CWD health

Hyp dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a hereditary, non-congenital bone disease because it does not manifest at birth, but develops with the growth of the puppy and can appear from 4 or 5 months of age, and is
also degenerative; Produced by a malformation of the hip joint (union of the acetabulum of the hip and the femoral head); Which can produce pain and even limp in the animal that suffers from
it, and difficulty to sit or climb stairs. The age of presentation varies between 4 months in the most extreme cases and 12 months. However, before 4 months can perform the test of PennHip
where you can determine the odds for a puppy to develop dysplasia, but never diagnose it since it is not until 4 months when there is sufficient development of them. Cases of hip dysplasia are
usually bilateral.
It mainly affects large dog breeds or giants in which there is a rapid increase in body weight and volume in an immature skeleton and at the same time with late mineralization and
The presentation of hip dysplasia also involves environmental factors such as eating, intense physical exercise, especially in youthful ages, overweight and hormonal alterations.


The main cause is the genetic factor. A puppy free from the genes of dysplasia will never develop it. However, there are factors that affect the development or aggravation of clinical symptoms,
such as very rapid development, overweight and excessive and / or violent exercise during growth. The prone races are the large and the giant, because of its weight and its rapid growth.
Another factor that increases the speed of deterioration is the feeding; If it is inadequate there will be more chance of adverse phenotypic changes, reaching the point where it can make the
animal unable to run or even walk.
In July 2014 a California research group determined a correlation between the castration age of the puppies and hip dysplasia. In this study, which was performed with a sample of 1,500
Labradors and 1,015 Golden Retriever, it was concluded that When castration is performed prepubertally before 6 months of age, the index of joint disorders (hip dysplasia, elbow and anterior
cruciate ligament rupture) is multiplied by two in the case of the Labrador Retriever and by 4.5 times in The case of the Golden Retriever.


The severity of the dysplasia can be measured by drawing the so-called Norberg angle. This is to draw on an x-ray a line from the center of one head of the femur to the center of the other.
Subsequently, from both ends another line is drawn through the dorsal acetabular border, forming an angle with the anterior one. Depending on the amplitude of the angle, we have to:

  • No dysplasia if it is greater than 105º.
  • If it measures between 100-105º, the animal has mild dysplasia.
  • If it measures between 90-100º, the dysplasia is moderate. It is accompanied by degenerative joint disease and flattening of the acetabulum.
  • If it measures less than 90º, the dysplasia is severe. May experience dislocation
Treatment and prevention

There are several degrees of dysplasia, depending on which treatment will be conservative or surgical.
Conservative treatment usually consists of the administration of chondroprotectors (for long periods, slowing the development of the disease) and anti-inflammatory / analgesic (NSAIDs, in
times of more pain). Good results have also been observed by reducing overweight and keeping the puppy as thin as possible within the healthy, since a lower weight of the animal puts less
stress on diseased joints.
Surgical treatment offers different possibilities: there are curative and other palliative treatments. As for the dressings emphasizes the Triple Pelvic Osteotomy and in the palliative the
Arthroplasty by Excession of the Head of the Femur. There are other surgical options, similar to those of human medicine, which consist of the replacement of the hip joint by a prosthesis,
which can either be cemented or not cemented.

It is important that when purchasing the puppy an official certificate is requested that both parents and grandparents are free of the disease; This breeding standard has achieved significant
results in reducing its incidence in the United States and Europe.
However, that the parents are free of dysplasia does not necessarily imply that their offspring do not develop it, because it is a polygenetic disease.
In the case of the Labrador Retriever, there is currently a “Dysgen” test that has 95% reliability. [The main advantage of this test is that it can be performed within a few weeks of life, before the
appearance of radiological signs Of dysplasia in puppies. In addition, it is a very effective method to avoid the propagation of genes by the parents since they can be carriers and do not
manifest clinical signs of dysplasia, something that the Dysgen test would be able to detect.
Other considerations are: avoiding overweight during growth, not subjecting the puppy to excessive exercise, providing the animal with a diet suited to his needs and avoid being on floors
where he can slip. In cases accused of hip dysplasia (or osteoarthritis) the dog can maintain part of his mobility by using a dog wheelchair

Elbow dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is a developmental disorder. It consists of a bone disorder that starts with arthritis and triggers an osteoarthrosis.
This disease usually occurs in dogs of large and giant breeds (German Shepherd, Labrador, Saint Bernard, Rottweiler, Mastin Napolitano, etc.), the process can be uni or bilateral with males
being affected more frequently than females.
Its origin is genetic multifactorial and is transmitted to the offspring, but the appearance of this pathology also obeys to the environment, the feeding, the corporal weight, the firmness of
ligaments, physical exercise, traumatisms.
At the level of the elbow can produce three different types of osteoarthrosis alterations:

  • Non-union anconeus process
  • Osteochondritis dissecans
  • Fragmentation of coronoid processes

In general, in all three of the first symptoms appear during growth (4 and 5 months of age), the dog presents intolerance to exercise, which is manifested by lameness, this can be when
starting a movement, or after prolonged exercise.
In some cases, in which osteoarthritis is very discreet, the dog can maintain an almost normal degree of activity throughout his life.
The diagnosis is arrived at by the clinic, sum of symptoms and signs collected in the anamnesis that the veterinarian will have to perform, besides requesting x-rays.
The only one of these pathologies that presents radiological symptoms at the age of four to seven months, is the ancone process, the remainder from the year.
The earlier the diagnosis is made, the better treatment can be established, thus avoiding the formation of an osteoarthritis that, on the one hand, will produce pain, and on the other, will limit
the functional capacity of the affected elbow for the rest of the dog’s life, With the consequent disorders caused to it.


Treatment should always be surgical, depending on the degree and age of the lesion. First, spontaneous resolution should be attempted, and although some authors give rest because of the
pain it produces, it is preferable to administer analgesia.


Dogs of predisposed breeds and that have an early and large development should be given a diet avoiding excessive protein, as well as the abuse of calcium and vitamins.
During the growth stage, exercise should be limited by avoiding games in which the dog jumps (eg frisby) and avoid small repetitive injuries, which predispose to produce or aggravate injuries.
Genetic control: It is demonstrated that heredity influences the appearance of elbow dysplasia, it is recommended to restrict the reproduction of those who suffer from the disease, regardless
of whether the degree of affection is large or small (this will avoid in the long run extending This serious pathology)

Degenerative myelopathy

It is a degenerative disease of the spinal cord also called “German Shepherd’s Degenerative Myelopathy” due to the occurrence of particular cases in this breed. However, it is a disease
described in other races, especially large or giant; Can also occur in the cat.
MD results in the first clinical symptoms between the ages of 5 and 14 years, but may also occur in younger animals. Predilection for sex is shown.


The cause is still unknown.
There are several hypotheses, but none have shown reliable scientific evidence.
These hypotheses range from the most reliable that speaks of nutritional deficiencies and degenerative problems and autoimmune mechanisms. In fact, to support the first hypothesis,
concomitant chronic enteropathy associated with abnormal proliferation of bacteria in the small intestine, malabsorption, and reduced blood levels of vitamin E and vitamin B12 have been
reported in some DM patients.
However, administration of vitamin B12 by injection into dogs was ineffective in curbing the development of symptoms.
In addition, a recent study with 25 dogs with degenerative myelopathy excludes vitamin E deficiencies from possible causes of the disease.
The immuno-mediated hypothesis, however, is supported by the finding of alteration of cell-mediated responses and lymphocyte infiltrate in various organs in dogs with degenerative
Some authors, finally, believe that it is a degenerative disease in the late development of genetic basis.

Clinical symptoms

Proprioceptive deficits are significant, given the ataxia of the hind limbs and mild paraparesis.
Lack of coordination is much more evident in paralysis. This aspect allows the physician to advance towards a suspicion of degenerative myelopathy, more than other diseases of the bone
The absence of a painful response to the palpation of the spine and the set of factors such as insignificant responses to treatment with NSAIDs or corticosteroids and the inability of the owner
to determine the onset of symptoms support the suspicion of degenerative myelopathy.
In the examination of spinal reflex points in the early stages of the disease, normal or patellar hypereflexia is observed and in the most advanced lumbar hipporeflexia.
Sphincter control is usually preserved.
The evolution of progressive worsening of clinical symptoms occurs in a period between 6 and 36 months, but on average paraplegia is established in 12 months. In this case, many of these
patients are subjected to euthanasia.


Myelography of the thoracic and lumbar spinal cord to exclude compression pathologies and examination of the cerebrospinal fluid are convenient to ensure diagnosis.


There is no proven treatment protocol.
A combination of exercise, vitamin supplements and aminocaproic acid is used.
Moderate swimming and physical therapy are useful in preventing atrophy by disuse of hindlegs.
B vitamins and vitamin E reduce degeneration of the nervous system.
Aminocaproic acid appears to slow the progression of the disease as a function of its antiprotease activity.
The use of corticosteroids, the doses of immunosuppressants, is to be used only in limited periods of time and in the recurrence of symptoms.
The prognosis of these animals is bad.
There are products on the market such as biko brace or thermal blankets for dogs that can help improve ambulation, improve clinical signs, reduce ataxia, do not “cure” the disease but improve


Histopathological lesions extended to the white matter of the spinal cord. These can affect the entire bone, but are generally concentrated in the thoracic and cranial lumbar flow segments.
Some authors exclude involvement of the brain, however, recently isolated brain stem lesions have been implicated and clinical consideration is still unclear.