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Discussion Starter #1
Mattie is 3 1/2 years old, big but very trim. About 2-3 months ago she started having diarrhea, lost appetite and less energy. I took her to the vet, and they gave her antibiotics, and suggested stopping feeding her the Chicken Jerky treats I was giving her. I did and the diarrhea has cleared up, and she's got her appetite back mostly.

However, the last few weeks, I noticed that she seemed to tire on our walks (approx 2 miles), she'd just abruptly lay down to rest. I thought at first it was because of the warmer weather, but she'd do it on 60 degree days. I thought maybe there was still some lingering affect of whatever was causing the diarrhea, so I decided to take her to the vet.

I have seen this vet for years and trust him, but I don't want to believe what his thoughts are on this problem.

He didn't think it had anything to do with her problem before, he thought this might be signs of mild HD. He took an x-ray, she was not sedated, but he said it was good enough for diagnostics. He was unable to supply me with a digital copy or I would post it here. He said it looks like her left hip may be in the fair-mildly displastic range. When she was spayed at about 6 months she was x-rayed and he said her left hip looked fair.

So, He thinks that pain is causing her to stop and rest on our walks. He suggested giving her asprin for a week to see if that alleveated the symptoms, and we'd go from there, probably just giving her glucosamine supplements. He said his dog had almost the identical hip x-ray and would do the same thing when he would take his dog out running/walking, just stop periodically and rest, but never showed any further signs till it died at 9 of cancer.

Does this sound feasable, or does it sound like it could be something else? Is there any other way to diagnose HD other than pain/and x-rays. For others with HD, what were the first signs of it in your dog? He said not to worry, that it isn't that bad and she may never have any worse signs, that I could continue to take her for walks, but I am worried.

What might I expect if she does have HD? Does it always get worse? Does the hip joint deteriorate further from HD, or from arthritis? Should I get a better x-ray where she is sedated?

If I was to give her joint supplements, what are some recommendations as far as content and dosage?

Currently I take her for about 1.25 mile walk in the morning and approximately 2 miles after work. And we play in the yard by my kicking a basketball for her to chase, and just generally running around the yard. Is this to much/to little exercise? We don't really do anything strenuous other than fast starts and stops when she chases the ball.

So, any reassuring thoughts or ideas from anyone?
 

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Did he do bloodwork? A fecal? Last HW test?

How much does your dog weigh-could it be weight related at all?

I have a dog (not a GSD-about 45#) who has mild HD and you wouldn't know it really.

You have really good questions! Though I am wondering if it's not something else but we all tend to think HD with GSDs and don't look at other stuff. Of course, I am not sure what that other stuff could be...sorry.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
She had her heartworm test back in March of this year, all clear. She had a fecal in March and again when she was having diarrhea, both times clear. She has not had a complete blood work done recently. I wanted one, but the vet thought it was the HD issue.

I was afraid of some problem with the food related to the food scares we have had recently. It seems that stopping the chicken jerky (from china) stopped the diarrhea, I thought maybe I "damaged" her by feeding her those.

She is about 26-27 inches at the shoulder, very long, and weighs 72 lbs. So she is by no means overweight, most people think she's to skinny.

Maybe I should insist on bloodwork, just for peace of mind.
 

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I was told if the dog is not sedated then a good x-ray cannot be taken to diagnose HD. A dog that is not properly postioned can have an x-ray that shows that the hips are bad when the hips are fine. The PennHip x-ray is a method that is very accurate but you have to find a vet that is certified to do PennHip. I just talked to one today regarding my pup but the cost on the low end is $450.

Dawn
 

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Originally Posted By: dogless...
So, He thinks that pain is causing her to stop and rest on our walks. He suggested giving her asprin for a week to see if that alleveated the symptoms, and we'd go from there, probably just giving her glucosamine supplements. He said his dog had almost the identical hip x-ray and would do the same thing when he would take his dog out running/walking, just stop periodically and rest, but never showed any further signs till it died at 9 of cancer.

Does this sound feasable, or does it sound like it could be something else? Is there any other way to diagnose HD other than pain/and x-rays. For others with HD, what were the first signs of it in your dog? He said not to worry, that it isn't that bad and she may never have any worse signs, that I could continue to take her for walks, but I am worried.
...
If I was to give her joint supplements, what are some recommendations as far as content and dosage?
...
Well sure, it could be something else, but if she were my dog I'd try what the vet suggested by giving her the buffered or coated aspirin for a week. I'd also start her on a joint supplement since the x-rays indicate there is a slight problem. Then I'd reevaluate the situation to see if she seems to be doing better. And if she was still having problems, I'd take her back for further testing.

There are a lot of joint supplements on the market. I give the Hooligans Dasuquin.

As far as I know HD is diagnosed by either x-ray or Penn Hip. I don't know if there are other diagnostic tools out there or not.

Over the years, some of the Hooligans have had various degrees of HD. My OES had problems all her life (this was before the advent of joint supplements, hip replacement surgery, etc) from 8 weeks of age until she went to the Bridge. Every step she took you could hear her hip joints popping in and out of joint. Tasha had one episode when she was fairly young when her hips bothered her and never had further problems until she died (this was also before supplements). Yukon had mild HD and never had a problem (I had him x-rayed before I adopted him). Niki had one episode with his hips and no more problems until he had his front leg amputated and the constant pounding his rear took every time he took a step aggrivated his hips (joint supplements and pain meds kept him comfortable). Kelly has a bad hip and has never had a problem with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I am (was) planning on following his suggestion, I am just looking for future thoughts on if this is HD what I might do to help her, and ideas if anyone thinks it could be something else.

Unfortunately after only one day on asprin, Matte has puked up her dinner from last night and breakfast from today. I have a call into the vet to see what he suggests now. He'll call me back tomorrow since it is after hours now.
 

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Have you considered Lyme's Disease. The sickness and diahrea, then soreness in the joints could be Lyme's disease possibly. I haven't dealt with it though so I do not know a lot about it.

Often, even dogs with hip dysplasia show no signs of it and no discomfort. She is quite young for mild dysplasia to be noticeably causing her problems, but that is dependent on how much you do. My walks and your walks could be very different.

I do not know if I would want to go with an aspirin as a first choice, especially with a young bitch. For one thing, will that have an effect on her long-term health? Chances are she will be having aspirin for the rest of her life, if it is pain from a joint problem. I mean, you will start giving her aspirin and continue indefinitely if it works. Will aspirin cause her other problems down the road? I would rather rule out other possible causes, and have the hips done properly and send them to the OFA. If they are dysplastic you will know and they will be graded. If they are not, if they are fair, they are not dysplastic.

Dysplasia or not, if the bitch is overweight, put her on a diet. What you do with your body is your business. Allowing your dog to be overweight, even by five pounds is not good. It effects their health. Killing your dog with kindness isn't good. If your dog has pano, or lymes disease, or hip dysplasia, a heart condition, or any number of other things, being overweight will only make it worse a whole lot faster.

Good luck with your pup. There are things you can do for dysplasia now. It really isn't the end of the world for you or your dog. If it turns out to be dysplasia, find a vet that is specifically recommended for joint/orthopaedic issues. Discuss symptoms and work together to figure out a treatment plan. It may include surgery down the line, or sooner. Maybe a replacement, maybe cutting the muscles. There are a lot of different possiblities. I would want to be in the hands of someone who has seen plenty of cases though, and who can provide answers to all of your questions.
 

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Originally Posted By: selzerHave you considered Lyme's Disease. The sickness and diahrea, then soreness in the joints could be Lyme's disease possibly. I haven't dealt with it though so I do not know a lot about it.
I was also thinking this could be a possibility. Some of the symptoms of Lyme Disease are so slight that many owners don't even notice it.

Quote: I do not know if I would want to go with an aspirin as a first choice, especially with a young bitch. For one thing, will that have an effect on her long-term health?
Aspirin is fine for a short period of time, but if it is HD, you should talk to your vet about other, safer long term non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like Previcox or Deramaxx.

As said earlier, if the hips are crooked in the film, unless they are horribly dysplastic (which doesn't sound like the case) it is hard ot get an accurate "reading." To be completely sure I would have my dog redone under sedation. I think it would be better to know for sure.
 

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I would do bloodwork just to be safe and the lyme disease tests (they do those with the heartworm test around here). Joint supplements can't hurt your dog but you do want to be sure you're really dealing with a joint issue and not something else.

My young dog has HD. I give him Springtime Inc's Longevity and it has been a HUGE help for him. I have put fosters and other personal dogs on the Springtime Inc. products and seen great results every time. I have used the Joint Health for some of my dogs. http://www.springtimeinc.com/

We walk about 5 miles a day and he keeps a very good pace. We also do some short play sessions in the yard. I try to limit the running and jumping but he still does do some. I also give him Ester C.

I would not give the aspirin. If you start the Longevity you will see results in anywhere from a week to 3 weeks with full results in about 6 weeks.
 

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other "typical" signs of HD are bunny hopping when running and climbing stairs, shuffling while walking (not picking feet up all the way), and an "odd" gait.

personally, i would give previcox or some similar pain meds and see if that makes a difference.

sounds suspiciously like something other than HD to me. lyme disease seems viable. i think that sometimes vets take the easy way out and blame HD alot because it is easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I was unable to give her asprin, it made her throw up two days in a row. The vet suggested a different pain reliever (prescription) but he didn't mention the name, so I don't know what it was.

We opted not to use the meds for this past weekend and observe her instead. We went to our cottage and let her run around in the yard as much as she wanted. I did not notice ANY signs of pain at all. Unfortunately I did not take her for any long walks, which is when the laying down seemed to occur.

Unless I am totally blind, I haven't noticed any obvious signs of pain at all, the ONLY symptom is her laying down on walks that exceed a mile and a half or so.

Even if it was lyme disease, or mild HD, does anyone see any harm in just observing for a few weeks, intead of muddling up any possible symptoms by giving pain relievers? I would rather observe and take notes on exactly when this seems to be happening before trying to cover up the symptoms with meds. Would waiting cause any harm if it is either of those problems?
 

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Originally Posted By: LandosMomother "typical" signs of HD are bunny hopping when running and climbing stairs, shuffling while walking (not picking feet up all the way), and an "odd" gait.
OMG - Lady Jane is 12 and we've had her for 2 years. I thought that all GSDs shuffled their feet! I'll have to talk to her vet.
 

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Originally Posted By: doglessEven if it was lyme disease, or mild HD, does anyone see any harm in just observing for a few weeks, intead of muddling up any possible symptoms by giving pain relievers? I would rather observe and take notes on exactly when this seems to be happening before trying to cover up the symptoms with meds. Would waiting cause any harm if it is either of those problems?
It's so easy to get a Lyme test, I wouldn't wait. I believe the outcome is better if treatment is started early.
 

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I don't think the laying down is normal. I would have your vet run tests and if he refuses then go to another vet. It could be a lot of things, some of them having nothing to do with her joints! As LJsMom said, the Lyme test is cheap and easy so that's something to rule out immediately.
 

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Originally Posted By: LJsMom
Originally Posted By: doglessEven if it was lyme disease, or mild HD, does anyone see any harm in just observing for a few weeks, intead of muddling up any possible symptoms by giving pain relievers? I would rather observe and take notes on exactly when this seems to be happening before trying to cover up the symptoms with meds. Would waiting cause any harm if it is either of those problems?
It's so easy to get a Lyme test, I wouldn't wait. I believe the outcome is better if treatment is started early.
The blood test for Lyme's will not be skewed by asprin, etc. The sooner that you can rule out that disease the better though. As it continues to progress it can really damage internal organs such as the liver and kidneys.
 

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I previously had a gsd with severe HD and elbows also. less than a year of age, she had to have both hips surgically fixed. Her elbows could not be fixed and had limited mobility most of her life. (she made it to 9 years of age) Anyway, I now have my new rescue gsd 8month old, and I am always watching her, paranoid about her hips being ok since what all I went through with the other one. I was looking online yesterday for sites and found one that give a few things you can try at home to test for HD, go here

http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx?P=A&A=1916

scroll down part way and it has a few tests you can try. I tried them last night and I feel a little better now since she "passed" the tests.

hope this helps!
 
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