In general, a dog with hip dysplasia, that can run, jump and play normally, probably does not need treatment.
If signs of limping or soreness are very mild, or absent, treatment is usually not needed. It is true that dogs are more stoic than other animals, but dogs that are significantly uncomfortable, even the toughest, will show many signs of pain.
SURGICAL TREATMENT consists of saving the joint in the young, lax hip dog when the signs are detected early enough for a good result (TPO). In large dogs, recognizing the problem by 7-9 months of age will allow proper treatment. In arthritic large dogs, where function is the desired goal, Total Hip Joint Replacement (THR) is the best option. This may be done at any time after the growth plates close (usually 10 months of age). This will restore athletic function as well as stop dysfunction due to pain. In smaller dogs and in larger dogs where pain management is the only goal, Femoral head and Neck Excision Arthroplasty (FHO) is the treatment of choice. Though a salvage procedure, it can alleviate pain if proper physiotherapy is performed.
Conservative therapy can be a good option for many dogs, especially the younger ones, who may do well for an extended time once they get over their initial soreness. Management has FOUR major components: 1) WEIGHT CONTROL 2) EXERCISE RESTRICTION 3) HOLISTIC THERAPY AND 4) ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS.
WEIGHT CONTROL is the most important. Obesity causes excessively high forces to be transmitted through an already abnormal hip joint. Soreness may increase and arthritic changes may be accelerated.
EXERCISE RESTRICTIONS are needed to be effective. Full out running, jumping, and off leash play should be prohibited as much as possible. Extended walks, swimming and leash jogging can be helpful to build strength and muscle mass. DOGS DO NOT KNOW THEIR LIMITS. You must take responsibility for limiting the exercise for your pet.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS are a very important part of conservative therapy at all times and especially when soreness flares up. Aspirin can be effective, but has a high degree of GI irritation. DO NOT treat your dog yourself. Drugs such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen can be extremely toxic to dogs when given an incorrect dose.