Although individual Portuguese Water Dogs can be afflicted with various orthopedic problems, the primary disease condition affecting the breed is CHD, or Canine Hip Dysplasia. CHD is a common canine inherited condition that is not apparent at birth, in which there is irregular development of the hip joint as the dog grows. This results in a poorly fitting ball and socket, which with even normal activity tends to develop degenerative joint disease over time. CHD is a complex disease and it is believed that several genes are probably responsible. None of these have yet been identified and the only way to diagnose the disease is by examining radiographs of the hip joints. Many researchers believe the main contributors to hip dysplasia are joint laxity (or looseness) and a shallow acetabulum (or socket). Environmental influences can affect the expression of the disease. There can be a wide range of outcomes for the dog afflicted with CHD: some diagnosed by routine radiographs live normal lives and never develop clinical symptoms, where others are so uncomfortable or incapacitated that they require surgery. There are a number of things owners can do to help the PWD with CHD live as comfortably as possible. These include keeping weight off, regular moderate exercise, medical management, and in some cases surgery. All cases need to be looked at on an individual basis.

Resource: http://www.pwdca.org

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