In a patient with hip dysplasia the joint is malformed. This becomes painful. The more painful it becomes, the less the patient uses the limb. As the limb is used less the muscle reduces which was supporting the joint. Therefore the joint becomes less stable and more painful and the cycle is formed.
The aim of physiotherapy is to rebuild the muscle. This then gives support to the joint and stabilises the joint, making it less painful and allowing better movement so the patient can exercise happily and maintain the muscle mass. A compliant owner and physiotherapy can avoid the need for surgery.
Below is one of my cases. Billy was diagnosed by radiograph, with hip dysplasia. He was referred to Great Western referrals. Billy was too young for surgery and told to have physiotherapy for 6 months and then reassess. He is a Labrador. Radiograph one shows the hip so weak it is highly displaced. The owner reported a mobile but severely lame dog that did not act like a puppy should. Radiograph 2 shows the hip in a far more normal position. There is Osteophyte formation but this is to be expected and the patient will also be maintained as an arthritis patient. The owner now reports a happy normal puppy who exercises regularly and without lameness. The 2nd radiograph was taken 6 months later.
Using physiotherapy gives the patient time to have a surgery free life. The patient may need surgery later in life as it is harder to maintain muscle mass in the geriatric years, but surgery can be done closer to that time.
Billy is one example of many young dogs with hip dysplasia that I have helped gain lameness free mobility within 6 months, without the need for surgery.
See what Billy's mum had to say