or even impossible for the dog to walk without pain.
Due to their active and playful nature, it will be easy to spot when symptoms of hip pain arise. If you notice that your dog is limping and whimpering, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible to see if they may be struggling with hip dysplasia.
Depending on the severity of the condition and the genetics of the dog, you may even notice symptoms at a young age, so ask your vet to check and see if this is something you should be concerned about.
Can Aussies suffer from other hip problems besides dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is awful by itself, but there are unfortunately other conditions that can cause hip problems in your Aussie as well.
Two common disorders that Aussies face are called Hypertrophic osteodystrophy and osteoarthritis. Both disorders cause pain in the bones of your pet which can lead to degeneration within the muscles and joints.
Osteoarthritis is typically found in older dogs, but there is always a chance that it can present at an earlier age. Look for limping and signs of pain in your Aussie, and take them to your vet when you can to discuss potential treatment options.
What other health problems can Australian Shepherds suffer from?
Along with potential hip problems, Aussies might also have to deal with eye issues as well. They are overall a pretty healthy breed, but they are predisposed to a few concerning conditions that you should look out for.
Along with hip issues, Australian Shepherds are prone to blindness and eye infections. Again, genetics do play a pretty big role in the health of your Aussie, so they may never experience any of these symptoms at all.
Just be sure to watch for any concerning signs that your dog might be struggling so that you can get treatment for them as soon as possible.
How do you prevent and treat hip dysplasia in Australian Shepherds?
While it may be scary to know that there are so many potential ways that your Aussie can suffer, you can feel better knowing that treatment and prevention methods do exist.
Prevention is always better than treatment, so if you can, take measures to keep the hip dysplasia at bay for as long as possible.
Remaining active and keeping your dog at a normal weight are two great methods you can use to help prevent or delay these issues from appearing.
Your vet should start by doing an exam to make sure the diagnosis is hip dysplasia and not something else, they can do this by conducting a physical exam or ordering an x-ray.
If your Aussie is diagnosed with hip dysplasia, there are non-invasive treatment options you can consider first. Physical therapy can help to maintain the strength in the leg, hip braces are also an option to consider if surgery is too expensive.
If the hip dysplasia is too severe, surgery to correct the issue is also an option, and will most likely yield the best results. Have a conversation with your vet to discuss the severity of the condition and the best way to treat it.
From the moment we see our four-legged friends, we want the best for them. It’s hard to look at your dog and see them suffering in any way, shape, or form, but some issues aren’t preventable.
Hip dysplasia is fairly common in dogs, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. If you notice any signs or symptoms of hip dysplasia in your Australian Shepherd, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to see what your options are.
Aussies are a fun, loving, and intelligent breed that works well on a farm in the country or in a suburban family home.
This breed has so many amazing qualities, so don’t let the potential for hip dysplasia keep you from bringing one home. Rest easy knowing that you have all the information you need to give your Aussie a good chance at a happy and healthy life.