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Joint Problems in Otterhounds

The Otterhounds is an old British dog breed of unknown origin. This breed is also known as “scent hounds”. This breed is large, has imposing head and is rough coated. The dogs of this breed were bred for the purpose of hunting. It is known for its strong body and long striding steps. These properties allow Otterhounds to perform strenuous work. This dog breed can function well both on land and in water.

Otterhounds generally weigh 80 to 120 pounds. These dogs have a very sensitive nose making them perseverant in the investigation of scents. These dogs are energetic but require supervision when are outdoors.

Like all other breeds of dogs, this breed is prone to some joint problems too. Joint is a unique structure meant for providing support to the body. Joints give support to the body, give it mobility, flexibility and bear the weight. Any disease of joints practically leaves the sufferers practically handicapped. Same is true for dogs as well. As far as the joint problems in Otterhounds are concerned, all these disease, their causes and methods of treatment and prevention are given as follows.

Joint problems in Otterhounds.

The only major joint issue associated with Otterhounds is hip and elbow dysplasia. Before we can move on to know the causes, symptoms and treatment option for these conditions, we need to know how this condition develops.

Canine hip dysplasia or simply hip dysplasia is a developmental disorder of joints, which includes improper development of hip joint. This disease is perhaps the most common cause of disability in dogs, also for Otterhounds. Normal hip joint consists of the head of femur that fits into the cavity (acetabulum) of the pelvic bone. This arrangement is held in place by the means of ligaments, tendons and muscles. However, in the case of hip dysplasia this normal structure is deranged. This derangement leads to laxity and pain in the joint. Hip joint is the weight bearing joint of the body, since the weight of the entire body transfers to this one single point. That’s why a disease of this joint leads to serious aftermaths. In the case of hip dysplasia, the head of femur doesn’t fit into the acetabulum. Instead it slips out its socket. The result is bones rubbing against each other and excruciating pain.

Similar phenomenon is seen in the case of elbow dysplasia. Elbow joint also consists of one hinge shaped bone fitting into the socket of the other bone. In the case of elbow dysplasia the arrangement is misaligned and result is joint dysfunction and joint pain.

What are the symptoms of hip and elbow dysplasia?

Your canine is not going to talk to you and tell you of his condition. You’ll have to access the condition of your canine yourself. If your canine is suffering from any of the above mentioned conditions, you might experience following symptoms:

  • Pain during movements.
  • Abnormal swelling of the joints.
  • Lameness of limbs.
  • Limping during walking or running.
  • Difficulty in changing the posture e.g. difficulty in getting up from sitting posture.
  • Decreased interest in physical activity and exercise.
  • Atrophy (wasting) of the muscles.
  • Irritability.

What are the causes of hip and elbow dysplasia?

Following are the causes of hip and elbow dysplasia in Otterhounds:

Genetic predisposition. Genetic predisposition is perhaps the most important cause of hip and elbow dysplasia in Otterhounds. It means if one generation of dogs has this condition, there is a high probability that the next generation has this condition too.

Environmental causes. There are a number of environmental factors that can trigger these joint issues in Otterhounds:

Excessive gain of weight is the most important environmental cause. Weight gain puts more weight on the joints and makes them more prone to joint damage.

Exercise is good for your dog but excess of everything is bad. Too much exercise is dangerous and can damage the joints.

Proper nutrition is important for the important for the health of joints as well. Some components of diet are very important. These components include calcium, vitamin D, and adequate protein.

How to treat these conditions?

Earlier is the treatment provided, better are the outcomes and faster is the recovery. Following are some tips on how to improve the pain and swelling associated with these joints issues:

  • First thing you can do is manage the weight of your dog. You can do it in two ways. First, you can make your dog eat less. Second, you can improve the level of his physical activities. The basic idea is to create a deficit between the intake and consumption of calories.
  • Although physical activity is good but don’t let your dog overdo it.
  • Supplement the diet of your dog with vitamin D, calcium and protein.
  • Glucosamine Supplments help joints
  • Physiotherapy is also good for improving the pain and swelling of your dog.
  • Use of analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs can significantly improve the pain and swelling.
  • If nothing works, surgery is the last resort and artificial hip replacement can be done.