Malformation of the hip joint, particularly the way the hip ball fits into the hip socket, can result in development of arthritis due to damage done to the surrounding cartilage. The incidence of hip dysplasia in Havanese is one in ten, so make sure that this is one of the tests that is done on your puppy’s relatives. Dysplastic dogs may, or may not, show clinical signs of lameness, since like humans the degree of immobility may be less in a very fit dog. Treatment depends on the severity, but may require surgical intervention. There are a variety of surgical procedures available ranging from femoral head removal to total hip replacement. Conservative treatment may include administration of chondroprotective drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, and acupuncture.
Legg-Calve-Perthes or LCP can be tested for on the hip x-ray. It is primarily a small dog problem which is the result of a poor blood supply to the femoral head which causes the bone to die off. This is a condition which frequently shows up by one year of age. Signs of the disease include irritability, chewing at the hip flank, progressive lameness, muscle atrophy and crunchy feeling when moving the hip.
Because of the possibility of Chondrodysplasia (dwarfism) in the Havanese we regularly test that all our breeding stock have correct joint articulation in the knee joint. This is an extremely complex issue with very little research available on how to diagnose the problem. However, liver issues are often associated with Chondrodysplasia which is another reason why we do bile acid tests for liver function on all our breeding dogs.