Hip dysplasia suddenly worse - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Hip dysplasia suddenly worse

Hey guys. We have a retired TSA bomb dog, Krok, who is almost 11 years old. He has been with us for over a year......when we got him, he did have a slight issue with his back legs, but it didn't slow him down at all. He could still run, jump, etc. just great for his age. We figured it was probably early hip dysplasia, but it didn't affect him at all. We figured we had a good long while with him.

The last few months, he has really taken a turn for the worse. He now cannot jump up on the kids' low beds. We have to help him down and especially up, the 2 stairs to the back yard. He has trouble getting up from a laying or sitting position. He walks with a stumbling gait, often crossing the back two legs. Sometimes he will just fall over when walking. He doesn't seem to be in pain, though. He still wants us to help him up on the bed so the kids can cuddle with him. He still loves his kong. He hasn't had any accidents in the house. He still "looks" happy most of the time. You can tell it bums him out not being able to get to where he wants, though. We help him when we see this and he seems grateful. It's tough to watch him go downhill......

I don't know if this is still hip dysplasia or something more like DM. The rapid progression over the last few months worries me. Can hip dysplasia suddenly get worse like this or does is suggest something worse like DM?

I had so hoped we'd have more time with him. Don't get me wrong, we are no where ready to put him down......but if the rate of decline he has experienced lately continues.....it won't be good soon.

I know there is probably no answer to this.....but what has been others' experiences in a case like this.....suddenly going downhill? Are we looking at not very much time left with him? I know it's a quality of life thing......so far, he still belongs here with us. I just worry.....

I have a call in to the vet to see if there is anything that might help him. He is on a food with glucosamine, but that's it right now.

Thanks for your insight. I am so sad to see him taking this turn.

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post #2 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 10:19 AM
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It could be DM and it could be a back injury or a stroke in the spinal area (google FCE).

A sudden onset seems to be more like an injury.
But since he had something slight before hand maybe it was the onset of DM.

It is hard to think he would have had a working career if he had hip dysplasia....I am pretty sure departments normally x-ray dogs before starting their training.


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post #3 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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Oh, you know that is a good point about his working dog records. We have all of that--I will look through it and see what I can find. So hip dysplasia is something they are born with? Or can a dog be healthy most of their life and just have issues with it in their senior years?

I don't think it's an injury......I should be more clear. While the symptoms have greatly increased over the last few months, he did have symptoms before, even when we first got him. I would say that he VERY gradually got worse over the last year we have had him, sometimes maintaining for long periods of time. Some days worse than others, and really not so bad overall. But we knew there was an issue.

So the issue was there a year ago for sure......but getting way worse over the last few months.

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post #4 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 11:06 AM
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I'd go get it confirmed at the vet. At that age...its probably arthritis.

Dogs are born with HD. Depending on the severity, its something that might not even be seen by the handler, or the dog just gets used to it and lives with it. Later in life, due to loss of muscle mass and other issues, the HD might crop up and the dog will show signs of having it.
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post #5 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 11:45 AM Thread Starter
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I looked over his records. As far back as 2007, there is mention of a slight limp. They did x-rays, which were deemed "acceptable." The nurse told me this does NOT mean normal, it simply means he is still ok to work. They wrote "possible hip and/or ankle dysplasia" in his records. The nurse said it takes a lot to get a medical discharge. When we got him last year, he had only retired b/c his handler died (that's how we ended up with him). He was still a working dog and doing fine, even with his issue.

I asked the nurse if hip dys. can go downhill so fast and she said yes, b/c of the arthritis. So I really think that's what we are looking at.

Last night (in the middle of the night) he was bad. Stumbling around the house.....we finally had to half carry him to his crate so he would be confined to one area. He was trying to get up on my daughter's bed and falling.....stumbling around....we were afraid he was going to hurt himself.

Now this morning, he was better. Excited to eat, and almost running for the door to get out (admittedly it was a pretty embarrassing looking run). He paced the fence, barking at the chickens like he loves. His pacing looks pretty funny, but he doesn't seem in pain. I did have to push him from behind to get up the stairs, but he's better than last night.

I just wonder how long he can go on like this, with the recent decline.

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post #6 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 11:47 AM
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Look into arthritis meds for dogs...for the time being maybe try giving him buffered aspirin, it can relieve the pain.
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post #7 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 11:54 AM
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I would confirm with your vet as well,, when there, ask him about putting him on meloxicam , it is the human form of metacam (which is really pricey)..I get 90 tabs 7.5 mgs via walmart for 11.00...

For my aussie who weighs in around 42# she gets 1/2 per day..She is 14 years old, and has significant arthritis, it REALLY helps her..

You can also ask about tramadol for pain.

The meloxicam worked for a couple of my senior dogs, but then again it didn't seem to do anything for one of my others..Depends on what's going on I suppose.

Hope you can a more definitive diagnosis..

Adding** Harness can help ALOT with helping them up and getting down stairs..

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post #8 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 12:35 PM
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post #9 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 12:41 PM
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I would also suggest getting xrays at your vet to see what the situation is. If the hips are good then you can talk about DM.
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post #10 of 39 (permalink) Old 04-10-2014, 12:48 PM
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Here's what jumped out at me when reading your email "...He walks with a stumbling gait, often crossing the back two legs. Sometimes he will just fall over when walking. He doesn't seem to be in pain ...". I believe these are symptoms of DM. Could be something else, but the crossing of the back two legs worries me. I too, adopted a senior GSD, hoping to have a few years with her. After a few months, she exhibited the same symptoms you describe above. I too, thought it was hip dysplasia. I was shocked to find out that it was in fact DM. Her decline appeared rapid to us, from the time she exhibited the symptoms as you describe above to the time she was totally paralyzed was a mere two months. We were in shock. In hindsight, however, I realize that she was showing symptoms before, we just didn't recognize them, thought it was mild hip dysplasia and/or arthritis slowing her down, given her age. The bad news is we only had her for 4 months before we had to put her down, the good news ... and I have to try real hard to find good news ... is that she was not in pain. I don't share this to alarm you to or to say that your dog has DM, but I urge you to schedule an appointment with your vet and share all the info you have on her symptoms. I hope it is not DM, for both your sake and your GSD. Good luck!
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