Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that can affect medium-sized dogs like Beagles.
Beagles are happy, gentle, energetic and affectionate dogs that love both adults and children. They make enthusiastic but gentle playmates for smaller children. Beagles are known for having a lot of energy and stamina, and are very protective of their environment without being aggressive towards strangers.
If you hate the sound of small dogs barking all the time, then a Beagle is not for you because they will bark and bark and bark anytime a suspicious person comes near the house. This makes them excellent guard dogs, but they have a tendency to bark at a lot of other things too, and this trait may become annoying for a person who prefers peace and quiet.
Beagles are also noted for their “baying,” which sounds like a loud, gurgling howl. They tend to do this at any time without apparent provocation so you’ll have to learn to get used to it or consider another breed of dog if you’re set on having a pet.
Beagles require regular exercise on a daily basis and require a good amount of obedience training because they can be very stubborn and tough to train. They love being complimented and getting treats, but you will need to be firm, yet friendly when training them.
They have an amazing sense of smell which means that they can pick up a scent and follow it ceaselessly. With their keen sense of smell and natural curiosity, it’s not advisable to leave your Beagle alone in your house for long periods of time as they are notorious for stealing food from your table, countertop, or wherever they can find it.
It is believed that Beagles first appeared in the 18th century as a mixture of several breeds of hounds. Hunters used them for chasing foxes and rabbits, and even today they are considered excellent hunters and sporting dogs.
Beagles look like small Foxhounds and have a small, rounded skull with a square muzzle and wide nostrils. Their dark brown eyes are expressive and makes them look like they’re always begging. Their big, hanging ears are wide and long and their tails are usually raised, but don’t curl over their back. Beagles are widely known for their tricolor coat of black, white and tan, the most common color combination, but they can also come in other colors including red and white, yellow and white, or orange and white.
A healthy Beagle can live as long as 15 years, but as they advance in age they are susceptible to developing hip dysplasia and arthritis.
Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease affecting Beagles. To understand hip dysplasia and the resulting arthritis, you need a basic understanding of how the dog’s hip joint is affected. The hip joint is comprised of a ball and socket that forms the attachment of the hind leg to the body. The ball portion is the head of the femur and the socket is located on the pelvis. In a normal hip joint the ball rotates freely within the socket. The bones are shaped to perfectly match each other with the socket surrounding the ball. To strengthen the joint, the two bones are held together by a strong ligament. The joint capsule, a strong band of connective tissue, circles the two bones to provide added stability.
A normal hip joint:
Hip dysplasia is linked to abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the dog’s hip joints. As the disease progresses, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. This separation of the two bones within the joint causes a drastic change in the size and shape of the articular surfaces.
This is an example of a hip joint showing the effects of hip dysplasia:
Most dogs who eventually develop hip dysplasia are born with normal hips, but due to their genetic make-up the soft tissues surrounding the joint develop abnormally. This leads to the symptoms associated with hip dysplasia. The disease may affect both hips, or only the right or left hip.
The symptoms of hip dysplasia cause afflicted dogs to walk or run with an altered gait, similar to a bunny-hop. They begin to resist any movement that requires full extension or flexion of the rear legs. They will experience stiffness and pain in their rear legs after exercising and on first rising in the morning. Climbing stairs becomes difficult if not impossible. Some dogs will limp and are less willing to participate in normal daily activities, including walks they formerly enjoyed.
It appears that the amount of calories a dog consumes, especially during its fast-growth period from three to ten months, has the biggest impact on whether or not a dog genetically prone to hip dysplasia will develop the disease.
Obesity can increase the severity of the disease in dogs that are genetically susceptible and the extra weight will intensify the degeneration of a dog’s joints and hips. Dogs who are genetically prone to hip dysplasia and also are overweight, are at a much higher risk of developing hip dysplasia and eventually osteoarthritis.
Exercise can be another risk factor. Dogs genetically susceptible to hip dysplasia may have an increased incidence of the disease if they are over-exercised at a young age. Moderate exercise like running and swimming is best for exercising young dogs.
Because hip dysplasia is primarily an inherited condition, there are no products that can prevent its development. Through proper diet, exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, you can slow, and sometimes halt, the progression of these degenerative joint diseases while providing your dog with relief from its pain. Winston’s provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue.
You might also want to consider providing your dog with an orthopedic bed like the Canine Cooler Bed which distributes the dog’s weight evenly and reduces pressure on its joints. The Canine Cooler Bed uses revolutionary SoothSoft Technology to give your dog the very best in comfort, and the fluid-enhanced design offers a dry, cooling effect with superior cushioning and support. It’s perfect for dogs with hip dysplasia or arthritis.
If owners insisted on only purchasing an animal whose parents and grandparents were certified to have good or excellent hips, and if breeders only bred these first-rate animals, then the majority of the problems caused by hip dysplasia would be eliminated. If you are looking to purchase a Beagle now or in the future, the best way to lessen the possibility of getting a dog that will develop hip dysplasia is to examine the incidence of hip dysplasia in the dog’s lineage. If at all possible, try to examine the parents and grandparents as far back as three or four generations.
There are different assumptions on how to prevent the progression of hip dysplasia in beagles. Poor nutrition, inadequate or improper exercise, and increased body weight may all contribute to the severity of osteoarthritis after the hip dysplasia has developed. By watching the calories your puppy or young dog consumes and preventing obesity in your dog, allowing only non-stressful types of exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, are the best things you can do for your dog.