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German Shepherd Dog > Tibial bone deformities in GSDs. (15 replies)

by LionQueen on 05 July 2009 - 22:07

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After noticing my GSD puppy was walking strangely, throwing his hind feet outwards like a duck and was knock-kneed, he was diagnosed as having tibial bone deformities in both his hind legs with subsequent surgery (osteotomy/TPLO) done on his left hind leg first, the most severe one. We did the surgery when is was 10.5 months old. He is now 10 weeks out of surgery and doing better, but will never be 100% normal.

Of course, my dog will never be able to be shown, bred, or participate in any GSD activites such as schutzhund, or agility because of this.

Recently, I met someone else whose dog appears to have the same deformity and he purchased his dog from the same breeder as I did. Interesting though, the dogs had different sires and dams.

Has anyone else had any experience with this type of deformity?  I was wondering how common this is, if it is becoming more prevalent as a GSD issue (similar to dysplasia), what may cause it, if it's genetic, etc?  I am trying to find out as much information
as possible as this has been a major problem to overcome. 

Thanks, for any info you may have.


 

by Sunsilver on 05 July 2009 - 23:07

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Personally, I've never heard of this before. Were these German or American bloodlines?

by DebiSue on 05 July 2009 - 23:07

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Sounds like Rickets...did you ask your vet what he thought could have caused it?  I have no idea what it is, Rickets is the first thing that popped into my mind and it is caused by a lack of vitamin C if I remember correctly.

by Sunsilver on 05 July 2009 - 23:07

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DebSue, wrong vitamin. It's vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, which is why rickets is more common in the northern hemisphere.

by DebiSue on 05 July 2009 - 23:07

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Sunsilver,

Thanks for setting me straight!  I had Scurvy mixed up with Rickets.  Am I wrong in thinking that a treatment with vitamin D can reverse some of the damage?

Deb

by Sunsilver on 05 July 2009 - 23:07

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Okay, I've checked Fred Lanting's book, Canine Orthopedic Disorders, and there's a condition called Genu Valgum (knock knees).  It is
....caused by insufficient growth rate of the lateral portions of the femur or tibia or both. [It] might lead to or be found concurrently with OCD of the stifle. The pup of 3 to 6 months, typically, may be reluctant to play, rise or lie down, and may arch their back and draw the rear legs further forward and/or together under the torso when walking. Sometimes a noticeable medial (inward) bowing can be seen. Hocks frequently remain rather extended (straight, vertical, like a Chow's), althought the pup resists efforts to extend his full leg....

What initiates the abnormal growth pattern? Genes of course, but the more immediate cause might be poor blood and nutrient supply. Between these two there is not enought experimental data to build a good etiology, but since the condition is seen primarily in large dogs with fast growth rates, nutrition and rapid weight gain almost surely must be implicated. The wise breeder would stay well away from such dogs and their nearest relatives.

by malshep on 05 July 2009 - 23:07

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Different litter, different bred dogs, but probably the same line. Seems to be the very large breed dogs that have this issue, very fixable and they can live a good life, make sure you follow the orthopods instructions for the rehab therapy.
Always,
Cee

by Sunsilver on 05 July 2009 - 23:07

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Hmmm...I don't have time to look that up right now, but since the bones of young, growing animals are very plastic, yes, I think that it might.

I used to work in the osteology lab at the University of Toronto. One of the specimens was the skeleton of a young ocelot that had suffered from rickets. The weight bearing bones were bowed outward, similar to the curve you see on an archery bow. The owner had fed it only raw hamburger meat, with no vitamin or mineral supplements.  That's one reason I caution people to REALLY research what they're doing when they decide to feed raw!

by Sunsilver on 06 July 2009 - 00:07

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BTW you might want to contact Fred for advice. He is an expert on canine orthopedic disorders, and his company actually designs replacement joints for dogs! (He's an engineer by profession, but also got his license as a veterinary assistant, so he could work in the OR, and see orthopedic surgeries being done firsthand.)

Here's his website:  http://www.fredlanting.org/   You can contact him at mr.gsd@netscape.com.

by LionQueen on 06 July 2009 - 00:07

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Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 09:47 pm
Both my dog and the other dog are of German bloodlines. I got my pup at 8 weeks of age and kept him on the same diet he was on when whelped (Royal Canin).  I raised him as carefully as one can raise one of these precious dogs so I was bewildered when the condition began manifesting itself.

Interesting, though, he was never uncomfortable getting up or laying down, nor was he unwilling to play.  I did begin to notice his "funny" walk when he was about 4-5 months of age, and that's when I started to consult with the specialists. I notified the breeder of the situation at the same time.

The surgeon who performed the osteotomy said he has seen this before several times and believes it is due to genetics.

Unfortunately, my dog's sire has been bred again and is still a breeding dog, as is the other dog's sire.  I did tell the breeder they should consider refraining from breeding the two dogs until further testing or research is done, but it's not my call.  :-(

They said they'd never seen this before, yet within a 4-5 month period another dog from them is manifesting the same conditions.  This whole thing just has me out of sorts. 

I'm hoping because I had the surgery on him when still young enough, he will recover and be able to live a happy and full life. It is a long road of recovery.

I'll check out Fred Lanting's website. Thanks for that info. 

My dog goes back in on Thursday for a follow-up so we'll see what the vet says and see how his recovery is going.  I just pray we don't have to do surgery on the right leg as well.  It was tough enough doing the left. :-(



by Sunsilver on 06 July 2009 - 01:07

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Good luck with the checkup! According to Fred, the disorder responds well to treatment. (That is, if it's the same disorder I gave info on above!)

Does it sound the same as what he has?

by DebiSue on 06 July 2009 - 01:07

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LionQueen,

Whatever the outcome I hope things go well with your pup.  Enjoy him and we will keep our fingers crossed for a good outcome.

Deb

by SitasMom on 06 July 2009 - 01:07

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great detective work guys

by LionQueen on 10 July 2009 - 20:07

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Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 09:47 pm
My dog had his 3 month check-up yesterday for his osteotomy/TPLO and the prognosis was good.  He still has a couple of months of work ahead of him to build up his muscle in his left hind leg but is getting better each day. 

Unfortunately, he's still twisting his left paw outward like a charlie chaplin/duck walk but the vet hopes in time
he'll build up the muscle and stop turning it outward.  If not we have to go back in and cut the bone and turn
it inward so he will place his paw foreward when walking. 

I am also concerned with the breeder who has now sold two dogs with this same deformity (within a very short period
of time) and is claiming she has never encountered anything like this before.  Especially since she was aware of my dog's condition when the other person stepped forward and told her about his dog's deformity.  There is no telling how many dogs prior to mine which had the same condition or how many dogs in future litters which might.

I just don't want to see others spending a lot of money for a dog from a supposedly "reputable breeder" of which the dog is supposedly bred with "superior temperament, beautiful conformation, excellent health, and high levels of trainability" having to go through what I went through with my dog, the cost of surgery, the recovery, etc. 

Yes, I could have "put him down" and gotten a replacement dog after two years (per the contract, and these deformities aren't even covered in the contract...only hip and elbow.)   How in the heck do you do that to a dog you've bonded with that you've had since 8 weeks of age?

 Why lie about it if you have bred a few puppies with deformities?  Who's to gain from that?  I just don't understand any of this, and I can't, in good faith, ever recommend this breeder to anyone.

Are there breeding practices or standards a breeder should adhere to, or is it just a "buyer beware" type of situation?

by VomMarischal on 12 July 2009 - 04:07

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LionQueen,

Of course there are standards and practices that breeders should adhere to, but there's nobody to make them do it if they don't. Some people have ethics, some don't. It's a breeder eat buyer world, unfortunately. A good breeder is relatively rare, if you include in your search every single person who produces litters. Therefore, you pretty much have to print out and memorize the thread that Mystere was referring to. 

UC Davis has been researching that deformity, by the way; you might get info from them about it. My friend in Great Dane rescue took in a whole litter of them but only one survived, sadly; the other three were euthanized because the pain never went away. Your pup is doing lots better than these puppies were.  

And the bastard is out there producing more litters, anything to turn a fast buck. Makes you sick.

by VomMarischal on 12 July 2009 - 14:07

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Joined: Mon Sep 08, 2008 01:48 am
 By the way, UC Davis thinks the problem IS lack of vitamin C. DebiSue, you apparently had it right!

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