Feline Hip Dysplasia

What is Feline Hip Dysplasia?

I’ve Heard of Hip Dysplasia in Pets…What is it Though?Hip dysplasia is a deformity of the hip joint in animals. In plain terms, a displacement occurs in the hip joint of the animal and the ball of the femur no longer properly fits into the socket of the hip joint. A breakdown of the joint and abnormality of the bones will occur over time resulting in dysplasia. This will lead to incredible pain when engaging in physical activity. Unfortunately the pain will only worsen over time.Do Cats Suffer From Hip Dysplasia?Hip dysplasia in cats was unheard of until recently, but current research indicates that felines of all breeds are capable of developing feline hip dysplasia. Large dog breeds are more commonly diagnosed with hip dysplasia, but cats are by no means immune.

Where Does It Come From Then?

The cause of this deformation is believed to be genetic, and if your cat develops FHD, then both its parents either suffered from this as well, or they were carriers for this defect. FHD is not readily seen in kittens, as the hip bones are not fully formed at that point. A kitten would then be born with the genetic predisposition, and, over time, stress on the joint causes the dislocation to occur. Subsequent abnormalities and deformation of the hip joint ensue. This would create walking difficulties and a cat may then appear disinterested in playing and exercising. Your cat may also appear to be a lazy cat, but in reality, the cat chooses not to play because it is painful.

Are Some Breeds More Likely to Get It?

All breeds of cats are capable of developing this, but those cats who have larger bones are more prone to this disease. In larger cats, the bones may not be as cushioned as they could be by muscles and other sinuous tissues. This leads to a greater likelihood of dislocation of the hip joint. For example, Siamese cats are typically lighter, smaller in size and bone structure and are therefore less likely to develop FHD. The disorder is genetic and can be avoided by altering breeding patterns.

How Do I Know if My Cat Has FHD?

FHD is best diagnosed with the use of an x-ray of the hip joint. This can be done by your vet, and then sent to the Orthopedic Foundation of Animals who has a division, the Hip Dysplasia Registry, specifically designed to analyze the x-rays of cats suspected of having FHD. They can then tell definitively if FHD is present in one or both hip joints. The deformity would be clear upon this type of examination. Signs of the disorder would be apparent as the condition is incredibly painful and will impair a cat’s ability to walk. This will then lead to limping, difficulties walking, and what appears to be a general sense of laziness in the cat (an avoidance of exercise or playing).

My Cat Has FHD…What Can I Do To Help?

There is no available treatment to completely repair the deformity of FHD. In the most severe cases, surgery may be necessary to fuse prosthetics into the joint. Other less radical options will include anti-inflammatory medicines and pain reduction medicines. For cats who are overweight, reducing the weight problem with food adjustments may be the first step. Also removing unnecessary exercise, such as extra jumping, is also helpful. Additionally, many alternative treatments exist that offer effective pain reduction. One of the leading dietary supplements includes the use of a glucosamine product to help try to repair the joint naturally. Many cat owners, and dog owners too, have reported that liquid glucosamine supplements have helped to correct some of the limping and lameness.
Be sure to visit the Glucosamine Product Guide for a review of commercially available glucosamine products.