Hip Dysplasia (HD)
HD is the faulty development of the hip joint. This occurs when the muscle or soft tissue falls behind the rate of the skeletal growth, the muscles are unable to hold the joint together and the femur (thigh bone) partially dislocates from the acetabulum (hip socket), which can result in looseness of the hip joint and subsequent abnormal wear and arthritis. Development of Hip Dysplasia begins very early in life and is a result of both genetic and environmental influences. Through responsible breeding chances of genetic HD can be reduced. Dogs are not born with HD, but genetically disposed puppies can develop varying degrees of HD in their lives. The degree of HD has an affect on when the dogs show symptoms and how serious these symptoms are. Studies indicate that rapid growth and high body weight increase the likelihood of developing HD". Therefore dogs shouldn't grow too fast and should perform moderate and regular exercise.
Elbow Dysplasia (ED)
ED is the generic term to cover many different abnormal conditions of the elbow, which can include fragmented coronoid process (FCP), osteochondrosis (OC), ununited anconeal process (UAP) and degenerative joint disease (DJD). ED is a multifactorial disease, which means that a number of factors can influence the occurrence of the condition. The most important factor, however, is the genetic make up of the dog. Other factors such as growth rate, diet and level of exercise may influence the severity of the disease in an individual dog, but they cannot prevent the disease or reduce the potential of the dog to pass on the disease to offspring. However, studies show that ED has a high heritability confirming that a high proportion of the disease is genetic.Through responsible breeding a breeder will try to reduce the chances of ED.
Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD)
OCD occurs commonly in the shoulders of immature, large and giant-breed dogs. It begins with a failure of endochondral bone formation of the humeral head. Failure of endochondral bone formation leads to abnormal cartilage thickening. Increased cartilage thickness may result in malnourished cells within the cartilage, which may lead to formation of a cleft at the junction of calcified and noncalcified tissues. Normal activity may cause fissures in the cartilage that eventually induce joint inflammation and degenerative joint disease. OCD does not apparently cause clinical signs until a loose cartilage flap forms. Free cartilage flaps can lodge in joints and may increase in size with calcification. This can be seen on radiographs. Affected joints can include the shoulder, elbow, stifle and hock. In Swissys the most common site is the shoulder. The symptom seen is lameness, usually beginning at 5 to 12 months of age. Risk factors for OCD include age, gender, breed (genetic), rapid growth, and nutrient excesses, primarily calcium excesses. The hereditary nature is suggested because of high frequency of occurrence within certain bloodlines, and males are more commonly affected than females. As there is a genetic element in the occurrence of the disease, responsible breeding is also here important.