What is hip dysplasia? Hip dysplasia is an inherited disease of the hip joint. Parts of this ball-and-socket type of joint are abnormally shaped. Dyplasia is a term than means abnormal development of a tissue.
How does my cat get hip dysplasia? Genetics increase the risk of a cat in developing hip dysplasia. Both parents must be affected or carriers of this defect in order for their kittens to be at risk. This condition develops over time due to instability in the hip joint from its improper ball and socket fit.The cartilage gradually disintegrates causing bone-on-bone contact, pain, and arthritis.
How do I know if my cat has hip dysplasia? You may not be able to detect hip dysplasia in your cat in mild cases. Cats tend to be less exercised than dogs, so it is more challenging to detect changes in their gait. In addition, they weigh less than many dog breeds and as a result, place less strain on their hip joints. The signs can also be subtle: your cat may hide more or be more reluctant to climb items like a cat tree or jump up on the sofa or bed. In severe cases, however, cats will appear stiff or lame and yowl in pain when picked up. Your cat may refuse to go up or down stairs. Your veterinarian will be able to confirm the diagnosis after completing a physical exam and x-raying both hips. Sometimes, the condition is discovered accidentally when a cat is being x-rayed for other medical reasons.
What can I do about hip dysplasia? This is a progressive, chronic disease without a cure. Your cat may also develop secondary arthritis as well. Your veterinarian may recommend weight control, pain medication, or other supplements designed to aid cartilage and joints and control inflammation. For certain cats who are deemed otherwise healthy, a surgical procedure called femoral head and neck ostectomy can be performed. This hip surgery is expensive and requires substantial post-operative commitment on the part of owners.
Is there anything I can do to prevent my cat from getting hip dysplasia? If you wish to adopt a pedigree kitten, select a reputable breeder who works diligently to only breed cats whose hips have been evaluated and approved by OFA. Regularly exercise your cat and keep him at a healthy weight so that he does not place an excessive load on the hip joints.
Are there certain breeds that get hip dysplasia more often? Although more common in many dog breeds, this disorder does occur in cats and can effect any cat of any breed and body type. However, heavy-boned breeds such as the Maine Coon and Persians as well as lighter-framed breeds like the Devon Rex are at risk. A high prevalence is also found in the Abyssinian and Siamese breeds.