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Old 01-10-2012, 09:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Elbow dysplasia and neutering

Hi, I have a 2 year male GSD that was diagnosed with FCP in both elbows along with arthritis in both elbows. His right elbow didn't grow correctly and he had surgery to remove the fcp and they cut his ulna bone. He is on his 5th of 6 weeks of no activity and seems to be doing very well. My vet convinced me that getting him neutered early was best for him since I wasn't going to breed him. I asked her many questions and she was definately all for neutering early. I ended up getting him neutered at 7 months. After he got neutered he sprouted like a weed. He was very small up until then. He started having these popping noises in his elbows so I took him to the vet and she said it was growing pains and not to worry and said that her joints popped too. I've been reading and now I believe it was the early neutering that caused all of this. I have been beating myself up for listening to my vet and not doing more research on this. I hope the surgery fixes him enough so that he can do what he loves to do, which is agility and I hope to get him into herding also. He is definately a working dog and not a couch potato. He is totally ball crazy. I plan on doing everything I can to help him with his rehab. I'm wondering if anyone else has gone through something like this and has had any success with rehab and if so, what exatly did you do. Thanks for any advice. Belinda and Jerry Lee.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Although you did neuter him too early, neutering has nothing to do with elbows and/or hip issues.
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Old 01-10-2012, 09:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I am fine with the age that you neutered him and will tell you that when I had my male pup neutered I had his hips x-rayed (only hips because the vet said elbow xrays at his age not accurate) and he had mild HD.
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Regardless of whether or not the early neutering contributed to the problem, please stop beating yourself up over it. You did what you thought was best for your dog, at your vet's recommendation. Nothing wrong with that!

I believe early altering has more dire consequences when it's a "pediatric" spay/neuter or done before a year in GIANT breeds. My Luna tore her ACL and I firmly believe the pediatric spay was a big contributing factor. My Rottweiler was neutered at a year and has elbow dysplasia: and I honestly believe that was just genetics.

If you haven't started your dog on supplements, it's definitely time to start. Choose a supplement (or combination of supplements) with MSM, chondroitin, glucosamine, and fish oil. I use Longevity by Springtime, Inc. with Apollo and I swear it works miracles. I also had agility in mind for him and thought that dream was over because of the ED, but now he runs and plays like a puppy. It took about a month of Longevity use to see significant results. (Agility is still out for him because he's afraid of heights, so we're going to take up carting instead, LOL).

Alternatively, Springtime, Inc. makes a joint supplement that is a bit more affordable and doesn't contain the "extras" in Longevity (I like the extras because they're great for Apollo's wonky digestive system).

Good luck!
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:41 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Abbie has ED... FCP in both Elbows. We did the surgery at 7 months and she was doing fine. She is a year old, and is still intact. I plan to fix her after her first season, which has not happened yet. I am also trying to find a vet that does partial spays.

I am not sure I would recommend doing Agility however. I do train her with a local SchH club, but really with her we just do the Ob and tracking, since I would never allow her to do the jumps and the wall.

She was doing great for months after the surgery, but just last week she took a hard fall playing in the yard, and now she seems to be favoring her leg. We have her on crate rest until she is better.

Your pup would probably seem to be able to do Agility just fine... One day it would land wrong or slip while turning a corner though...
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:44 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Our puppy is about 8mos. and having elbow problems and he's still intact (not neutered).
The greatest myth out there seems to be that early neutering causes issues. I'm here to tell you, that if there's going to be issues, they would most likely be there, neutering or not.
*7mos. is not 'too early' to neuter.
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:46 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I have put both of my GSD's on Grizzly Salmon Oil and Dasuquin with MSM. I will check into the Springtime Longevity. I'm also learning about raw diet and will try them on that also.

I should also mention that the Sire and Dame were both OFA "normal" on the elbows. You are right, nothing I can do about it now except try to make the best of it and learn from it. I know swimming is good therapy and will look into getting a pool so they can swim in it.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:02 AM   #8 (permalink)
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That still does not mean neutering caused the problem. Your puppy could have injured his elbow during rough play or it could just be how things were going to be, neuter or not.
And, at 7mos., they are going through many growth changes, so it's not necessarily that the neuter 'caused the' growth. Puppies grow - again, neuter or not.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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True, but it doesn't mean that neutering wasn't the cause or a contributing factor either. I don't see how an injury during rough play could make his bone grow longer than it was suppose to be and he was never injured as a puppy. I've read many articles lately that have stated that early neutering in males (especially large breeds) can cause the bones to grow incorrectly.

Now back to my original question which was about getting my dog back into the best shape he can be in. Any suggestions on rehab? I've read about cavaletti poles and weave poles. We go back to the surgeon on Friday for x-rays and I will get his advise on rehab but I was looking for anyone else who has gone through anything like this and what they did and if it was successful.

Thanks for all the input.

Belinda and Jerry Lee
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Originally Posted by msvette2u View Post
That still does not mean neutering caused the problem. Your puppy could have injured his elbow during rough play or it could just be how things were going to be, neuter or not.
And, at 7mos., they are going through many growth changes, so it's not necessarily that the neuter 'caused the' growth. Puppies grow - again, neuter or not.
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Source those articles well. A lot are places that post these articles are supported by advocacy groups. The anti-spay and neuter bandwagon started when animal rapists realized that shelters speutering early meant they wouldn't be able to get suitable victims. So they started to advocate for leaving animals intact or only doing vasectomies or partial hysterectomies. Then groups that advocate for the pet industry picked up the flag and have been carrying it. So there is often an agenda behind it. As always!

For the pro speuter group the agenda is less animals in shelters, which is research based - success for this group is less animals dying in shelters and not necessarily individual animal health. However, most people in this group do not feel that this is mutually exclusive.

Just some background on why it's important to read the source of those articles - are they peer reviewed, when they have a footnote have you followed it to the source, etc.

Your best bet is to contact a veterinary rehab place. http://rehabvets.org/Referrals.lasso

It's like with people, surgeons do the cutting and PTs do the follow up.

The American Association of Canine Sports Medicine The ACSMA is an association of veterinarians, physical therapists, trainers, and other professionals devoted to addressing the medical and surgical problems encountered in the canine athlete and the working breeds.

Canine Rehab Institute The Canine Rehabilitation Institute offers Certification Programs in Canine Physical Rehabilitation to licensed veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and physical therapists.
David Levine, PhD, PT, University of Tennessee, Chatanooga Useful links to various other rehabilitation sites

Good luck!
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