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Need some Hip Dysplasia Advice

March 17th, 2011, 11:52 AM
We purchased a Purebred Chocolate lab from a breeder back in December of 2009, she was born in September. Recently I started noticing that she was really struggling to get up with her back end and always limping and lame after some running or playing outside with the other dogs. I took her in to have her x-rayed and discovered that she has what the vet calls a mild/to moderate case of HD.

His recommendation was that we wait as long as possible until she is noticeably in pain and then we could look at surgery options. He said it could be weeks or months and it may not even get worse before she is 2 and we will never have to do surgery. I cant stand seeing her limping and struggling to get up after only playing for 10-15 min so i am wondering is there any drawback to having the surgery now before the pain really presents itself?

The surgery is question is the Femoral head excision where they remove the ball and just let the muscle regrow. Has anyone had any experience with this type of surgery and is it better to have it done sooner rather than later. Any advice or tips you could give from your experiences would be most helpful.



March 17th, 2011, 01:41 PM
We purchased a Purebred Chocolate lab from a breeder back in December of 2009,

Sorry I don't have any advice on the hip dysplasia, but would suggest you contact the breeder to let them know what's going on, so that they can stop perpetuating that lineage. If they're ethical.

March 17th, 2011, 09:14 PM
Surgery for hip dysplasia is not 100% effective, there is a small risk it will make things worse. In addition, surgery before the bones have stopped growing can pose additional risks. On the other hand, delaying the surgery may lead to arthritic joint damage, and is also leaving your dog uncomfortable in the mean time.

Because you have already paid for the testing, your vet will likely be happy to speak to you on the phone or in person to discuss the pros and cons of your options, based on the specific findings for your dog's tests. Often when you first get the diagnosis you aren't prepared to ask all your questions until you've left the office and thought about it. A good vet is understanding of that.

Please tell the breeder. Your dog is so young to be displaying debility, I would wonder whether they are reputable, although occasionally the condition does come up unexpectedly from healthy parents. As it is genetic, if the parents are bred again, future puppies are definitely at risk.

March 17th, 2011, 09:47 PM
How terrible :(
As a breeder, yes I would want to know about one of my pups in this situation. It is actually stipulated in my contract among other things.
Has your vet suggested medications or things to help ease your dogs pain?
I am not a fan of medicating, however there are some wonderful natural products you can start your dog on for comfort. My vet and I waited out medicating my old rescue boy who had severe HD/ED and arthritis and found a combination of natural stuff that really eased his pain.
Having a dog with HD is NOT a walk in the park, it has to be one of the hardest things to watch your dog suffer with on a daily basis.

March 17th, 2011, 10:06 PM
I teched on a FHO surgery once before a few months ago, and man was that one of the more brutal surgeries I've ever been on. I've been on two open heart surgeries before and this made me cringe much more.. you literally have to pretend you are a caveman with a hammer and a chisel and chop the femoral head off. I think I have a picture of the thing after we took it out, but I'm sure you probably don't want to see that. I actually had the surgery done on my rottweiler ages ago, she is no longer with us though. What I can say though is I would REALLY try to put that surgery off.. the only reason it was an option for the one I teched on was because the dog literally could not even stand, his back legs were totally crippled to the point he was going to the bathroom on his self.. the surgery helped his case alot but in most cases you really should try supportive therapy first.

My rottie that we did the surgery one lived a miserable life afterwards.. we put her down when she was 7. A relative bought her for Christmas for me when I was a toddler and got her from a bad BYB. That sentence in its self is enough to make most members heads explode :rolleyes:

The best thing to do is-

Regular low impact exercise. Swimming is THE best choice.
Glucosamine and Chondrotin- lots of it! Try things like this-

The dog needs to stay at a HEALTHY WEIGHT. Very important! Overweigh puts more stress on the joints and will cut your dogs life short very quickly.

What food are you using? A good food helps too. Many foods have added vitamins and things to promote healthy hips. Active Care by Breeders Choice works really well.

Other things to try would be Acupressure or Acupuncture, Chiropractors & Physical Therapy. And yes, all those things are available for dogs now a days!

March 20th, 2011, 04:44 PM
So first things first,

I have contacted the breeder and they were very receptive and shocked to say the least! She said every other puppy from that litter and for the last 10 years has been hip dysplasia free. The contract was either half the money back or a new puppy based on us putting our current one down which just wasnt going to happen.

Our plan really was to wait on the surgery until after 2 but just the last few days everytime we throw the ball and she pivots or anything on that leg she is yelping out in pain. Now we did talk to the vet and he said to find that place where she can excercise without being in pain or lame afterwards but as of right now thats seems like that would mean no exercise at all!

To Kathryn, we have started her on a lot of the things you mentioned in your post so thank you for that. The hardest thing really is not being able to just go out and play and constantly having to think about is this to much for her?

Anyhow will talk to the vet again and see what he thinks is the best option and will be sure to keep you all posted.

Thanks again for the replies and the information.

March 20th, 2011, 04:58 PM
Finley5930, do I understand correctly that if you choose to keep the dog and look after her, say for example you have fallen in love with her, that the breeder will do NOTHING??? Or are you getting half your money back in order to help pay for the tests and treatments?

March 20th, 2011, 09:24 PM
I dont only provide money back if the dog is PTS, if in my health guarantee something genetic such as this especially at this age money would be refunded as it will be costly to the owners.
Even if it has never happened in 10 years, the fact is, it did happen this time. Genetics can be tricky like that.

Check into unfiltered apple cider vinegar, I found this to work far better than any glucosamine/msm/condroitin or shark cartlage I had used with my boy.

March 20th, 2011, 09:36 PM
I dont only provide money back if the dog is PTS, if in my health guarantee something genetic such as this especially at this age money would be refunded as it will be costly to the owners.
Even if it has never happened in 10 years, the fact is, it did happen this time. Genetics can be tricky like that.

That "should" be how a guarantee works, but many written guarantees aren't worth the paper they're written on. Anyone offering a pts for 50% or bring it back and we'll replace it guarantee knows that no-one will ever collect on the guarantee. A toaster? Yeah, I'll bring it back in and you give me one of a comparable make and model. A puppy??? Of course not!

March 20th, 2011, 09:49 PM
I'm thinking though, since I know nothing about your breeder its worth throwing this out there.
The most important thing for breeders should be long term care for their pups, have you talked to your breeder about not taking another pup but working something out for the half the money back? We're not even sure if this isnt the option you have yet or not but I think its worth trying.
Especially if you really emphasize that you want to keep your dog alive and well and not replace.

March 20th, 2011, 09:52 PM
As much as I still agree that "responsible breeding" is an oxymoron, even the most reputable breeders can not have control on outside factors! If the breeder is indeed telling the truth and has made every effort to breed quality pet labs, they can't be responsible for environmental factors once the dog has left. Hip dysplaysia is usually blamed on genetics, which is true, but also other things apply. Injuries can happen and a breeder can hardly be blamed for an injury that results in a disability many months down the road. I know people probably are shocked I would be defending a breeder, but I'm really not, I'm just saying that there are other things you have to factor in.

Stemming from the toaster comment above.. if you bought a car and crashed it into a tree because you were texting while you were driving, you wouldn't be able to go back to the dealer and get a new one for free. They sold you a car that was of quality to the best of anyones knowledge, it is not THEIR fault the accident happened, intentional or not.

I hope that makes sense. In the case of bad BYB's and Puppy Brokers, yes, I would absolutely want their head served to the OP on a silver platter.. but if the breeder is telling the truth and had done everything in their power to produce a pup of sound health and temperament, it's not their fault this sad situation happened anymore than it is the OP's.

My rottie with HD was from a very bad BYB... but the original factor that started the whoollleeee big problem with her hips was she jumped off a patio and took a bad fall into the ground... while I'm sure crappy genetics didn't help, that really wasn't the BYB's fault. I have no proof one way or another that genetics caused it anymore than the original fall & resulting injuries did. I still hope the BYB rots in you know where just for the whole situation anyways, but that's besides the point.

I do hope you are able to get some reconciliation from the breeder though, even if it is in the way of moral support. I would make an effort to check into their story to, just to ensure they ARE telling the truth and are not just playing you. Hopefully they can do some more genetic testing if they have not already, and end the breed line now before any other pups end up like yours :(

March 20th, 2011, 10:29 PM
Kathryn, If I crashed my car into a tree due to texting, would you promise to refund my money providing I took the car to the dump? Because if you did, I would wonder why you are suggesting any responsibility whatsoever for my accident.

I hope my interpretation of the situation with the breeder is wrong, and that their decision will be based upon whether the condition is determined to be most likely due to genetics or environment (accident, weight, etc.) I believe that determination can be made.

March 21st, 2011, 12:55 AM
People, in Australia people sue the breeder if their dog developes HD, and they win. Usually it means the breeder has to refund the price and pay all expenses for said dog during its lifetime, relating to the HD of course. There is none of this being told you must put it down or they won't do anything.
Aaron, please don't expect your dog to play ball with you. Gentle walks instead perhaps, and judging by a couple of dysplastic shelties I have, a visit to a canine chiropractor would be excellent as often HD puts their back out. Erykah's suggestion re the apple cider vinegar is good, I feed that also. I wonder have you seen, or should be asking to see, the hip score certificates for the parents of your dog?
For those wondering, no, I didn't sue the breeders over my dysplastic dogs. Gave them a break and the benefit of the doubt instead, but it is cases like this that have breeders testing their breeding stock thoroughly now.

March 21st, 2011, 01:21 AM
I would love to live in a country like that. In this babaric neck of the woods legal responsibility is limited to providing an animal with water and a roof, and to the contents of the written contract.

For my breed (which is the one I've done extensive research on for personal reasons), guarantees generally range 6 months - 2 years, have a list of exceptions that include the conditions that are prevalent in the breed, and always require return for any compensation.

My breed is not alone, many are the same way. From what finley said, I would be surprised if the breeder offers support towards the surgery. This is an 18 month old lab already with HD to the point of lameness, we're not even talking about passing routine 24 months screening.

March 21st, 2011, 01:39 AM
Just a thought ~ are you sure it's just HD? If it's at a mild to moderate stage in progression I'm surprized at the severity of symptoms. One of my grrrls, Ceili has severe HD. It was diagnosed by our regular Vet when she developed a limp but the cause of the limp was actually a torn cruciate which the surgeon discovered after additional testing ~ and expertise.

March 21st, 2011, 01:43 AM
They are a lot tougher here then. More compassion for the puppy buyer than the breeder, in the Courts anyway. And if there are problems in our breed then, according to our Canine Council's Code of Ethics and the rules and regulations, we must test our breeding stock. And hip scoring here is harder too. I know someone whose dogs' hip scores were not acceptable here so they sent the x rays to the States to be scored, where they were passed as okay. This was info from a vet I might add.

March 21st, 2011, 02:21 AM
Here's something scary for you then. An example of why a breeding dog might not be tested before she is bred.
Instructions for CKC registration:
"A Litter out of a Dam under six (6) months of age or over twelve (12) years of age at the time of mating will NOT be registered unless accompanied by a notarized affidavit or satisfactory evidence supporting the facts set out in this Application."

We do have a Code of Practice for Canadian Kennel Operations, written by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association:
"Bitches should not be bred before 18 months of age, or before their second estrous cycle. In addition, a bitch or sire should not be bred until she/he has received clearances for all hereditary diseases that can be tested for in that breed – the age will vary with the breed and the disorder being tested for."
but "this Code of Practice for the care, management and breeding of dogs is a voluntary one." and very few ckc members or breeders are aware of the code and even fewer choose to follow this and many other of the recommendations therein.

March 21st, 2011, 09:56 AM
Obviously those who choose not to follow that code would be the ones who may be in trouble if a customer took them to Court. Do all breeders of pedigreed dogs there have to be members of (what?) the Canadian Kennel Club? Here no-one can breed a registered dog or show one, not even handle one in the ring, unless they are members of their States Canine Council or Association.
Kathryn, sorry to hear of all the trauma and upset you went through with your Rottie. It's such a painful complaint, hard for owners to live with dogs suffering that way too.

March 21st, 2011, 10:01 AM
I dont think you have to be a member to breed registered dogs.
And there are so many registries around here, some of which I could probably register my horse as a great dane if I so chose to.

March 21st, 2011, 01:12 PM
Obviously those who choose not to follow that code would be the ones who may be in trouble if a customer took them to Court. Do all breeders of pedigreed dogs there have to be members of (what?) the Canadian Kennel Club? Here no-one can breed a registered dog or show one, not even handle one in the ring, unless they are members of their States Canine Council or Association.

Pfft. I wish! Even though the code is written entirely for the welfare of the dogs, it is voluntary, as are our codes for livestock care. The idea is that better success will be achieved by setting goals for people, rather than imposing a law and enforcing it. To a certain extent that is probably correct.

The Animal Pedigree Act, which is a law, states that no dog in Canada can be sold as "purebred" unless it is registered or registerable with the governing registering body. Each breed gets only one registry, and for most dog breeds that is the Canadian Kennel Club. One popular breed stands alone from the CKC, the border collie. Because the basis on which CKC dogs are championed is physical conformation, and because the standard to which judges judge in many cases is contrary to the health of the dog (hip angulation to the point of deformity, muzzle too short to hold a proper set of teeth), the suitability of the dog as an everyday pet (excessive coats that joe blow can't keep up with grooming-wise), and the maintenance of breed-specific behaviours (a well-bred livestock guard should be unable to handle the crowded environment of a show ring), I have nothing but admiration for the border collie folk, who put brains and conformational correctness as the selection criteria for the breed.

You do not need to be a member in order to register dogs with the ckc, but the fees are significantly lower for members. You can also participate with a spayed/neutered dog who is not registered, in certain events, by getting a "limited performance number" or LPN registration. An increasing portion of people don't register at all, for one reason or another. Many, not all, members are very "clubby" so it can be hard to find a warm welcome, particularly if you have any personal opinions at all.

Personally, I would like to see enormous changes in our national club, so that the opinions of conformation judges are better balanced by the veterinary limitations of conformational correctness, and by trainers so that behaviour is a much greater concern.

Getting back to the original topic... well I guess I don't have anything new to add there.

March 21st, 2011, 10:54 PM
Thanks for all the replies and information. As part of our guarantee we could choose between 50% money back or a new puppy providing we showed proof of putting our current dog to sleep. We have since received half of our money back and were planning to use that towards the surgery. I will post the two x rays that were taken. The left side is obviously what our vet diagnosed as mild/moderate HD. He did say on the other side though that she does have a muscle injury that will heal in time. He just said to make sure when making our decision to have the surgery that we were positive it was the left leg she was lame on and not the one with the muscle tear.

Will definitely check into unfiltered apple cider vinegar!!

March 21st, 2011, 11:12 PM
Glad to hear the breeder is helping you out with the 50%. Limps can look like they are injured in the opposite leg, that's true! Could limping from the hd cause strain on the muscle on the opposite leg? After the muscle injury is healed (hopefully that will be soon?), you will know whether it was the hd causing the problem and can go from there. :fingerscr Hope it was just the muscle hurt in play, and your 50% refund can grow in the bank a long time until you need it.

March 21st, 2011, 11:18 PM
Thats good to hear (breeder part)
And I will be keeping you in my thoughts through this all.

March 22nd, 2011, 12:58 PM
Doesn't look terribly bad. I hope that you can work with your pup and hopefully prevent any further damage.

I wish I could find the copy of some of the xrays of HD I have seen. I will check through my files and see if I can find the one I am looking for so you have a comparison as to what a REALLY bad case looks like.

March 23rd, 2011, 09:35 PM
That would be really great if you were able to find some. Just to see some different pictures of varying degrees of HD might ease my mind a bit that I can work with this.:thumbs up

March 23rd, 2011, 09:51 PM
So, pardon my ignorance, but what the world causes the hip to be like that? Poor dog. :(

March 23rd, 2011, 10:21 PM
So, pardon my ignorance, but what the world causes the hip to be like that? Poor dog. :(

You mean, what actually causes the dysplasia? It can result from poor breeding/genetics, injury (more or less the case of my old dog:rip:)... different factors. Basically, the hip bone pops out of the socket and becomes stuck that way.. you can't just stick it back in there because it won't stay, so you often have to do many surgeries to correct the condition. It's not a fun thing to deal with... especially since it is mostly a disease of the larger dogs. My rottie that had it was 120lbs in her prime, and had to be carried around for the last months of her life.

March 24th, 2011, 01:47 AM
Kathryn, not forgetting that they virtually have 'corners' rather than nice round balls to fit the socket . X rays like those above make me grit my teeth. Poor dog.
Laughing at you@your chestnut Great Dane Erykah. Some would say we are over governed here but it's all good IMO, and I don't mind them being strict on hip score results. A dog of mine had a sire with a score that should have made him not suitable for breeding, and when I quizzed the guy who had done the scoring and passed him, his pathetic answer was "Well, I must have been feeling lenient that day". So fantastic, hey? He feels lenient, so more dogs with hip problems are born because of it. I NEVER let him hip score one of my own dogs.

March 24th, 2011, 02:21 AM
Aaron, here is an x ray of my sheltie Ben, who scored 7 on one hip but a whopping 38 on the other. A tiny bit of his history.... they couldn't get this dog to work properly in the ring, really gait out, so they got rid of him. I on the other hand took him to a chiropractor if and when needed, fed him a better diet, and got him to the stage where he could gallop in circles giving my male cattle dogs a rev :D , enjoying himself , and win at our big sheltie show. He would show his discomfort though when standing on my lap. The minute I picked him up he would take the weight off his bad hip. Another way they show it is if you are grooming them lying down, if you go to lift the effected leg to groom inside the thigh, naturally they don't like it. This dog did not have to, finally, be put down due to his hip, he had congestive heart failure. :( Your dog could go through life without an op. if you are lucky, and prepared to let it take it easy when it's having a bad day, but there again, being a bigger heavier dog, it could need the op. Time will tell. Be advised though not to rush into it. A friend had a Dobe that she had hip scored and was told it had HD and the breeder was horrified, said it wasn't possible. Turned out the breeder was correct, not the guy who did the hip scoring. At some stage the dog had injured a muscle, with bleeding into the muscle, and from memory I think they said it had calcified. They removed the muscle and the dog was fine.(Off topic, but I snapped the equivalent muscle in my own leg - extremely painful - and just 'got over it' with time. No op. for me. I can tell you, if you'd asked me to chase a ball I'd have yelped too. I realised why, when it happens to football players on TV, they roll around on the ground in agony, holding their leg. :D)

March 24th, 2011, 02:38 AM
Poor Ben! That right side does look terrible, every part of the joint has been damaged or deformed from wear and not fitting together properly. How old was he when that xray was taken?

March 24th, 2011, 08:00 AM
SamIAm, Ben was one month off 4 years old when they were done. I didn't buy him till he was 21 months old , he'd been sold as a pup to someone else, came back to his breeder 3 months before I got him with a number of problems that weren't rectified till I got to work on him, and his show career was over the minute I had that x ray done. Couldn't justify asking him to perform. Such a lovely handsome and gentle boy, I was just glad to be able to spoil him rotten and not condemn him for things humans were responsible for. Anyway, we'd thought originally it was just a back problem but obviously his hip (and back, which benefited from a chiro' working on him) was bad before we got him.

March 26th, 2011, 03:06 PM
I'm really torn as to what to do! I took her for just a calm walk this morning for about 30 min. When we got back she laid down on her bed and when she just got up she was just holding that leg with the bad hip in the air not putting any pressure on it. I know the vet said to find her threshold but at this point i think anything other than laying around gets her sore. It seems to get worse if she relaxes for awhile. Is that normal? I mean does it naturally tighten up or get worse when they don't use it rather than when they do? Thinking I should have some more x rays done just to be sure of what I am dealing with here.:wall:

March 26th, 2011, 03:22 PM
If it is the HD leg she is holding up after resting, it might help to encourage her to adopt a different resting posture than she is used to. There could be pressure due to a certain bend in the joint, or lying on one side or the other that causes the joint to slip out and cause pressure on a blood vessel or nerve, or discomfort as soon as she gets up and the joint moves back into place.

Holding a leg up does not always mean pain - think of what your posture is when standing, you might put equal pressure on both feet or tend to lean more on one leg. Try to get an idea whether she is just choosing to hold up the leg because it is more comfortable, or whether you think it is definitely pain.

April 23rd, 2011, 10:20 AM
I am sorry your dog is in pain. I have two dogs with hip dysplasia, so let me offer my experience. The older dog (10 years old now) started displaying symptoms when she was about 4. She suddenly rolled over and started crying. Took her to the vet and they found severe bilateral hip dysplasia. Put her on GLC1000 (a glucosamine controitin supplement) and waited a while. She was doing a bit better, but still was having problems walking and she was starting to get mean. Took her to university that specializes in total hip replacement and they strongly recommended a total hip replacement on one hip. Turns out she had a bladder infection at the time so the surgery had to be delayed, they gave me antibiotics and rescheduled the surgery for 3 weeks later. During that time she seemed to get much better. She was moving around as if she had no more pain. I delayed the surgery another 3 weeks and discussed this with the surgeon who said she still needed the surgery because her apparent "recovery" really had more to do with her trying to look fine then her actually being fine. I got 3 separate additional opinions from local vets and all but one said the same thing - she had to have the surgery. So I took her and this time a different surgeon was on duty that day. He examined her and REFUSED to do the surgery. He said what I had been saying, she is managing fine and this surgery should only be done as an absolute last resort, it is much too dangerous to be considered otherwise. When I asked why for 3 months prior to our first visit she was having so much trouble walking, he said that it was most likely the pain from bladder infection causing the symptoms, not the HD. She is 10 now and doing just fine. I keep her weight down, give her GLC1000 twice a day, and don't overdo it when exericising her. This is a dog with SEVERE bilateral HD.

My other dog was diagnosed at about a year old with mild HD on only one side. She is 4 now. This dog also gets GLC1000 twice a day and her weight is kept in check, BUT she has more problems than the dog with the severe bilateral HD. The younger dog will limp after a long walk in the park and be noticably sore for an entire day whereas both of my older dogs (including the one with the severe case of HD) show no fatigue or symptoms at all. What I have learned is that it does not matter what level of severity of HD the dog has, it is more a factor of how well they are able to manage the pain. My older dog with the severe case manages her pain extremely well and will most likely never need surgery. My younger dog does not manage her pain well and she may require surgery if I am not able to manage her activities well enough to prevent her from being in pain. HD can be tricky that way, they need exercise to keep the muscles in shape to allow the joint to function more smoothly, but too much exercise, or too strenuous exercise can cause more problems.

So in my experience, there really are many factors involved in making that decision to have surgery. But I want to stress to you that you may want to get another opinion because there may be more going on with your dog then just HD, as was the case with my older dog.

Good luck.

April 23rd, 2011, 10:49 AM
In January, we rescued a 7 year old male GSD. When we got previous medical records, we learned that he had grade 2 HD. We were extremely surprised as he shows no signs at all. He jumps up, never favours any leg etc. I am sorry to hear that you are having so much problem with your baby. Makes me wonder if it is something else. Perhaps the muscle injury is causing all the problems. I definately would go down that road before anything else.

Good luck.

April 24th, 2011, 02:55 PM
Your poor baby sounds like he's in real pain. I too question whether there is something else going on besides HD and a strained muscle on the other side. If he strained the muscle on the other side, what did it do to the left hip when he was originally injured? I would suggest getting a second opinion or having your puppy looked at by a surgeon. A second opinion would be a lot less traumatic for the puppy than the surgery. As far as I know labs skeleton's don't mature until 2 years old or even later and if you don't wait to have surgery done you may be facing several more surgeries.

One of my dogs several years ago tore her cruciate ligament and then 6 months after the surgery tore the other cruciate ligament. She was definitely in a lot of pain. I was told at the time by the orthopedic surgeon that cruciate tears can maskerade as HD so he had to rule that out before proceeding with the first surgery. I realize you've had the xrays done that show HD but is it possible there is something more going on at this time. The rapid increase in pain after an easy walk tells me that he needs to be looked at again, maybe by someone else.

Good luck with him :grouphug: