Hips & Elbows - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Hips & Elbows

I am considering being GSD owner and I have many questions, one Q is: Are purebreds more susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia then non-purebred GSD? And if yes then what are the ratings telling me? If a dog is rated "a" does that mean my dog won't get dysplasia? And what does a GSD owner do if a dog becomes ill with this, do they euthanize the dog?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 02:28 PM
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ANY dog, pure or not, can get hip and elbow dysplasia.

In order to minimize the risk of producing hip and elbow problems breeders should be using stock that have been cleared of these problems. The rating systems tell you how good (or bad) the dogs hips and elbows are.

For example - OFA Excellent means the dogs hips show absolutely NO sign of problems. OFA Good means the hips are ok but not perfect. OFA Fair means the hips are still ok but not as good as Good.

I've had a dog with hip dysplasia. She had surgery at 9 years of age and lived to 14.

Some dogs are not so lucky. If the disease is bad enough that even surgery cannot help then yes, the most compassionate thing to do would be to euthanize the dog.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 02:29 PM
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It's no secret that GSD's are prone to ED and HD. It's genetic and can and will be passed down from generation to generation.

When deciding on a puppy... go with a breeder that breeds dogs with pedigrees full of OFA graded or a stamp dogs. Not just the dogs being bred, but generations and generations back in both dogs pedigrees. You want to see a stamps and/or ofa grades at least 5 generations back.

And even then... nothing guarantees anything. It's still possible your puppy may have health issues down the road when it comes to hips or elbows, but also greatly reduces it as well. Nothing is guaranteed when it comes to genetics.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 02:33 PM
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If you purchase from a reputable breeder then usually both parents will have an "OFA" rating on their hips and elbows. While this will ensure that genetically the chances of your pup to be HD free is good, there are many other factors that also play into it as well. When you purchase from a good breeder they will give you a health gurantee on the hips/elbows up to a certain time. If your pup develops HD then per your contract you can return your pup for a replacement? Contracts vary, you would need to talk to your breeder about it.

My last GSD had a mild form of HD and she lived a good life, I gave her supplements and limited her activity on what she could do with bad hips. Other people have the option of hip replacement surgery and the dog can live a very good life after that as well. Just because a dog has HD does not mean they have to be euthanized.

Bear GSD 10/16/11
Elsa GSD 12/23/03 - 11/10/11
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 03:38 PM
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all breeds can get hip/elbow problems, one of the most affected are pugs, Maine Coon cats are also very prone, also all mutts can have it, same as people needing knee/hip replacements..Buy from only certified clear parents, keep the puppy lean, not too much strenuous exercise but not lying around either. Try preventing jumping off things when very young. Feed good quality food and you will stand a better likelihood of good hips, feel confident if your breeder checks every dog, and is very picky on certifying not just prelims or their vet saying good/bad, OFA can be checked for proof dogs are done
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
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very helpful thank you

You mention reputable breeder, and I have read the how to choose a breeder section, however can you share one characteristic essential to you on how you chose your breeder/puppy. I've visited with one Co. breeder, next on my list is Adel Haus, and I'm considering a pup from either litter Z or A any thoughts?
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 06:25 PM
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My dogs are first and foremost my pets. Any type of sports - working, showing, etc. - are icing on the cake. So, when I look for a puppy the first thing I look at is the temperament of the dogs they are producing and using for breeding.

I can live with a dog that has little or no drive. I can live with a dog that is not the smartest dog in the world. I can live with a dog with health problems.

But I can't live with a dog that is unstable, fearful or aggressive. It's just wouldn't work with my lifestyle.

Next I look at health. I would like for my dog to be happy AND healthy and live a long time. So I look to see if the breeder checks at LEAST the hips and elbows for GSDs. With my Cresteds we look for eyes and knees.

Now that I have those 2 prerequisites down I WOULD like a dog that is smart and has drive (makes it much easier to train). So I look for those things next.

You have to decide what traits you will NOT compromise on. Working ability, temperament, health, color, size - whatever. Rank them from most important to least. Then start looking for a breeder that currently has dogs that would fit what you want.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 12:32 PM
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The rating and there are two different systems just tell you the dogs condition in terms of a grade. Why is this meaningful? Because it is one factor of many that may be linked to hip and elbo issues. If it were the only issue the problem would have been greatly reduced through breeding. There is now a thought that weight, expose to jumping early on, and Neutering before the dog matures all play a part. So, look for good hips for at least a few generations. Warrenties may make you feel better but think about the warrenty. Unless the wording states you keep the dog and get a refund or something along those lines, you still going to have to make some tough choices. Get good rated hips, keep the dog lean, and don't nueter too early. You vet should be able to find literature on what is now the thought around too early for large breeds. If he can't find a new vet. Keep in mind these dogs are work. I have had dogs my whole life and grew up around dogs. A working Shepherd is designed to want to work and if not exercised they will act up. I have had mine 2 months and he has put some miles on me for walks. You can't run them much until the bone plates are done growing so toys, tug, walks long walks are the key. I don't regret getting mine, but the whole Schutzhund thing has turned out to be more of a good sounding idea than reality. You can find multiple threads on here about difficutly find a group you get along with and that knows what hey are doing. I have done a lot with mine in two months using my knowledge from traingin the last two non GSD's upsdie is the GSD learns in nothing flat, down side is there are some behaviors like dealing and using food and prey drives. You can use drives to train but sometimes the drive goes the wrong way and they start looking at bikes, cars, running kids. So now you trying to train appropriate times to engage in prey etc.. I know your pain. Hope this helps.

Joe Simpson
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