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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Help for hip dysplasia

Does anyone one have experience of using homeopathy or a canine chiropractor for hip dysplasia ?

My two-year-old American Bulldog has hip dysplasia and is currently having glucosamine (100mg daily) and Carprieve. Having read about the benefits of using a chiropractor to help realign and strengthen the back and hind quarters I am interested in using it to try to get his hips and body into as good a condition as they can be. Can anyone recommend a canine chiropractor in the Cambridgeshire area or East Anglia?

I am also interested in using garlic and fenugreek, Vitamin C, Pulsatilla 6c and/or Rhus tox 6c. Does anyone have experience of using these?

Many thanks

Rebecca, by email


  1. You'll want to find a McTimoney practitioner - they are fully qualified and registered animal (and people) chiropractors. Look here:

    You can search for your nearest practitioner from there. I have nothing but praise for them. Five of my eight dogs have so far needed treatment for various problems - arthritis, hip dysplasia, misalignments from abuse in a previous home, and injury. In every case they have been done the world of good after only the first treatment - it is well worth a try!

    And although not what you've asked, I would also recommend looking into hydrotherapy - once things are in line from the chiropractor, swimming could be extremely helpful for building the muscles around the joint to stabilise it.

  2. Rebecca Cattell4 August 2011 at 10:09

    Thanks Nikita. I'm gald that it has helped your dogs. I will find a McTimoney practitioner like you say. Thanks.

  3. Hip dysplasia is a common cause of hind limb lameness, stiffness and pain in dogs. The hips (coxofemoral joints) become unstable or lax during development and this results in secondary osteoarthritis with loss of cartilage from the femoral head (ball) and acetabulum (socket), inflammation of the joint capsule (synovitis) and muscle wastage (atrophy).

    Conservative management of hip dysplasia in young dogs is successful in 50-70% of cases. The three most important features are: (1) weight control (2) exercise regulation and (3) non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Dogs that are overweight should be placed on a strict diet. Regular exercise with avoidance of excessive jumping, climbing, twisting and turning is recommended, and hydrotherapy can be beneficial in maintaining range of joint movement and muscle mass. Each dog will have it’s own thresholds of exercise, regarding both “duration” and “type of activity”, that it can cope with, and these thresholds may vary (go up or down) throughout life, for example, they may be lower on cold, damp days. NSAIDs, such as Carprieve, are potent pain killers that reduce inflammation. In view of possible side effects I recommend that they are used at as low a dose, as infrequently, as possible and only when considered necessary. There is some evidence that glucosamine may be a useful supplement. In dogs where it is appears to be beneficial it’s mode of action may be anti-inflammatory rather than protecting the cartilage of the joint. Dietary omega-3-fatty acids and pentosan polysulphate (which is injected under the skin once weekly for four weeks), have also been shown to be beneficial in some dogs.

    Evidence is currently lacking to support the use of homeopathy and chiropractor techniques for the management of hip dysplasia / osteoarthritis. The former is unlikely to cause harm, however, chiropractor manoeuvres may result in further injury, especially in hips that are severely unstable / dysplastic.

    The majority of adult dogs that fail to respond satisfactorily to conservative management are good candidates for surgery. As in people, total hip replacement (THR) is now a commonly performed procedure with a high success rate (90-95%). It is a relatively minimally invasive procedure with a rapid recovery. THR is preferable to removing the dysplastic / arthritic femoral head (referred to as an excisional arthroplasty or femoral head and neck excision), although many dogs will function satisfactorily following this surgery provided they have optimal aftercare with physiotherapy and prolonged analgesics (pain killers).

    With our better understanding of the condition, improved conservative management programmes and availability of hip replacement surgery, the prognosis (outlook) for dogs with hip dysplasia is now good in the majority of cases.

  4. McTimony Chiropractic is extremely gentle - my holistic vet has been doing it on my 11 year old Belgian Shepherd dog with hip dysplasia for years and it really helps (sometimes it transforms them in one session!) I am amazed that the vet from Willows doesn't mention that surgery can also result in further "injury" in some cases, i.e. death!!! (ok worst case scenario, but surgery is an extreme option, which I feel should only be offered if all else has failed and the dog is in pain).

    My vet also does acupuncture which my dog now has monthly for his hips (and his back is checked every time to see if it needs adjusting).

    I have also used homoeopathy for my dog for years, prescribed by my homoepathic vet - remedies vary depending on the individual dog and how he/she is reacting to the hip dysplasia - I have used Rhus Tox 30c which has helped - it is specifically for dogs who are very stiff on first rising but who improve with exercise. Really would be best to find a holistic/homoepathic vet if you can (as for example, my dog now has something called Colocynth 30c for his hips, as prescribed by my vet - something I would never have thought of giving him myself).

    I also use Ester C (a specific form of Vit C) which has really helped - a great article about it here:

    I've tried lots of different glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM products but none seemed as good as this one, called Cetyl M which is what I use now:-

    Hydrotherapy is great too, as it helps build up muscles which then support the joint, as its a non-weight bearing exercise - we did that for a while (had to stop as my dog now has laryngeal paralysis and isn't alllowed to swim unfortunately).

    And finally, one of the best things I've found is organic cold pressed flax seed oil - you buy it from good health food shops (should be kept in the fridge) and give a dessertspoon or tablespoon in each meal (if feeding twice daily) for a 60lb dog.

    Best of luck!

  5. Hi Malcolm and Mandy, thanks for your help.

    I keep a close eye on Jack's weight (especially as he loves his food !) and am careful to feed good quality food. I still walk him every day, with some off lead and dog play still (to have a good quality of life) but adjust every day according to how he is. We go very much at his pace, with quieter days following more fun days. At the moment I am supplementing with glucosamine, Vit C and a bit of tumeric every other day (believed to help arthritis), in addition to the carprieve (one a day).

    I was concerned about long-term medication and asked my vet about it and she said it shouldn't cause a problem. I'm not convinced - but don't want him to be in pain so am using it at the moment. Ideally I want to use supplements and therapies that can help to manage the condition as much as possible, so as to reduce the amount of pain killer needed. I will look into Ester C, flax oil and Rhus Tox. I have got a McTimoney practitioner booked (only went with it as stated to be gentle and works on relieving areas that are compensating for the weakness in the bad joint).

    I asked my vet about a hip replacement. She said he was too big to have a femoral head removal (said works on smaller dogs) but could be a candidate for full hip replacement -but only once the hip had really degenerated (as I gather is the case with human hip or knee replacements). I would be willing to go down this route if it had a good chance of offering him the best quality of life (taking into account the risk of surgery). Malcolm do you agree with this -that the hip has to have got unbearable for the dog to be a candidate for surgery or can it be performed sooner ?

  6. Dear Rebecca

    Just another thought - you may like to try ginger, mustard and feverfew for pain relief - I've only just heard of it being used for HD, having come across this article written by an eminent US vet while I was researching my dog's neurological problems (he rarely suffers from pain now in his hips, so I haven't tried it myself.

    Best wishes


  7. Thanks for the info, very interesting.