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HIP AND ELBOW DYSPLASIA IS A DEVELOPMENTAL ORTHOPAEDIC DISEASE IN THE DOG AND MANIFESTS ITSELF IN THE FIRST FEW MONTHS OF A PUPPY’S LIFE. DOGS SUFERING FROM DYSPLASIA PRESENT AN ALTERED SHAPE OF THE BONES WHICH FORM the hip (femur and acetabulum) joint and of those that form the elbow joint (radius, ulna and humerus). The bones of the joint do not fit together perfectly, they move anomalously, resulting in early wear and joint degeneration, which leads to the inevitable development of arthrosis. Over time, and as the dog’s weight increases, this alteration results in difficulty in movement and strong pain. This compromises the animal’s wellness; it will be unwilling to go for walks, lose interest, at times even become aggressive with others who approach it because it will always be afraid of feeling pain.
The most affected are medium, large and giant breeds. Some are affected more than others (Labrador, Golden retriever, Rottweiler, Setter , Cane Corso (Italian Mastiff), German Shepherd and many more)
Dysplasia is a congenital disease which is made worse by the wrong management of the dog’s diet and its physical activity. Dogs suffering from dysplasia must be sterilized to avoid mating with female dogs, passing on the disease to their puppies. Some puppies may also be affected by dysplasia even if both parents are healthy; this is because the dysplasia gene can have been handed down from older generations. An uncontrolled diet (the “pudgy” puppy…), which leads to excess weight on the developing bone, may accelerate the onset of the disease, especially in genetically predisposed dogs. Exaggerated physical activity (mad runs, up and down the house stairs, playing rough with larger dogs, jumps and falls on slippery floors…) can also cause the symptoms to emerge.
Dogs suffering from dysplasia can show an awkward and uncoordinated gait when puppies, to reach very serious and sometimes invalidating limping during their growth and in adult life. Subjects which suffer from hip dysplasia have the perception of having an unstable hip, unable to adequately support their weight in a simple walk and even more so when running and playing, which they tend to avoid as time passes. A dog with this problem adopts strategies to make its hips feel more stable and to feel less pain. For example, running like a rabbit or standing with its feet either very close together or with its hind legs wide apart or trying to move all their weight on the front legs. Dogs with elbow dysplasia are in even worse pain! This is because the front legs support most of the weight so, if the elbow is in pain, they will stop walking even sooner. Sometimes the two forms of dysplasia (hips and elbows) are not present together, but the possibility of this happening is very high.
By means of an x-ray of the hips and elbows. This exam can be done from the dog’s fourth month of life (PREVENTIVE EXAMINATION) This early examination allows us to issue a prognosis, to hypothesize if the dog will suffer from dysplasia and how serious its condition could be. Thanks to the preventive study it is possible to suggest simple corrections in the diet and physical activity, while in the more serious cases corrective surgical treatments are recommended. From the twelfth month of age, once the growth has stopped, it is possible to perform the x-ray examination with the definitive diagnosis of the severity of the dysplasia, if it were to be affected. After the twelfth month, if the owner wants to register the level of dysplasia on the pedigree, it is possible to do the OFFICIAL STUDY. Both the preventive study and the official study are examinations to do with the dog sedated, to have precise images which can be correctly assessed.
Yes, as long as it is considered quickly, or rather when it is suggested by the vet and the owner actively collaborates, following precisely the vet’s instructions in terms of post-operative control and diet.
Yes, we can carry out both the early study and the official study.


This is a parasitic disease caused by an insect bite (phlebotomus) erroneously confused with a small mosquito. The insect injects the parasite responsible for the disease (Leishmania Infantum) into the animal from which it decides to suck blood for food. Many months can pass between when the animal is infected and the symptom onset because the parasite must have the time to multiply in the body of the infested dog.
The principle clinical signs are: temperature, loss of fur, (often around the eyes), dandruff, weight loss, nail disorders. The dog literally seems to “age” within the space of a few weeks. In some cases, the parasite also affects the internal organs of the dog causing serious liver and/or kidney failure. The joints can also be affected, causing painful and chronic limping which does not respond to the usual pain-management treatments.
To date, the disease is incurable and the dogs affected are considered “chronically ill" The therapies currently in use are able to contain the damage caused by the parasites and give relief to the dog but it may, in any case, have frequent relapses.
Yes, unfortunately it has been here a few years. The data in 2013 recorded more than 2.5 million dogs infected. The illness initially presented itself in the southern regions of Italy and Sardinia. Within the space of a few years, thanks to climatic changes (very hot and humid summers, something which allows the survival of the Phlebotomus even in the more northern regions) many cases have also been diagnosed in our region. To date, the regions of Liguria, Tuscany and Emilia and the regions close to lakes are considered at risk.
To discover if your dog suffers from Leishmaniasis, a very small blood sample has to be taken and in a few minutes, thanks to the use of latest generation tests, you can see if the illness is underway.
The only way to avoid your dog being infected is to protect it from Phlebotomus bites and to strengthen its immune defences. The external anti-parasites with a repellent action have the purpose of keeping the vector away. The vaccination, which arrived in Italy a few years ago, boosts the dog's immune system. To vaccinate means that the immune system is ready to react if the dog comes into contact with the parasite. Combining the two methods (keeping away the Phlebotumus and strengthening the immune defences of the dog) is the best way of protecting your dog!
Yes, we can carry out the test for Leishmaniasis and have the results in a few minutes, set up the therapy and, if necessary, vaccinate and recommend the best products to protect your dog. Written by DR Briotti.


Patellar luxation is an orthopaedic disease of the knee, in which the patella exits from its “track” on the femur. This usually occurs during walking.
The dog affected by patellar luxation sometimes makes a little jump as if it missed a step when it walks. It is difficult that it whines or shows pain. The pain can come if the luxation worsens. There are four levels of patellar luxation: from the least serious to the most serious. Dogs with a first level luxation manifest an occasional jump (corresponding to the patellar luxation). These dogs usually have no pain in the knee and can live well with this small defect. Dogs with a fourth degree luxation have a serious walking deficit, they even have difficulty extending their rear limb. In these cases, the only solution is surgery. Dogs with second and third degree luxation show intermediate symptoms; corrective surgery is often used to allow them to walk normally and to avoid them getting worse.
All dogs can have this problem, but it is more frequent in small and medium breeds (Pinscher, Maltese, Poodles, Yorkshire Terrier, Chihuahua.…)
Patellar Luxation in small and medium breeds is congenital and arises from a deformation in the shape of the knee. This disease is usually called“knee dysplasia”. Nevertheless, patellar luxation can be caused by a trauma, this obviously can affect any dog, of pedigree or not.
It is better to contact the vet, to have an orthopaedic visit. By specific manipulation, the vet will be able to tell you what level the patellar luxation is at and if the problem affects one or both hind legs.
In less serious cases of luxation, rest associated with an anti-inflammatory and gastro-protective therapy are enough to resolve the episodes of pain exacerbation, which can happen and lead to the dog limping. In the most serious forms just one surgical correction could be enough to solve the problem, preventing other complications like excessive stress on the cranial cruciate ligament.
Yes, we can perform a specialist orthopaedic visit, do the x-ray examination and the surgery, if this is recommended by the doctors. Written by DR. Briotti