Coping with HD - Page 1

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by 8lu3d09 on 04 July 2019 - 22:07

My young working line GSD bitch is arthritic and has hip dysplasia.

The vet has suggested a total hip replacement but many people in the working dog community have suggested pain management and to build up her leg muscles instead. At the moment she is pain-free.

She is fully insured, so having the THR is affordable, however, I have been told it can weaken the leg bone and can be susceptible to breaking.

I need some advice from those of you who have/had dogs with HD and what course did you take or wish you had taken.

Her breeder is very upset and has offered me a free pup as compensation, however, it is not practical for me to have 2 dogs at the moment. The breeder has also asked that I do what is best for my dog.



by Hundmutter on 05 July 2019 - 20:07

Everybodies situation is different; different dogs have different degrees of HD, at different ages. Here is my two cents FWIW: I had a bitch who was diagnosed with HD when she was routinely X rayed by her breeder at 2 years, because under the British KC/BVA scheme, she was scored 29/31: Total 60. (Which as I am sure you know is high). She was removed from breeding plans and retired from Shows. She did not however show clinical problems, and for the rest of her life she was deliberately kept fit, because we saw that her muscular tone helped prevent her going 'off' her hips. She was not worked, in the sense that your dog would be, but she competed in Obedience. Only once she was nearing 14 years did she become particularly unsteady in her rear end. I think she was 'perfectly' well and happy all that long life; indeed I worried more about the non-progressive, non painful cancer she carried for the last couple of years than I did about her HD.
If she had shown signs of needing it, I would have got her one of the carts so she could get about, but she never did.

by hexe on 06 July 2019 - 06:07

How old is she, and how bad is the dysplasia?

A second opinion couldn't hurt; surgeons do tend toward wanting to fix everything surgically, if it's possible to do so, but sometimes the end result is going to be the same. May be worth getting a consult with an orthopedic rehab specialist, and see what their thoughts are on how much your dog will benefit from the THR.

A total hip replacement may be the right choice for your dog; it's also possible that committed management will provide her with the same level of relief as the surgery, but without the risks that can come with the latter. There's an increased risk of the dog developing osteosarcoma when orthopedic surgery involving plates, implants and/or screws are used, for example...managing her diet and conditioning, OTOH, don't do that.

It's likely that you'll be using pain management products for her either way, at some point.


by 8lu3d09 on 06 July 2019 - 06:07

She is 18 months.

She was x-rayed by one of the top orthopaedic veterinary surgeons in the UK.He does the X-ray for the BVA/KC, PennHIP and the SV. He said her hips are out of the sockets, so they at least won't be rubbing bone on bone.

He said that as she is not overweight could be the reason she is not showing signs of discomfort but that can change as she gets older.

The thing that concerns me with the hip replacement is the additional problems that may manifest later.


by Hundmutter on 06 July 2019 - 10:07

Over the years I have been told of dozens of suggested surgical interventions; oddly, I have not heard a lot afterwards. That may just be failure to follow up; or it may be that what Hexe said about the propensity towards developing other problems like osteosarcoma just did not manifest itself, maybe surgery was the answer and the dogs had a pain-free existence thereafter.

I will tell you that my bitch had an osteosarcoma, but it was very slow-growing and on a rib rather than a leg - so inoperable, but it did not interfere with movement - without ever having the hip surgery.


by 8lu3d09 on 07 July 2019 - 11:07

I think, for now, I will just maintain a good weight and a good diet with adequate exercise for her.

If in the near future if she starts to show signs of discomfort then I will look into the options available.

Advancement in canine treatment for HD seems to have progressed since 30 odd years ago when most vets back then would recommend PTS as the only viable option.😥


by Hundmutter on 07 July 2019 - 11:07

Undoubtedly; for instance, it is wonderful what can be done with 3D to make artficial joints etc. And pain-relieving medicines have improved a bit, too. But there are still risks associated with any surgery, so I tend to think it better to hang on as long as you can without going that route, until it is the obvious thing to prevent pain, if it reaches that point. Of course, I expect those vets promoting the surgical developments argue that these things stand a better chance of succeeding when done earlier, rather than later. It really seems to be that one is damned if you do, and damned if you don't ...

by astrovan2487 on 08 July 2019 - 01:07

Really tough decision to make, I'm sorry you're having to make it. My young working line female just went through a spinal surgery and had to make a similar decision, though surgery was pretty much required for her problem. After all the expensive diagnostics, treatments, and surgery nothings really changed and the vets just now have a wait and see approach until it gets life or death worse. I would get two, or even three opinions on a serious surgery before going through with it. From my experience and others I know with working dogs seems like surgeons overestimate a possible positive outcome after surgery.

Personally if the dog is acting fine I would not go with a surgery like that yet. Maybe follow up with x rays every so often to see how it's progressing and reassess then. I think it may be a good idea to get a rehab program for her with daily low impact exercises and swimming as much as possible to help build up muscle. Adequan injections (generic is much cheaper) can be done at home and daily joint supplements may help too.


by Hundmutter on 08 July 2019 - 06:07

Astrovan: Thumbs UpThumbs UpThumbs Up  (& so sorry to hear about your dog's spinal problem).


Yes, agree; & while she is young supplements may well be of noticeable use  (I've not found any particularly helpful for older dogs, over the years, but if given when still more or less a puppy,  I have seen them make a bit of a difference).  Re the repeat X-rays, at least you should be able to keep track of development of any associated arthritis.


by 8lu3d09 on 08 July 2019 - 14:07

@astrovan2487: sorry to hear about your dog, I do hope that she progresses with good results.

@Hundmutter: I have begun her on sodium ascorbate, Golden (turmeric)Paste, CBD oil and glucosamine from raw chicken feet.

There is a hydro pool 5 minutes away by car, so I'm hoping I can get my vet to do a referral.


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