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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone, its been years since I posted.
I might be adopting a 10 month old GSD who has been living in a crate most of his life, he never even got a name....

He's limping in the rear so I took him to the vet for an evaluation.
I know it's hard to make a determination about dysplasia, but the two vets who reviewed the xray agreed...
I just want another opinion, please.
 

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I don't have any confidence in my ability to evaluate Xrays but these do look SUPER crooked. I've had 3 dogs Xrayed for OFA's and the shots were very straight and symmetrical. Unlike these Xrays. I'd get better Xrays done and consider having them evaluated by an orthopedic vet.

I've had 3 different vets do OFA rads and all 3 correctly predicted what the dog would be rated (2 goods and an excellent).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your replay.
 

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These were done at a local clinic and the dog was not sedated, but I was hoping that I could get some advice on how bad the left hip is.
I was to do hiking and agility and all kinds of outdoor activities, but I'm concerned that he won't be able to do it.
 

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Can you download the photo from the computer and post it directly here? I can tell very little from those photos. a photo of a photo just doesn't show enough detail.

Post the photo to show the WHOLE x-ray, including knees. See my previous post here of my dog's x-ray:

https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/basic-care/756163-where-go-here-2.html

And yeah, the positioning sucks. In the second photo, the left hip looks to be almost out of the socket. In the first photo, it looks okay...so I don't know what to think!
 

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What Thecowboy’sgirl said. The second pic doesn’t even resemble the first. I would get another set of X-rays under sedation (unless there is medical reasons not to) from an Ortho specialist or a vet who is well versed in positioning. Was it his left hind leg that he was limping on?

They may have been having a hard time keeping your pup perfectly still while trying to adjust for correct position.

Edit to add I’m just another member not in the field.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for your replies.
Part of the issue is that I don't own this dog, yet. He's kind of a rescue from a not so good situation.
I'm not financially able to spend
$$$ on getting xray done by a specialist....
That's why I'm reaching out to you....



I don't have any confidence in my ability to evaluate Xrays but these do look SUPER crooked. I've had 3 dogs Xrayed for OFA's and the shots were very straight and symmetrical. Unlike these Xrays. I'd get better Xrays done and consider having them evaluated by an orthopedic vet.

I've had 3 different vets do OFA rads and all 3 correctly predicted what the dog would be rated (2 goods and an excellent).
These were done at a local clinic and the dog was not sedated, but I was hoping that I could get some advice on how bad the left hip is.
I was to do hiking and agility and all kinds of outdoor activities, but I'm concerned that he won't be able to do it.
 

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IMO the left hip is dysplastic. Even with terrible positioning a good hip should not be able to be pulled out of the socket that way.
 

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Just my opinion -

The hips don't look great. Especially the left one. This is not a dog I would get with hiking and agility in mind. In addition, if you can't afford the $500 for xrays then you can't afford a dog that has dysplastic issues. You should probably pass on him. ;(
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks. I'm thinking that also, but we've already bonded.... this is not an easy decision....


QUOTE=Jax08;9173839]Just my opinion -

The hips don't look great. Especially the left one. This is not a dog I would get with hiking and agility in mind. In addition, if you can't afford the $500 for xrays then you can't afford a dog that has dysplastic issues. You should probably pass on him. ;([/QUOTE]
 

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That's hard. So maybe if you want him then you need to come up with a budget for future hip surgery and change your expectations of what you want to do with him.
 

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Years ago I made a deal to pull 13 dogs from a puppy mill/farm. One of the females that was there absolutely stole my heart. She made it very clear that she wished to be my dog. She also had some pretty serious medical and behavioral issues that probably would have made her unadoptable and was 7 years old.
I left her there. Broke my heart, but I did it. I already had 3 dogs and 5 fosters put me about at capacity. I couldn't fit her with my pack, didn't have money to deal with her issues and long term fosters take up space and resources that could help other dogs. Sometimes life just really sucks.
HD isn't the end of the world, and he may be fine with proper care and exercise. Or not. I am inclined to agree, if x rays are an issue then this is not the dog you need.
 

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My thoughts are going to sound harsh but is said with compassion. Right now I’m assuming (hopefully correctly) that the bond is newly formed. Maybe more of being captivated by the adorable look the puppy is giving you and the face licks, maybe an acquaintance owner and you visit time to time. This is just barely a glimmer of what comes when a GSD bonds to a person. Think clearly with your brain and not your heart because right now, since it is on file, pet health insurance will not cover this. So if you are strapped for funds to cover X-rays now think of 2, 5 or 8 yrs down the road when the power of the full force of the bond between you and a GSD has solidified. Not being in a position to help him/her will tear you apart.

You have a dream and a goal, you have some financial limits (we all do). Set yourself up for success. Look for a pup that has a clear bill of health, get the pup insured (good info about that on this forum) so your plans to do fun things can be achieved and if your pup ever needs expensive medical attention, you will be able to do that for him/her.

Maybe my thoughts advice is wrong, maybe this pup’s hips will hold up for life but better to go in this with wide open eyes and know how painful and expensive it can be when hip dysplasia becomes painful for the dog.

Edit: My apologies, I did not realize that you are well aware of the bond spoken of. The way I replied was for a novice new owner who would be unaware of just how powerful the bond grows with time.
 

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I devote a lot of my time to breed rescue in a poor region of the U.S. where many people who want to adopt have little money. I know many solo-rescuers who take on dogs they can't afford because if they don't, the dogs will die...so they do the best they can, knowing it's more than anybody else is doing for the poor dog. I'm not going to judge them for taking on dogs they can't fully vet if the choice for the dog is their help or no help. I'm also not going to judge people who walk away from helping because they don't want to go into deep debt for a dog.

Our world is full of suboptimal choices. Here's the dilemma -- and it really is one -- for a dog in a bad situation:

Get adopted by someone who will love the dog and give it daily care to the best of their ability...and just hope for the best, even though the person can't really afford major vet care. For a dog living on a chain or in an abusive or neglectful environment, this is a massive improvement in life--it means being loved, and for a dog that otherwise isn't, that's a big deal.

Or hold out for a better home, because each of them deserves to get excellent vet care, with a long healthy life. For rescuers, that means saving fewer dogs overall and accepting that there will be deserving dogs who don't get homes at all. And for the dog on the chain or in an abusive or neglectful environment, it means being left in place because that perfect home isn't available right now. Making peace with that is hard, but it's sometimes necessary.

OP, you're only thinking about one dog, but it's the same sort of dilemma every rescuer wrestles with in high-kill regions of the country where there are more great dogs than great homes. There isn't a right answer to it -- rescuers argue about it, cry about it, and rescues literally blow up over it. I can think of one city with multiple GSRs *because of* philosophical disagreements over this kind of question. We all have to make a choice we can personally live with.

I'd ask you to think on a few questions:

(1) How bad is this dog's current living situation, and does he have other options? If you're his only option, could you perhaps resolve to be his foster and eventually find a home that can afford him -- in other words, might you just be the bridge out of there? If you can't adopt or foster him, can you network him to good rescues to help get him out of there?


(2) Will your financial picture be improving? If so, realistically, how long will it take for your income to improve? Are there secondary income sources you can tap to create an emergency fund for the dog? One of my friends who's a solo rescuer works extra shifts to pay for her vet bills for the dogs she takes on. She can't afford what she does on her regular salary, so she uses the extra shifts to do it (sometimes working 12 hour days, or 7 days a week). Another one I know drives Uber on weekends to pay for dog stuff. Not everyone wants to work extra jobs to pay for dogs though -- and it's reasonable to say that's just too much to take on. That's a very personal choice.


(3) Can you put major vet expenses on credit? For example, can you qualify for Care Credit to help with big vet bills? Or do you have a credit card with a high enough unused limit that you could keep on reserve for vet bills? You'll still have to pay it down, but at least you'd get a year or more to do that. Not everyone has good credit though, so this too can be a barrier.


(4) Does your region have a low-cost vet option, even if it means driving a bit to get there? You might have to call your shelter or a few rescues to ask about this, if it's not known to you. Thrive Clinics inside PetCo and VetIQ inside Walmart are both driving down vet care costs where they are opening. My city also has a "no frills" high-volume vet clinic in a blighted part of the city that people drive to in order to get low-cost care -- it's a run down building with folding chairs in the lobby, but xrays would be no more than $100 at this place, and they're all about finding cheap ways to fix dogs in need. In more rural areas, farm vets who have clinics set up in their own barns sometimes offer similar low-cost, no-frills care.


Here's my take on your situation:


I wish everyone who adopts a GSD could afford excellent vet care. I also don't want to see anyone go into debt for their dog. Life is messy though, and sometimes we all just have to do the best we can, especially if a dog is in a bad situation.

Having taken on lots of rescued dogs with HD, those hips wouldn't scare me. I've known countless GSDs that have lead happy, active lives with HD--never needing surgery. The key is they were managed well by diligent owners... but that need not cost a fortune. On of my own elderly dogs right now is old as dirt (over 12...we don't really know), blind, with crappy hips, and he walks several miles a day and is out hiking with my DH now. We limit him to a few miles, but he loves doing it. My personal dog is 8 with bad hips, and we've been hiking 3-5 miles a day during our summer break in the Rocky Mountains, and the dog is never happier than we're on a trail. Walking as much as they enjoy is good for them, maintaining muscle tone and loosening up arthritic joints.

You don't have to be able to give them $5,000 bilateral hip replacements to be worthy of owning them. Sometimes, a $500 FHO will give the dog a good, pain-free life. And many dogs with HD do well with medical treatment without ever needing any surgery at all. My friend's adopted GSD has the worst hips her vet had ever seen, and the dog is still active and going strong at 12 years old (after years of being kept lean, active, and getting regular Adequan injections).

If you're going to take on the dog, the low-cost, minimally invasive way of managing it is as follows:

-Find an inexpensive vet willing to start the dog on "generic" Adequan ASAP -- the off-brand version is called Ichon and available from Valleyvet.com for about half what Adequan costs. Ask the vet show you how to do the injections yourself (2 per week for 4 weeks = 8 injections, then maintain once a month, in a young dog). This will help stop joint degeneration and preserve cartilage, lubricate the joint (= heal), and in about half of dogs, it's anti-inflammatory (= pain relief). Many vets don't know this generic option exists, and it's technically an off-label use of it, but it's the same active ingredient as the expensive branded stuff -- vets that do a lot of rescue work or serve a low-income population are more likely to know about it. To estimate cost: as a very rough rule of thumb, a 75# dog gets approximately 6 injections out of 10 ml (which costs around $50).

-Start the dog on good supplements (lots of threads on that here)--you don't have to spend a fortune on branded supplements. Some of the recommendations (like bone broth from chicken necks and backs), you can make cheaply at home.

-Work with your vet on a good exercise program to strengthen the rear end without impact (e.g., walking on hills, swimming, etc.). This need not cost anything more than your time, especially if you can find a friend with a pool who doesn't mind the dog in it.

-Use pain meds as needed until the Ichon kicks in. Generic carprofen is less than $30 for a big bottle of 60 from an online pharmacy like Valleyvet, and you'd need no more than 2/day (maybe just 1) in the proper dose. Other NSAIDs cost far more, but if the dog can handle carprofen, pain meds can be very inexpensive. Your goal is for the dog not to need it, once the other stuff outlined above is working. We use this stuff at the lowest effective dose, which is often considerably less than the official range (I've seen some dogs get relief at HALF a normal dose). You know its effective when the limp stops. We run bloodwork on dogs on it to verify that they're metabolizing it, and this is about $100, but that's a matter of your risk tolerance -- some low-cost vets don't run the bloodwork because the odds of a reaction are so low (though potentially deadly).

-Budget for an FHO performed by a general-practice vet who happens to have a special interest in orthopedics and is good at them, if you can't afford a specialist. That's the least expensive surgical intervention, but it may not be needed for years with a good management plan described above. Find out who that vet is locally (again, the rescues will know), and get an estimate. Our rescue's vet is that vet in our region -- she's done a huge number of FHOs on dogs who don't have other options, and they do just fine. They won't ever be athletes (definitely no agility!), but the pain stops and they live with good quality of life.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you so very much for all the information!!!!

I'm keeping him....
 

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You're welcome! I'm glad for this dog that he's out of that bad situation. I wish you all the best in figuring this out. Keep us posted on how he's doing!


@AniasGSDs, I tried to respond to your PM to me, but your account settings are set to not receive PMs.
 

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I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision, but I was secretly hoping you’d find a way to help or keep him. Keep us updated on your (and his) progress. Hoping it’s an easy transition.
 
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