Have you ever seen anything as cute as a cockapoo puppy walking with its hips swaying like they are full of sass and attitude? When he or she sits down, the same puppy flops down and looks like a frog with its hips spread out.
Although this is the kind of thing that was seemingly made for memes and viral videos, cockapoo back leg problems are not nearly as harmless as it looks. A veterinarian would look at the puppy with different thoughts, none revolving around the idea that it is cute in any shape or form. Swaying hips are a very worrying sign that the dog will have problems later in life.
It is clear signs that they are suffering from Canine Hip Dysplasia, even if it is just in the earliest stages. If this is your first time hearing about this condition, we recommend reading through the following guide. In it, we will discuss exactly what this condition is, the kind of breeds that are most likely to develop it, the various factors that can cause and aggravate it, how to spot it in your dog and how to prevent and treat it.
Everything you need to know about this serious condition.
What is CHD or Canine Dysplasia?
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CHD, known in shorthand, is Canine Hip Dysplasia and describes hip joint malformation. It not only can cause your dog a lot of pain, but it can also affect your cockapoo’s ability to move around freely.
Looking at an x-ray of a healthy dog, their femurs have rounded ends, and this is a bone that bears a lot of their weight and sits into a very deep hip socket. However, a cockapoos hip socket is less deep if they are suffering from Canine Hip Dysplasia and the femur ball won’t sit in it properly.
If the socket and ball are not fitting close together, this can wear the cartilage down, and arthritis and pain come as your cockapoo gets older.
You will find that some dogs who later have Canine Hip Dysplasia have normal hips. Only with time and as those dogs mature do the connective tissue, muscles and ligaments that surround and support the joint start to fail in holding the joints together appropriately. This scenario results in bone and cartilage suffering from wear and tear due to joint separation.
What Breeds of Dogs Are Most Likely to Get or Develop Canine Hip Dysplasia?
Generally, the most popular and larger breeds of dogs like Samoyed, Alaskan Malamute, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, Rottweiler, Old English Sheepdog, Saint Bernard, Newfoundland and Labrador Retrievers. Although cockapoos are not the largest breeds, they are still one of the breeds that are prone to developing CHD.
Although there is no definitive reason why dogs who develop CHD do, it is thought that the seriousness of the condition is linked to the nurture and nature they experience while growing.
How Genetics Are Involved in Cockapoo Hip Dysplasia
There is a very clear connection between genetics and cockapoo hip dysplasia. The problem is that because it’s a polygenetic multi-factorial disease, there is no natural way to identify the precise genetic recipe that comes into play with joint deformity. Various genetic combinations can make it harder to eliminate the condition from the gene pool.
Unfortunately, it can be very hard to identify whether puppies have CHD or not, as it doesn’t really show properly until their joints have developed fully. It is usually by the time they are aged two that 95% of cases are fully revealed.
Ideally, if you are getting a cockapoo puppy from a breeder that the parents have tested for elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia, the same elbow socket joint deformity.
Environmental Factors That Can Cause CHD
While cockapoos are not born with hip dysplasia, they develop as they age. Although the dog’s genetics have a huge role in the condition, their environment also affects whether or not dogs develop the condition.
Take, for example, ensuring your dog gets enough exercise. While this is essential to their development and general health, you must make sure you do it at a pace that suits the individual dog. Good ideas are taking your pup for a swim in a local pool or to the park to play fetch. These low-impact exercises will not strain their muscles and joints too much.
Activities such as agility and obstacle courses, jumping, lots of stairs and running if their joints are not fully grown and matured, there is a chance the dog will suffer from hip dysplasia later in life.
Therefore, avoiding taking your puppy with you when you participate in activities involving a lot of jumping or with you as you go on your daily run is best. Wait until they have fully reached adulthood to reduce the impact on their immature joints.
How to Identify if Your Cockapoo Has Canine Hip Dysplasia
The best way to know if your pup is suffering from Canine Hip Dysplasia or not is to take him or her along to the vet and have them sedated so they can x-ray their hips and check if the joints slot together correctly. You will probably spot it by noticing cockapoo back leg problems with them having a bit of a funny walk.
With many dogs, the early signs of the condition are not easy to spot, and it is only with an X-ray that they can be identified.
You can look for some symptoms if you believe your dog may be in the advanced stages of the disease; the main one is cockapoo back leg problems or cockapoo hind legs problems.
To identify cockapoo hip dysplasia, look out for:
- Signs of aggression that can’t be explained as the pain starts to increase
- The development of arthritis as the condition continues to worsen
- Hindquarter and back leg muscles wasting in more serious instances of the condition
- When your dog is standing, its front legs are further apart than their back legs
- Lameness in their hind legs that gets worse as they exercise more
- Hips or back legs are painful to touch
- They find it difficult to get up from a lying down position
- Cockapoo bunny hopping when they are going upstairs
- They are reluctant to climb, jump or run up the stairs
- They walk with a very noticeable and pronounced swaying gait, i.e. their back end moves in a back-and-forth fashion
- Intolerance to exercise
- They sit in a frog-like position with at least one of their hips splayed out
Not all cockapoos or other dogs have these symptoms when they suffer from CHD, as this disease has different degrees of seriousness. The best way to diagnose your dog with CHD is by having your vet take an x-ray of their hips and the surrounding joints.
How Nutrition Affects Canine Hip Dysplasia
There are also nutritional factors that may have a role in CHD development. Like your cockapoo growing too fast, having an unbalanced number of electrolytes or simply insufficient specific nutrients. It does tend to occur in larger dogs, though but it can affect medium-sized dogs too.
The crucial things to remember with the diet and nutrition of your cockapoo and CHD is not to give them too much calcium and to avoid growing and putting on too much weight. It may also be a good idea to feed your dog food approved by vets. As well as following a specific feeding schedule.
How You Can Prevent and Possibly Treat CHD
The best thing to do is avoid buying a cockapoo without ensuring its genetics are in good order. Many breeders ensure there is no history of cockapoo hip dysplasia in the parents before breeding from them. All breeders and owners should go to the Osteopathic Foundation for Animals to have their parents’ hips scored. That way, you have evidence of whether they are considered Fair, Good or Excellent. It is important to avoid buying a puppy from a breeder with at least one parent with a hip score of less than Fair, although Good and Excellent are preferred.
Alongside the hip scores, the OFA also scores for CHD. If you discover that one of the parents has either a Borderline, Mild, Moderate or Severe CHD score for their hips, you should avoid buying puppies from litters.
As we’ve discussed, genetics is only part of it all. There is simply no guarantee. A good, balanced, nutrition-filled diet and plenty of exercise are also essential, as is not to push your dog too much in the exercise department.
If you discover, despite trying your best to avoid your cockapoo getting it, that they are developing it when they are an adult, there are several ways to treat it. You should speak to your vet and get their expert opinion about the treatment best for your dog and their specific case.
It depends on how severe your cockapoo hip dysplasia is, but your vet may suggest cockapoo hip dysplasia treatment surgery as the best way to increase their quality of life. One such method is having a complete hip replacement surgery, and many dogs with this experience highly positive results. Other more preventative forms of surgery include JPS or juvenile pubic symphysiodesis if your cockapoo puppy is considered a high-risk candidate for suffering from CHD when they are older.
There are non-surgical approaches to cockapoo hip dysplasia treatment that may help your cockapoo, such as proper management of their weight to ensure there is no additional and unnecessary pressure on their joints. You may also, with the vet’s recommendation, try to supplement their diet with Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Chondroitin Sulphate and Glucosamine and use NSAID painkillers to relieve the discomfort they may feel.
Exercise and activities such as leash walking and swimming are also ideal for ensuring they have well-toned muscles, as are massages and physical therapy.
Anything you can do in addition to their environment and lifestyle may help, such as installing ramps and smaller, easier-to-navigate steps.
It will never be the best news in the world to find out your dog has CHD; where possible, anything you can do to avoid it will save you a lot of money and heartache. However, if you discover your dog suffers from it, we’ve shown some treatment options that can help your dog have a high-quality life.
It’s all about being adaptable and altering their routine and the activities they participate in to ensure their hips are not put under more stress than necessary.
Mike is the proud owner of a 7-year-old Cockapoo named Luna. He loves to share stories, tips and information about owning a Cockapoo. With over7 years of experience as an owner, Mike is passionate about helping others own and care for their dog.