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JenniCB 02-18-2014 04:52 AM

Possible hip/elbow dysplasia
:( Just found out that our 5 mth old beautiful girl Penny may have elbow and or hip dysplasia. All 4 legs look dodgy. She gets up from a sleep looking like an old arthritic dog. In particular though, her back legs don't look stable and she seems to be in some degree of discomfort with her front left leg. So not happy. Luckily for Penny she was already booked in to be spayed in a couple of days so can have all 4 legs xrayed then saving her from having 2 anaesthetics. I thought I knew a fair bit about GSDs but it seems I am still naive. I thought that if u went to a good breeder and both parents had been hip and elbow checked u would be ok :(

Boy I have ridden such a rollercoaster already with this dog. Whilst my husband was falling hopelessly in love she was driving me mental. We've had major shark problems and I have seriously wished I could find her a new home about a thousand times. She has stressed me to the max. But to see her walk....the poor thing. Our contract states some stuff about returning the dog for another. Gosh, I just couldn't bear to imagine what a breeder would do with such a dog if anyone did return one. I can't see any dog surviving. So now we wait.....and I go off to do loads of research.

Thanks for listening,

Harry and Lola 02-18-2014 05:23 AM

I'm so sorry to hear about Penny, and being only 5mo, poor girl, I hope she is not in too much pain. Have you just suddenly notice her discomfort or has she been having difficulty for a while? I'm just wondering because if this is a sudden thing, maybe she has a tick?

Good thing you are going to your vet so you can discuss the symptoms and best possible solutions.

I have a 5yo GSD girl that has hip dysplasia, she was breed by a reputable breeder in Sydney that breed surveys their bitches etc, however dysplasia is just so rampart in GSDs that there is bound to be a dog with it in your dogs line. Lola has a score of 38 and is fairly even on both sides. To manage her, I give her human glucosamine & chondroitin and/or green lipped muscle products. She seems to be managing ok, but we will see how she goes as she gets older. Both her parents had excellent hip and elbow scores, however there would a gene in either her dam or sire and it has come through in Lola and one of her litter sisters. Reputable breeders do all they can to ensure they are breeding quality stock, but nothing is guaranteed and with dysplasia you have to look at environmental issues as well such as puppy being too overweight, too much excessive exercise etc as these can help contribute to the development of the dysplasia assuming the dog has the gene.

The puppy stage can be quite difficult, especially if you have a land shark, I use to use Vicks Vapourub on my hands and ankles to stop mine from biting me along with a gentle but firm correction, they hate the smell and it literally stops them in their tracks and then they will eventually grow out of biting, but remember the biting is good as she is learning bit inhibition, so long as you correct her or walk away from her (maybe not good for you though).

If you were to return her, and she does have dysplasia then they can't breed with her and would probably end up euthanising her, sorry to be blunt but I have been told by breeders they do enthanise a bitch if she can't be sold or breed from.

Best of luck and hopefully she will be well:)

NancyJ 02-18-2014 06:29 AM

I am sorry..yes it does happen when parents have hip and elbow clearances but it much much less likely and you pulled the short straw. I did that with one of my dogs. The whole litter had problems but both parents were very good and there was no real indication in the lines to predict the outcome. The inheritance of bad hips (not sure about elbows) is genetically very complex.

Get her x-rayed. Talk to the breeder. See if she will give you a refund instead of a replacement puppy or a half refund or whatever (She is only bound by the contract, though). Most will let you keep the ill puppy and get a new one but a second puppy is the last thing you want when you are dealing with this.

Well I know you are having a tough time with it and hope the veterinary folks come up with good resolution or that it is not as bad as it looks. You will find others here who have been there :(.

qbchottu 02-18-2014 10:29 AM

I am very sorry you suspect a problem with your dog. However, please continue to stay positive as movement and hobbling at this age can largely be due to growing pains and puppy awkwardness. The only thing that for sure diagnoses hip or elbow dysplasia is x-rays of the problem areas themselves.

I have had several pups that have experienced limping due to pano or due to just normal puppy awkwardness. I hope your x-rays turn out fine - good luck to you.

Msmaria 02-18-2014 03:39 PM

Even though my dog with hip dysplasia showed signs when he was young, the vets told me the same thing, They cant tell for sure without xrays as sometimes puppies are just awkward. In regards to driving you mental, read stores here most puppies will drive you to the edge and back especially with land sharking. My puppy was so bad, my hands and arms looked liked they had been attacked by a barbwire fence. he is sooooo gentle now, he was worth the wait.:D

JenniCB 02-19-2014 12:56 AM

Thanks everyone for your kind posts. Penny will be having x rays done on Friday when she also gets spayed so we will know more then. I really would be surprised if everything was fine though. It looks like more than just puppy clumsiness to me. She is definitely worse after a rest until she gets moving.

Hi Harry and Lola's Mum. Great to be able to hear from another Aussie. Do you know if there are any others on here? To answer your post: the discomfort has been coming on over the last week or two and has not improved with anti-inflammatories. Apparently we don't have paralysis ticks here in WA so it's not that. She's not overweight and in fact, has gone off her food a bit. She now only eats around half of her kibble although she still loves her treats and chews. Could she have become bored with her food? What do you feed your dogs in regards to meals and chews? As for the Vicks vapour rub that is currently what we put on the corners of our couch where Penny seems to like to chew :) As for returning her I would never do that as I know exactly what a breeder would do to her! That's what I meant when I said that it doesn't bear thinking about. I would love to hear from you again. Sorry to hear that your beautiful two aren't 100% we'll either.


trcy 02-19-2014 01:06 AM

It could be pano. It's more prevalent in males, but females can get it. Kaleb has pano right now. He limps quite a bit on his front leg. Pano will show in x-rays. I was told it looks fuzzy.

wolfstraum 02-19-2014 09:40 AM

I would agree not to jump the gun and assume dysplasia without x-rays. Panostitis - or Pano is an inflammation of the growth plates and makes pups very very sore and is pretty much a toss up at this age, and pano is very common in young, growing dogs....Diet and exercise control are tools to help with pano, if it proves to be this problem. Do some research and go into the vet ready to have him show you what he sees and what is going on.....

Good luck - hoping it IS pano as that is not as serious long term.


JenniCB 02-21-2014 10:54 PM

Well yesterday turned out to be an interesting day. We saw Penny's X-rays and whilst her back legs are fine (yay!) there are a couple of problems with her front legs. Elbow dysplasia and Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy. The HOD (inflammation in the growth plates in her wrists for those who don't know what it is....I didn't) is in both wrists and also explains why she has been sleeping more and off her food lately. Apparently it should clear on it's own (though could take weeks). We are going to try anti inflammatories to help but only every second day as they upset her tummy.

As for the elbow dysplasia she has the UAP kind (Ununited Anconeal Process....the growth plate that should have fused by now hasn't). This is in the left elbow and may require surgery to pin it back together. For now he wants to see if the HOD clears up and if the lameness then goes away. He wants to re xray in a month. He doesn't seem too fussed about surgery unless Penny actually shows any symptoms that can be associated to the UAP and not the HOD. Not sure what I think about this but I guess we'll be seeing him again in a month and Penny is still young. Does anyone think I should let the breeder know about the elbow dysplasia? Also, since I'm still a newbie on this board could you tell me if I'll have the best shot at getting advice from this post or should I start a new thread say under "Health Issues"?

Also (just because I need to vent) whilst Penny was under anaesthetic at one vets, I was at another vets facing another drama. You see I recently took Amy to this vet to be bathed etc. Whilst there I fell for a beautiful little kitten up for adoption. I was hooked. The next day we paid $173 for what I believed was a vet checked kitten who had been wormed etc and microchipped, as well as that cost covering her next vaccination and sterilization. So even though we had decided we weren't as keen on this vets anymore and had moved Penny to another, I need to stay with them for Amy (the kitten) till the vacc and sterilization have been done since they are already paid for. So I take her in for the vacc but first the vet listens to her heart, and listens and listens, then scoops her up looking guilty and rushes off to see her boss. It seems Amy has a heart murmur! The vet wants her boss to come see me but it seems she is "too busy" but she sends the message back that it wasn't there when she first checked Amy therefore they aren't financially liable. Like she can remember back that far!! The vet looked very apologetic and guilty. Amy is supposed to be sterilized soon but that may need to be delayed if she has a heart problem. So the boss was meant to ring me back yesterday with a plan (ie when do we re check tho she is 5 months old now so it's unlikely to go away, do we ultrasound and do we delay the spaying). I have heard nothing! So not happy.

So as a first time pet owner we have had rotten luck with both our pets. Apparently ED is more common in males and Penny is female and heart murmurs aren't common and less so in cats than dogs. Needless to say these may be our first and last pets.

Thanks for listening,


trcy 02-24-2014 12:04 AM


Originally Posted by JenniCB (Post 5064698)

So as a first time pet owner we have had rotten luck with both our pets. Apparently ED is more common in males and Penny is female and heart murmurs aren't common and less so in cats than dogs. Needless to say these may be our first and last pets.

Thanks for listening,


I always say if there is an animal in need it will find us. We had cats first. One is almost 20 now, but she had been abused before we got her and took years to calm down. Her nickname was Ms claws. Our male cat was diabetic. We had to give him shots twice a day and monitor his blood sugar until he passed. It was very costly.

We got dogs next. Our female dog has a bad back. It tends to go out once a year and she can barely walk. We have to roll her around in a wagon to potty. When it first happened we were concerned we would need to put her to sleep, but she gets better with crate rest. Our oldest male dog blew his right ACL (we got it fixed) and has a partially torn left ACL. We are waiting to fix that one, because he got very depressed on his crate rest when he was healing from the first one. It took a long time for him to be his normal self again. Riley was most likely sick from day one. There is a thread here somewhere about his last days. I'm still not over losing him. I may not ever be. We did everything we could to save him except make him suffer needlessly. So far everything is good with Kaleb. He does have one retained testicle and pano, but I knew about the testicle when we got him and pano is pretty common in male large breed dogs.

So, it's not just you. I'm just glad I can help animals that other may give up on.

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