6 1/2 mos Hip xrays...Opinions Please - Page 1

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by HerBazhen on 26 March 2018 - 00:03

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by joanro on 26 March 2018 - 00:03

What breed? Position does not look correct but hips look pretty loose and shallow. Is pup lame?


by HerBazhen on 26 March 2018 - 01:03

This is a WL GSD, Male, and yes...he is lame. It started at 5mos. I thought it was just loosey goosey puppy clumsiness. At 6 mos it progressed enough that I took him to the vet. She recommend xrays.

He is now 8 mos old, and lameness has progressed. He cannot scratch his neck. Crosses his hinds, stands with feet together almost like he is bracing them against each other, Has a hard time getting up when laying down, or sitting.

I got a second opinion...both said "Moderate to severe" HD. I then sent the exrays to another vet , and he also said the same.


by HerBazhen on 26 March 2018 - 01:03


I am cautious about vets...$$$ . I've had several recommend things that weren/t needed thinking I wouldnt know any better. In this instance... I don't know any better. I have sent these exrays to a specialist, as well as a video of my boy moving. I will be driving 5 hours to have him examined and exrayed again...and if it looks the same, I have an appointment for TPO. From all the research I've done, if I understand correctly, the time window is closing....

I want to check with everyone I can ...

by joanro on 26 March 2018 - 01:03

I know the heartbreak and I wish you and your boy the very best.


by HerBazhen on 26 March 2018 - 02:03

Aaaaah the heartbreak was when I thought I couldn't do anything. Then again when I found out I could, but it was so expensive...that I couldn't do anything. Now due to amazing grace.... he can get the surgery . Now I have hope...if everything I've read is true. A chance.

I've spent the last 2 days searching here, and on google, reading everything I can find... There is so much out there...allot like greek to me. So... I figured I'd ask here, to confirm again, because I so want to do the right thing for my boy. Who better to ask than than those who've been through it...not just read about it ?

Thank you for your well wishes Joanro....I'll take all I can get!

Added question.... The breeder says he's never had bad hips from the sire, and dams previous litters. (3 to my knowledge) I don't believe he tested them...but everyone before them were good dogs, tested with good results.

Is It strange for 1 pup to come up with bad hips out of the blue ?

Thanks for taking the time!


by Hundmutter on 26 March 2018 - 05:03

No it is not strange, it is unfortunately a feature of HD that it can show up sometimes in even lines carefully bred to try to avoid it.

My mentor had a home-bred litter (she was a Show breeder here in the UK) off a low hip-scored bitch, to a low hip-scored dog, both dam & sire having all tested and low /ie normal to good in OFA terms / A stamped in German terms scored dogs everywhere in their past six generations.

All those of her litter mates X rayed were fine, with UK scores lower than Breed Average at the time; but my own bitch from that litter had a total of 60 (split 29/31 on individual hips).

Now Vida never went off her hips, never until she was turned 13 years showed signs of arthritis in them, her muscles carried her through ! She never required surgery. Gaited well and happily around the Showring.
But she had to be taken out of the breeding program, which 'hurt' as she was doing her share of winning Shows !

Her dam had another litter, in which she also had one high-scoring bitch pup. Worse this time, at total 84. And unfortunately she was in a different environment and unluckier, as although she seemed sound at first, got arthritis by the time she was 4 years, so much earlier. She, Petra, had a different sire; Paco too was, like Danny, a good hips dog out of generations of good hips dogs.

So although Vida's father Danny produced another couple of high-scoring pups elsewhere, out of the ordinary to his usually good hipped offspring, that was not much influence here, and liability lay with Fluff, the dam of both litters. (She had had one initial litter prior, to a third sire, where there had been no hip problems.) So there were no more puppies from her, after that.

But this one family line illustrates just how chancy HD can be. Sorry you are stuck with it, and good wishes for your dog's surgeries.


by HerBazhen on 26 March 2018 - 14:03

Thank you Hundmutter... How lucky you got to enjoy Vida all those years. She must have been made out of some good stuff :-) I am sure mush of that had to do with you keeping her in such good condition. That is my plan for Draven as well.

I was aware that HD had a habit of surfacing in good lines with Black Russian Terriers, but wanted confirmation that it worked the same with GSD's. I assumed so, but the breeder alluded that it was unlikely, and more likely that I caused it by too much protein, or "over working " him. ( I also have his full brother, who at this point shows no signs of HD)

I have always thought, when you think you know everything...someone's likely to get hurt...

So I asked all three vets. All replies were pretty much the same. If Draven had good hips, it would take more than food, and too much exercise, to make them bad by 5 mos. I have fed both pups raw, and Draven has always been lean. His brother gets fat on air. As for exercise, both pups were allowed to accompany me doing chores 2x a day. As they got bigger, I separated them during chores also, because their play got too rough. (can't get much training done with both together either! lol) I still don't let either boy jump in, or out of my SUV, and my stairs are blocked off to them.

So that leads to the next question....

Apart from injury... How common is it for a pup to develop hip problems by 5 mons...BECAUSE of to much food or exercise ?

The breeder requested the exrays, the video's, both vets information, and a third vets opinion that "neither of us know". He said he wanted to talk to the vets because they may not have experience with large breed dogs. He said when dealing with GSD's most vets blame everything on HD. I sent him all information almost 2 wks ago.. None the less, his words made me more paranoid than I am about many vets...so I've gotten 4 opinions now (only by viewing the exays and video) and a second set of exrays coming on the 5th of april. ( the same day Draven will have surgery if the diagnoses is the same)

I have not heard back from the breeder. I emailed him again 2 days ago. I was hoping he would get an opinion from his vet as well. I have made the decision for the surgery without him at this point. I would much prefer his advice...but the time window is closing, and I feel I have no choice but to move ahead for Dravens sake. It wasn't easy to get the appointment I got on the basis of..."If the new exrays confirm...surgery...if not...no surgery on the same day"

My biggest fear after reading tons on this site and other places... There were several stories from people who had pups that had bad hips, surgery recommended, which they declined....and several months later their hips came to rights.

I know this surgery is major. The last thing I want to do is go into it, without doing my very best to educate myself, and get opinions from people with much more experience than I. I guess I'm looking for guidance from other breeders, as so far it seems, mine is missing in action.

If this was your pup...Would you advise me to go ahead with my plans ?

Am I being a bad owner for going ahead without the breeders involvement ?

My priority at this point is Draven. So I guess that last question doesn't really matter to me.

Thank you for the information on your Vita's linage and hip issues. It is what I surmised...but I try to stay away from thinking I know everything. Kudo's to you for doing the right things for her. Me thinks she was lucky to have you ! Thank you also for the good wishes for us... I need I need them. I haven't been in the puppy world for almost 12 yrs, since my old boy passed, I thought I'd give it another shot. So far...Im having a terrible time.

The best to you...


by Sunsilver on 26 March 2018 - 16:03

Okay, here's my take on this. Below is an x-ray of an Akita whose hip dislocated due to slipping on ice, or possibly rough play with his kennel mates. The dog was seriously lame, and bunny hopping, with his legs as close together as possible, as you described with yor dog. You can see that the 'bad' hip looks about the same as your dog's left hip, with the ball half way out of the socket. The owner had a FHO (femoral head osteotomy) procedure done on this dog, and within 6 months, you never would have known he had a problem. He was running with the other dogs, pain-free, and enjoying his life. (Unfortunately, he was also being used for breeding, but the vet said his other hip was 'okay' Not going to agree with that, but hey, not my dog... Sad Smile  )


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by Hundmutter on 26 March 2018 - 17:03

Re the Black Russians - yes I found that out recently too (through watching The Supervet on TV !) - we don't have too many in the UK, and worldwide I understand they are nowhere near as popular / numerous as GSDs, so when you are working with a smaller gene pool for any breed, it must prove hard to avoid such problems as HD, which are notoriously unpredictable.

As to the rates at which environmental issues make HD more likely, there are some studies which you can Search (others here may give you some links to explore ?) but as far as I know there are so far no really definite numbers or percentages for the various rates at which HD is 'caused' by those factors. Myself, I always believed (and so far do not see reason to doubt) that it IS basically about heredity; that whatever you do with a growing puppy, provided it isn't ridiculously excessive re: exercise or food, will do no more than  slightly increase the odds of bringing problems out.  In other words, the propensity for poor hip structure has to be there, in the dog's ancestral lines, before food, fitness, or mostly even trauma, will bring it out.  But, as I've shown, even where the ancestors have all been declared clear, it can still show up - which makes me agree with the geneticists who have concluded that a number of complex genetic factors are involved, with certain genes, if carried, modifying others, in certain individual dogs or families of dogs.

I feel I should stress that HD can occur in EVERY 'shape' and type of GSD, it is certainly not confined only to West German Showlines with accentuated sloping toplines, OR 'flat'-backed Working Lines, or longcoats, or any other group - it hits across all divisions in this breed.  In case you find anyone claiming:  " it's worse in ... because ..." !!!


As you wrote, if you have two from the same litter and bring them up the same way, with the same food and exercise, and prevent things like jumping off heights in the same way for both, that sort of bears out that what we are talking about is the inheritence of genetic make-up, doesn't it ?


The question of surgery ... if the hips are badly formed because the pelvis does not have sufficient depth of sockets for the heads of femur to sit snugly in, or if the heads of the femurs are badly shaped from puppyhood, then those things will never improve, at least by much. This is why we use radiography.  If however laxness in the hips just relates to 'soft tissue' structures, the tendons & ligaments & muscles which hold the bones together, then as a pup grows older that may well 'cure' itself.  This is WHY we often see dogs like Vida who manage fine with 'technical' HD because her muscles took up any slack as she grew, and the effects of the bones in the joint rubbing together and eroding cartilege or producing arthritic change was lessened.  But I don't know that there is any way to predict whether that will be the case in any given dog, or not.  You do hear very good results from surgery - but then, there are different operations; sometimes just the ligaments get cut, sometimes there is total joint replacement using prosthetics.  I don't know what it is your vet wants to do, and have not known enough dogs that have had surgery well enough, to try to advise you - maybe others can.  While a pup's growth plates are still active, it usually seems TO ME to be too soon to do anything drastic, because, yes, we do hear of dogs who recovered apparently completely as they grew up.  But what you decide to do will depend on your individual dog and your own vet's advice, I can't tell you what I would decide to do in your case.


As to involving the breeder - if it was me I would always want to keep them informed; whether or not they were trying to duck responsibility !  But as may be apparent to regular readers of PDB, the relationship between owners and breeders frequently seems very different in the UK from what it can be like in America.

Best of luck, whatever happens next.



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