As Veterinary shows get more popular the word dysplasia is getting more familiar but what really does it mean.

In a literal sense it means Abnormal development

Dys – abnormal, impaired, difficult,

Plasia – from Greek plasis a moulding or formation, from plassein to mould

But what does to a pet? sadly it can men a lifetime of pain and difficulty with normal movement.

With our CT scanner we have been lucky enough to actually see a four view picture and explain exactly how this condition becomes a problem. We were asked to CT scan a 5 year old labrador that had suddenly gone lame.

These are the pictures and explanation oooo fancy but what does it actually mean. Well Sadly it means that the dog in this case has an elbow that works as a mortar and pestle as the fragments rub in the joint. The word incongruity means the normal joint does not sit in the correct location and as the CT defines in this case is moderately out of place. Therefore as you can imagine this is a disease process that will progress.

The bad news is that well as elbows animals can get dysplaias in many areas but also most predominantly the hips. Factors such as excessive growth rate, types of exercise, improper weight, and unbalanced nutrition can magnify this genetic predisposition. Although there are some good breeders that check the disease state of hips and elbows and how likely it is to be passed on to future offspring it is not compulsory and therefore in buying a puppy you may not know how bad its joints are going to be as the disease process manifests as they get older and bigger

The good news For the dog in the scan we sought advice from specialists. In some case surgery is an option but was though not to be the best case here. The great news was that all advice given were things Mochdre Vets could offer. The best news though was that we implemented the advice and we had reports of an amazing response with the odg being able to return to exericse and enjoy his life.

This is the advice from the specialists

WEIGHT MANAGEMENT: It would be important to prevent Milo from getting overweight as this would put more pressure and cause more inflammation on his abnormal joints. It he was already overweight, then I would recommend he loses weight.

ANALGESICS: Prescription of NSAIDs for at least 3-4 weeks initially would be recommended. You could add other drugs, such as gabapentin, paracetamol (pardale), amantadine or amitriptyline to see if he responds. Galliprant, which has a different mechanism of action than NSAIDs could be tried to see if it is effective, although generally this is not as effective as NSAIDs. Librela could also be beneficial for long-term management of OA.

NUTRACEUTICALS: I would recommend Milo is prescribed joint supplements containing omega 3 fatty acids as they have been reported to clinically help dogs with osteoarthritis. The use of cannabinoids could also be helpful in the management of chronic pain, although I do not have experience with this therapy.

EXERCISE MODIFICATION: Milo´s joints are not normal and the osteoarthritis will progress with time. Although exercise is beneficial for the correct nutrition and movement of the joints, high impact activities, such as jumping, running or playing with other dogs, are detrimental to degenerated joints. I would recommend he is kept active, but mostly with low impact activities, such as walking on the lead and on soft/padded surfaces. We generally start with 5 minute slow walks on the lead, 2 – 3 times a day, for 2 weeks. Then, and provided he is improving, the length of his walks could be progressively increased by 5 minutes every 2 weeks. The length of the walks would need to be adjusted to his tolerance and decreased if he becomes stiff.

PHYSIOTHERAPY: Leo would benefit from physiotherapy and hydrotherapy performed by a certified physiotherapist to improve his clinical signs. Laser therapy and acupuncture have also shown positive effects on osteoarthritic and painful joints so it would be worth trying to see if he responds. Hydrotherapy is a very helpful therapy to try to build up the atrophied muscles, maintain/improve joint range of motion, relax the musculature, etc. while not supporting 100% of the weight through the joints. This may also help him do some exercise and be less depressed. We just need to find what works for Leo. Regenerative medicine with intraarticular injections of platelet rich plasma or stem cell therapy could also be considered. Unfortunately although the use of MSC is a promising therapy for OA, results from different studies are contradicting. Generally evidence would say dogs may improve with the IA administration of MSC and/or PRP, but in very degenerated joints, this beneficial effect may not be that evident. Other IA injections could be tried, such as arthramid vet. I generally leave IA injection of steroids as a last resort, as this would improve the clinical signs but could also cause more joint degeneration.

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