Hemp Oil For Dogs Elbow Dysplasia
You may have noticed your dog walk in a peculiar way and not known that the dog was suffering from elbow dysplasia.
Elbow dysplasia (ED) is a common ailment in dogs in young, and large to giant breed dogs, like Bernese Mountain dogs, Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Labradors. Studies show that 80% of patients have both elbows affected with this ailment.
But how do you know if the dog is suffering from elbow dysplasia? And, what is elbow dysplasia? What signs indicate your dog is suffering from ED? What can you do to treat or prevent ED?
What is elbow dysplasia in dogs?
Dysplasia comes from the two Greek words dys, meaning abnormal and plasia, which means development. Elbow dyplasia, therefore, is an abnormal development in the elbow joint. The abnormality occurs when the three bones – the radius, the ulna, and the humerus - which make up the elbow joint do not fit together, leading to an abnormal concentration of forces in the elbow joint.
Disorders caused by Elbow Dysplasia
When the elbow joint bones do not fit, this results to problems which may occur in the same joint at the same time:
- Fragmented medial coronoid process (FCP) – FCP is a defect in the development of one of the coronoid processes where a part of the process (or the entire process) forms a crack, and separates from the remaining bone.
- Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) – An abnormality that happens when the humeral condyle, the part of the cartilage at the bottom of the humerus, develops abnormally and separates from the underlying bone.
- Ununited anconeal process (UAP) – This disorder develops when the anconeal process – a small bony projection – does not unite with the smaller bones that makes up the foreleg. In normal development, the anconeal process gives stability to the legs.
- Medial compartment disease (MCD) – this refers to the pervasive destruction of the cartilage of the medial compartment of the elbow joint. Little is known of MCD but is said to be found in older dogs.
How to treat elbow dysplasia in dogs
Dogs with elbow dysplasia may be treated in two ways: surgical and non-surgical. ED can be managed without surgery. But, dogs who do not respond to non-surgical methods may have conditions that need surgery.
- Fragment removal surgery. Fragment removal is the most common surgical treatment used for ED. This treatment removes the loose fragments of bones and cartilage inside the elbow joint. The surgery is a procedure guided by a camera, called arthroscopy, which is inserted through a very small hole. Though not all dogs respond to this treatment, 60% to 70% of dogs show improvement after the surgery.
- Incongruency surgery. This treatment attempts to improve the elbow joint’s shape and make it fit. The surgery is done by removing the key pressure point in the joint. Another way to improve the shape is to cut the bone at the ulna. Recovery for this procedure is slow and is done selectively.
- Salvage surgery. This surgery is resorted to when there is a combination of elbow dysplasia, osteoarthritis, and osteochondrosis. This condition rarely happens but is used when the pain caused by the ailment cannot be controlled by conservative treatments. Salvage surgery has three options: total elbow replacement (TER), sliding humeral osteotomy (SHO), and elbow joint fusion or arthrodesis.
What are the signs and symptoms of elbow dysplasia?
The signs of ED are the same, regardless of the problems caused by the disorder. Dogs with ED show:
- Lameness in one or both of front legs
- Reluctance to walk or exercise
- Elbow swelling and pain
- Restricted range of movement
These signs usually become observable between six to ten months old. For some dogs, it comes during middle age or in older adults, with advanced arthritis.
How is elbow dysplasia diagnosed?
Diagnosing elbow dysplasia may require imaging. The first test usually performed is x-ray or radiograph. An x-ray can reveal the presence and seriousness of ununited anconeal process. The other conditions – FCP, MCD, and OCD - may not be readily seen through an x-ray.
A more reliable imaging is the CT scan. A CT scan can be reformatted to show a 3-D image of the joint. It can, therefore, provide a more detailed congruency of the bones and can detect small bony fragments.
Natural home remedies to treat or prevent ED in dogs
The basic problem with elbow dysplasia is the abnormal development of the joints. Once the problem exists, it is not possible to reverse the process or bring the joints back to the normal conditions. And, even with surgery, dogs are bound to develop arthritis as they grow older.
Veterinarians often prescribe medications to help dogs deal with pain. But, like any prescribed medication, there are risks and side effects involved. Often, we end up trying to gauge if the benefits outweigh the side effects and risks that go with the medication.
There are natural remedies you can do to treat or prevent ED in dogs:
- Control the dogs’ body weight
- Control the dogs’ exercise, avoid unrestrained activities, like running, rough and tumble with other dogs, turning at speed, chasing a ball, and more.
- Dietary supplements like glucosamine, omega-3 fatty acids, and chondroitin sulfate. These supplements can relieve discomfort and stiffness.
- Water cure or hydrotherapy for dogs. This is an excellent treatment as it rehabilitates injuries and works on the muscles without taxing the elbow joints.
One effective remedy for elbow dysplasia in dogs that has caught the attention of researchers is hemp oil. One advantage of hemp for dog ailments is that it goes well with traditional medications and treatments.
Hemp oil is extracted from the hemp plant and is used to manage and relieve the dogs’ pain, anxiety, nausea, cancer, and arthritis. A great advantage of hemp oil is that it is not psychoactive, meaning you don’t have to worry about your dog getting high.
Hemp oil has also been found effective in reducing chronic inflammation and chronic pain. Hemp controls pain by stopping the flow of pain signals to the brain.
How much hemp to give to dogs
Hemp is now widely recognized as a reliable, safe, and well-tolerated natural home remedy for dogs. Though hemp contains less than 0.03% THC, dogs are sensitive to its compound and will, therefore, require a very small dosage of hemp oil.
It is also good to use structured and measured doses, depending on how your dog responds to the treatment. You can then gradually increase the dosage if found necessary. For optimum results, consult with your veterinarian.
Untreated elbow dysplasia can cause a great deal of discomfort and severe pain to dogs. The moment you notice the signs and symptoms, let your dog be examined by a veterinarian.
There is no reversing the abnormal developments in elbow dysplasia. But, you can let your dog enjoy comfort as he grows. It is best to manage the disease while still early in its progression.