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Discussion Starter #1
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.

Dee
 

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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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Discussion Starter #3
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.

Dee
 

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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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Discussion Starter #5
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.

Dee
 

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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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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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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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If it has to be one or the other I sure hope it is HD not DM. There are surgical
remedies for HD whereas DM is simply ugly. I had a DM GSD and it is a progressive slow disorder which appears rather slowly...rear toe dragging at first then coupled with knuckling under on the rear feet as it progresses to the hindquarters and forward.

Wondering if this "admittedly it was a pretty embarrassing looking run" looks like the dog is 'bunny hopping" on his rears as this is somewhat of a classic sign of HD or other hip problems.

I could be incorrect but current surgical procedures have a very high rate of success for the dog to regain a much more normal life without all the struggle and hardship.


Hopefully you'll get this figured out with your vet and have viable options for your Krok to be as healthy and happy as he deserves.


SuperG
 

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Discussion Starter #12
diesel,

Yes, it looks exactly like that. My audio wasn't working, so I could only watch the video, but Krok looks just like that for sure. Does hip dysplasia not look the same as this?

graciesmom, I am so sorry you had such a short time with your pup. It does worry me that he suddenly has gotten worse, even though, yes, he has had milder symptoms for a long time. Hubby says that even when he was still working at the airport (hubby works there and sees the bomb dogs regularly) he had a limp, but could do his job fine.

I will try to listen to the video again.....

Sigh.

Dee
 

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dee the audio portion explains dm in the video
just do a google search for dm
quite frankly it sounds like dm more than dysplasia although they would rule out dysplasia at the vet visit if you can take the pooch in
good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #14
diesel,

I watched it again and it sure does look and sound like Krok. I do know his TSA vet did suspect hip dysplasia, even a few years ago, although I guess he could now have DM on top of that.

I looked up you tube videos of just hip dysplasia to compare and I noticed there was a lot of bunny hopping, but we don't see Krok doing this. Although, honestly it was somewhat hard to tell the difference between hip dysplasia and DM walking in the videos. But for the most part, the DM video really struck home.

I'll keep you guys updated when we find out more. Thanks for all your help.

Dee
 

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I would definitely have a vet look at him.......my Grim had his back legs crossing and stumbling with relatively fast onset. The blood test was "carrier not affected" for DM but, more importantly, his symptoms improved with acupuncture and cold laser and we believe (I did not take him for a myelogram because I would not have done surgery) it was a disc extrusion injury.

I really do think a vet exam and x-rays (if they felt so) would be indicated.
 

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Discussion Starter #16


Thought I post a pic of our guy, Krok. He's such a sweetie.

Our vet said he didn't think we needed x-rays again b/c the last vet had pretty much said he suspected hip dysplasia (based on symptoms and x-rays) back in 2007. He said it could be worsening HD with arthritis. Or it could be DM, too. Either way, he suggested aspirin and a drug I can't remember the name of....but it's basically glucosamine.

He doesn't seem to be in pain, but I think the aspirin is a good idea just in case. Plus the vet said other parts of their body can hurt from walking in such a weird way all the time. Plus an anti-inflammatory can't hurt.

Krok is almost 11......and I know we cannot spend thousands of dollars just to keep him with us longer--for us. But I want to keep him comfortable and happy for as long as possible. I hope it is just HD and we might have awhile still. But if it is DM, we are prepared now, after researching all of this. We plan to spoil him as much as possible every single day we have with him. I had to kick all the kids off the bed to take this picture of him tonight...he had four of the six kids cuddling with him.....he is well loved. Thanks for all your help and insight everyone.

Dee
 

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Never give aspirin. I don't understand why vets continue to recommend it when there are much safer veterinary drugs, and I've never worked with a vet that has approved of it's use.

NSAIDS like Carprofen, gabapentin, etc... combined with tramadol

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Never give aspirin. I don't understand why vets continue to recommend it when there are much safer veterinary drugs, and I've never worked with a vet that has approved of it's use.

NSAIDS like Carprofen, gabapentin, etc... combined with tramadol

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I agree. There are much safer drugs to use than aspirin. Call your vet and ask for something else.


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Discussion Starter #19
Oh no. Really? Why is aspirin bad? I don't understand why a vet would recommend it if it isn't safe.........I will call back.

Dee
 

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Oh no. Really? Why is aspirin bad? I don't understand why a vet would recommend it if it isn't safe.........I will call back.



Dee

It is very hard on the stomach and even at "safe" doses can cause ulceration of the stomach. There are veterinary specific NSAIDS that are much safer. But more expensive.


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