Hip Dysplasia Labrador

Hip Dysplasia: Treatment Options

In October 25, 2013

While we strive to not only eliminate this issue from our bloodlines, genetically, we also strive to educate new puppy owners on environmental preventative measures. (Hip Dysplasia in Labradors: What can I do to prevent it?)  However, if you are finding yourself with this diagnosis for your labby, we’d like to give you some hope still!

Gracie- Endless Mt. Labradors

The first thing you should know, is that you can not have a conclusive diagnosis until the dog is 2 years old.  The OFA won’t even certify your dog’s hips and elbows until that time.  The joints are still developing, loosening, and moving until then.  (This is why you should wait to spay/neuter until that age: When should I spay/neuter my puppy?)

Nevertheless, if you are facing dysplasia in your lab… there is hope!

Here are some tips and advice to help your dog with dysplasia…

  1. Our first recommendation is to put your dog on a supplement called NuJoint Plus (Order NuJoint).  NuJoint is not only anti-inflammatory, but contains glucosamine and chondroitin, great for bone and joint growth! (This is great for any senior dog experiencing regular arthritis, too!)
  2. You also want to be sure that you’re limiting the dog’s exercise. As we said in our other post, swimming is a GREAT low impact exercise… especially for a dog who already is diagnosed with dysplasia.  Not to mention it can be very soothing for any joint pain.  “The right amount of exercise helps to maintain muscle tone and strength and stabilizes the unstable dysplastic joint.” (OFA) Limit excessive exercise in pups up until 24 mos old to keep from putting undue strain on developing  joints and ligaments (i.e jumping, leaping, slippery stairs) Some pups will experience periods of slight pain while growing, this is called “Pano” (basically, growing pains…and should be treated as recommended in the beginning of this paragraph.) Pano WILL pass.
  3. Weight management is especially important if you already know that your dog is dysplastic.  Excess weight puts unneeded pressure on the joints and can cause even more pain and discomfort. Talk with your vet and make sure that your lab is at a good, healthy weight (You should be able to feel the ribs but not see them.  Your dog should have a defined waist line when gazing at them from above.)
  4. Another factor that most people don’t think about is the temperature of the environment the dog is in.  A warm environment is more comfortable for a dog with joint problems.  As with people, cold and damp weather is the worst for joint pain.  You can also try applying controlled heating pads (be very careful not to burn the dog! I do not recommend electric heating pads), and a soft bed to lay on. (Therapeutic beds with memory foam are awesome!)
  5. Personally, I would feed the dog raw diet as well.  You can read about the connection between raw food and joint health here.
  6. For information on possible drug therapy or surgical intervention, see the OFA website (referenced for this article) at www.offa.org.

Morgan- Endless Mt. Labradors

Click here to read our first post about Hip Dysplasia prevention!


  1. Our beautiful almost 8 year old Miss Elle began to endure a lack of function in her rear legs. It was a giant trauma for us. We had her at the Vets when she could not get back in the car. we had x rays and sure enough there was a problem. Steroid medication meant food did not stay down so that was stopped and she went on Metacam and a pain medication for a time. We had a dolly on hand and I began moving Miss Elle to the dolly and out to the grass for her business . Moving her with a light weight beach towel in front of her rear legs was a great assist. The first couple of times were difficult but we progressed and she was always cooperative. I slept near her first night then I would move her to the bedroom and she slept at the foot of the bed and was happy .
    When she seemed to need hydrating I gave her a little cup of apple sauce and she was happy in the middle of the night. I found your website as I explored what on earth we would do. And I even called a crematorium and talked to a very nice lady in case that became an option.

    As we kept up the routine Miss Elle began to take steps and move on her own again with all four legs. This progressed from a few steps to a nice distance and into the garage and one step up into the house. Our love has progressed to better than she was in a couple of years and we are holding our breath. We would like to introduce another Lab into the house . And that is a consideration. We feel lucky to have our love back to full function and only hope it will last. Her lack of use and recovery of her walking function was about 10 days . When she could not move I moved food and water to her .

  2. My Furchild Ted also suffered hip dysplaysia. And like your Furchild had a similar event at that age . With care and TLC I was able to enjoy him for almost 5 more quality years.
    Ted’s vet gave him a rx for glucosamine and chondroitan . With bufferin for flares. If it was a bad flare he would get a shot of matacam. We brought a Bob Opedic mattress . A Sertapedic type memory foam human bed.
    Limited his exercise. Put a ramp in for him instead of stairs. Lots of swims when it was worm and he was up to it.
    Short daily walks.
    Sadly cancer and his hips took him from me 1/15/14 .
    But aside from his last couple weeks he lived out a good life, gave all his love and was loved….
    I hope you share much more time with Miss Elle, but enjoy today …….

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