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Discussion Starter #21
If Haku gets excited/ over alerts when the mailman comes, you may want to stop mail delivery and pick it up at the Post office for a few weeks or maybe move the mailbox to a post at the end of the driveway. Also, ask family and friends to call you instead of knocking at the door easy enough to do since almost everyone has a cell phone.

Its just a couple of things we will be doing for our guy to help keep him calm and quiet.

Good luck with the surgery.
I didn't even think of the mail delivery :O Thanks for pointing that out! Gosh, I hope I can do this. I feel so scattered!

Thank you for your good wishes and same to you. I was not even a 10th as stressed about my own jaw surgery!
 

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I actually got Dr. Doyle doing the surgery, who was taught by Dr. Decamp. He does A LOT of these surgeries and on his recommendation is why we are going ahead with it. He asked me what I want to do with my dog, tested his hip for laxity or something, looked at the xrays and said, "I would do the surgery if this were my dog." When I asked him. He was confident that after 10 months of age there is no reason not to do a hip replacement. I didn't know what to say to that.
Really useful info here:

"Isn’t my dog too young for a total hip replacement?

While there are certain age related requirements, there aren’t any exact age requirements. Most of the requirements are based on growth plate closure associated with the femur and in particular the greater trochanter, which generally is closed at around 9-10 months of age (older in giant breed dogs). Some clients will ask, “isn’t my one year old Golden Retriever too young?” My response is “no” if the patient is painful and not responding to the conservative management. The implants themselves have a life span of >15 years, generally exceeding the life expectancy of the pet."

http://drbenjamino.com/category/total-hip-replacement/

So Dr. Doyle is correct.

Waiting to do the surgery would just increase the length of time your dog has to be in pain. And you would still be worried sick before the surgery. We worried a lot before the first total hip replacement we had done in a dog but were a lot less worried with the seven after that. We also really regretted not doing the total hip replacements earlier.

Here's a video that shows how to walk a dog with a sling after total hip replacement surgery:


Warning: It also includes some pics of the surgery, which is great if you're not squeamish about that stuff. But note how steady and calm the folks are walking the dogs. That is what you need to do. If you tense up, it increases the risk of the dog (and you!) falling.

Again, the most critical thing is that the dog not slip or fall. We could not set up a stable ramp for our dogs to use instead of three steps but we just took it slow and easy and everything was fine.

Also, if you're interested, here's a great video that shows what is done during the surgery:


It uses an animated dog skeleton, so no actual surgery stuff is shown. Some folks find this info helpful; others don't. I figure you're smart enough to make your own decision.

Not to impose, but if you happen to have the time and inclination to post a pic of your big guy and it's easy to do, I sure would like to see him.
 

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The reason I would consider waiting a bit is so the dog is finished growing. It's important that both back legs are the same length so the pelvis isn't tilted, putting undue pressure on the spine. If the dog still has growing to do, the surgeon will have to guess at final leg length.

As 4K9Mom stated in her wonderfully informative post, her surgeon wanted to wait until the growth plates were closed before the surgery.

This would also give you time to work on helpful behaviors that you anticipate the need for after surgery. You could get whatever bedding you choose and work on a place command with long down stays. Work on a move slowly command, like easy or whatever you want to call it. Acclimate the dog to a sling, ramps, handling that may occur during vet visits, how to get into and out of the car, eating while laying down. All this would be easier now when you can work on things incrementally a few times a day instead of throwing it all at the dog when it's still trying to recover.

I'm not saying your dog couldn't handle everything all at once. Many do just fine. I think it would remove some stress if the dog was already used to these situations and behaviors before surgery.

Keep us posted, and thank you for taking the time and spending the money to give your dog a better life 🙂
Hi David,

I was also adamant about Haku being old enough for this surgery but the surgeon insisted that after 10 months it is absolutely fine. I did not have the confidence to contradict him.

There was a bit of a snafu and surgery is now scheduled for next Wednesday sep 18th. I feel sick...
Fantastic!

I was just sharing my concerns and the things I would ask about.

It will be over before you know it. It's smashing just how tough dogs are. I think your biggest challenge will be following the restrictions.

I had a hip replaced last year and was back to work in 2 weeks. Full time in 3. I'm not a dog, but I probably smell like one 🙂
 

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Get a good selection of reading material/DVDs for your confinement. Make sure you will be comfortable too, maybe an easy chair if there's no risk of Haku wanting to climb aboard. I'd practice 'sitting on the dog' so he accustomed to being still with you for extended periods of time. Also, be aware of your emotional state, you need to be calm and settled, not worried and emotional, during convalescence. My dog had elbow surgery at 9 months, I know how you feel, all the best for you both during surgery and recovery.

The Sit on the Dog Exercise ? Canine Life Skills
 

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Make sure you will be comfortable too, maybe an easy chair if there's no risk of Haku wanting to climb aboard.
Which, from Moonshayde's earlier posts, he almost certainly would, and the result could be a disaster.

I'd practice 'sitting on the dog' so he accustomed to being still with you for extended periods of time.

The Sit on the Dog Exercise ? Canine Life Skills
This exercise can be useful for some dogs but is a potential disaster in this situation. Many dogs flail around at the end of a tight leash while learning this, which would just about guarantee wrecking the total hip replacement. Even if it were possible to teach Haku this during the four days before surgery, his response to it postop when the hip dysplasia pain is gone and he feels great would likely be a disaster.

Best to stick to the surgeon's recommendations.
 

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@4K9Mom thank you so much for your awesome reply! I like the idea for the bedding that's really great. I would have to see about the ramp. Unfortunately I have a 2 story house so my pup has been doing a big flight of stairs multiple times a day since I got him :(

The steps I am worried about are 3 ones from my kitchen to back yard. There also is a nasty corner right after so space is super limited. I would have to see about a ramp. Not too sure how to anchor it. Its in my kitchen. I like the yoga mat idea!

In my house, we screwed a 2x4 onto the wall (into the studs) then rested the ramp on it (and the steps) .. It’s strong enough to support my husband; but if we ever want to sell the house, we unscrew it and use spackle to fill the the holes.

If yours is outdoors, you can use exterior patch/caulk/putty if you chose to remove the ramp.

If you have a miter saw, you can cut 45° angles at either end for a perfect fit. If not, stepping up over 2” isn’t too much. Just use the sling to lift his rear a little higher.

Since my 2x12 is wrapped in yoga mat, we don’t have to worry that it would scratch our hardwood steps.
 

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Should I buy some soft low foam bedding? I previously banished those due to him EATING it, but I am going to be home with him for the first 2 weeks after surgery.
Obviously he will have to be crated when you finally have to be away, but you'll need to make sure he has no bedding of any kind in his crate while you are gone. While a hard crate floor is not ideal, it sure beats very expensive emergency surgery for a life-threatening intestinal obstruction caused by eating bedding. Be prepared for a resurgence of some exuberant puppy behavior--including wanting to eat bedding--when he starts to feel really good a few days after surgery.
 

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Obviously he will have to be crated when you finally have to be away, but you'll need to make sure he has no bedding of any kind in his crate while you are gone. While a hard crate floor is not ideal, it sure beats very expensive emergency surgery for a life-threatening intestinal obstruction caused by eating bedding. Be prepared for a resurgence of some exuberant puppy behavior--including wanting to eat bedding--when he starts to feel really good a few days after surgery.

My current puppy likes to chew on foam.

I’ve found these pads are great. He doesn’t try to eat them, so I can put them in his crates (I stack them but you might want to start off with one in your pup’s crate until you see how stable he iis on his new hip the first few days).

The Hardwood Camo print fabrics are tough and repel spilled water; Digital camo fabric is a bit lighter and less slick. They’re made to fit in crates. The price is a steal.

https://www.activedogs.com/product/3138/camo-padded-dog-bed-crate-mat/
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Thank you so much everyone for all your advice and the info and videos! I will watch the sling walking video later after work, that is a really good idea to see how it is done. I will be banishing chairs and likely sitting on the floor with him except my office chair which he cant climb on when I am sitting at my corner desk. My office is a tiny room connected to the living room.

I foresee lots of Netflix binge watching for me, no issues there. That was my pre-_GSD life haha.

Haku is already pretty good at understanding mat work (being calm and getting rewarded on his mat) and sit on the dog which I do when he is overtired and won't stop getting into stuff. So hopefully he will know what it means when I have the leash and will help him understand to be calm. I still have no hopes of it not being a complete struggle though.

Yes I will likely not leave ANY bedding in his crate while I work after my time off. Can't risk him eating it as he absolutely will.

When I have a moment I will post a pic of my boy :)
 

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Tomorrow is Haku's big day, yes? My girlfriend and I will be thinking of him. Please let us know how things go.

I did research the place you are taking him to and it really does look excellent. If I were in your area and had a dog that needed a total hip replacement, that is where I would take him.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Tomorrow is Haku's big day, yes? My girlfriend and I will be thinking of him. Please let us know how things go.

I did research the place you are taking him to and it really does look excellent. If I were in your area and had a dog that needed a total hip replacement, that is where I would take him.
Hi JonRob,

Thank you so much for checking in, it made me smile!

Yes, I drop Haku off at 7:00am tomorrow :O I am trying to remain calm as I am sure he can sense my stress.

I also really like the Animal Surgical Center. I know that they will do their best and that's all I can ask for.

Due to some circumstances there will actually be 3 surgeons in on the surgery tomorrow! Dr.Doyle, Dr. Degner, who will be doing the followup checks, and the head of Orthopedics from Louisiana. I hope this doesn't make it any harder or something but so many smart people in one room can't be a bad thing I think....

Today, besides cleaning and prepping of the recovery room, Haku played with one of his buddy's, did a ton of fun enrichment stuff, destroyed some boxes while I tried to assemble my new vacuum cleaner, played tug with me, played some fetch (man he is gonna miss that!) and was a complete and utter sock-stealing nuisance while I tried to clean the house lol.

Some pics of my happy boy. Gosh I hope that smile comes back and this doesn't hit his personality hard.
 

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Love the pics! Thank you--what a fine handsome dog he is!

Due to some circumstances there will actually be 3 surgeons in on the surgery tomorrow! Dr.Doyle, Dr. Degner, who will be doing the followup checks, and the head of Orthopedics from Louisiana. I hope this doesn't make it any harder or something but so many smart people in one room can't be a bad thing I think....
I think this is great.

Gosh I hope that smile comes back and this doesn't hit his personality hard.
The first couple of postop days can be a little tough, but our dogs with total hip replacements did great very quickly after that. The biggest problem was that they wanted to rock and roll right away, and we couldn't let them. "Yay!" they kept saying. "The hip pain is gone! Let's boogie!" So Haku will be an even bigger complete and utter nuisance soon.

Hang in there, and please let us know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
Surgery went well. Surgeon phoned me afterwards and said it was one of the best hip replacements he has ever done. Like it was meant to be. That was nice to hear.

He also reconfirmed we were making the right decision with the surgery after comparing his x rays from 4 months ago to this morning. He said he was surprised to see so much more arthritis in the joint. He was not expecting as much in such a short time and said the surgery was definitely the right choice.

I pick him up tomorrow. The living room is all decked out with his crate and my bed. My mom is staying the first night to help me out since I am all alone. Now to tackle the rehab :O
 

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Thank you SO much for the good news! Now the rehab fun begins! You'll get very good at it very quickly. And Haku should start driving you nuts soon wanting to romp and play. Please continue the updates if you have time.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Figured I might as well use this as a journal since I am lying around on my laptop so much.

It's Day 1 after we brought him home.

I knew the first days would be tough, I guess I was secretly hoping Haku would be so exhausted he would sleep for a day or 2. Well he sort of did and didn't. He was obviously exhausted but incredibly restless. He also has been whining non stop since we brought him home. Sucks as I don't know if he is in pain, tired, stressed, hungry etc. I have never seen him so miserable. Poor guy. To be expected though.

He slept okay but he is very restless. We are in a small carpeted room with his crate and he just whines and paces, which I stop him doing. I ended up putting him in his crate with a chew and he is whining and chewing.

I think this is going to be hard on him. But I am also hoping he will get used to the routine. Once he realizes we are not going outside to play he may settle down...

He is already putting some weight on the leg and I have to try hard to make him walk slow as he tries to launch off already. My 3 steps to the garden of proving a bit traumatic for both of us unfortunately. I trip to the hardware store for a ramp may be in order. They are just too steep and he panics. I lift him down right now.
 

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Stuff some Kongs with quality canned food and freeze them

Get a Buster Cube or other food puzzle toy.

Hide his food around the room and let him search it out.

Today should be the worst day for pain. He should make a turn for the better tomorrow morning.
 

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I knew the first days would be tough, I guess I was secretly hoping Haku would be so exhausted he would sleep for a day or 2. Well he sort of did and didn't. He was obviously exhausted but incredibly restless. He also has been whining non stop since we brought him home. Sucks as I don't know if he is in pain, tired, stressed, hungry etc. I have never seen him so miserable. Poor guy. To be expected though.

He slept okay but he is very restless. We are in a small carpeted room with his crate and he just whines and paces, which I stop him doing. I ended up putting him in his crate with a chew and he is whining and chewing.
All normal. Things should get better soon. Then the hardest part will be preventing him from capering around like a madman because he feels so good. Hang in there!
 

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Discussion Starter #39
Day 4 after surgery

This is long because I am just bored and rambling, enjoying putting my thoughts down and trying to stay sane :)

Things have improved greatly. We are starting to get our groove.

A few things that helped.

#1 Got a ramp. - Thank you so much to SunFlowers (I hope) for the advice. After Haku starting trying to bolt when I went to pick him up or down the steps I knew we had to change things. Got a nice thick sturdy plank, about 2 feet wide and nailed in a non slip mat but in reverse. So the rubber non slip side faces up. Its perfect and now I just have to hold Haku back from launching up and down as he thinks its great fun. He has always loved climbing on things. Thank goodness he already knew a solid "wait" and "go on" command. He is now learning "slowly" haha. It's a bit tough going up as there was not too much room to make a more gradual incline so I really hope it's not going to hinder healing. I am using the sling for support.

#2 Started a routine. - I realized that Haku is most likely completely confused over our loss of routine. I was pretty rigid with one before the surgery due to his energy levels and restlessness so I am not surprised he is backsliding. With all the meds, hot and cold compresses and instructions, setting up a routine has worked pretty well. He is slowly starting to realize the recovery room is the new place of residence and that no matter how much he whines we are not playing fetch. I must admit that I have a serious problem with this one as I get guilty thinking " I have a GSD he is whining, I have not done enough with him today." While it's good he had an active life and I got plenty of exercise, I definitely did not do him any favors in the calm or relaxed state of mind department. I think for the first time ever he is truly learning that he needs to chill sometimes. We will see how long this lasts :O Routine now includes scheduled crate time. I thought he would be okay with me in the room but it honestly was making things worse. In his eyes I am his entertainment system so he sees me and thinks, walk, fetch, ball, training. To practice for going back to work I started bringing back our before work routine. I put him in the crate and went shopping for myself. I watched on the camera. He cried for 15 min which sucked but then fell asleep and stayed soundly asleep. I think we both needed the break. He was used to this before the surgery, no crying, fast asleep till I got home from work but I think he is unsure with all the changes. Even more clingy than usual. I honestly might go back to work early though. I think it may be better for him.

#3 Training. - I know people say it over and over but I guess I have been lazy or unsure what to do. So today as Haku is feeling pretty good. (his goofy smile is slowly coming back and his lazer eyes of "I NEED TO DO SOMETHING" stare into my soul) I decided to make a long list of things that I can teach him lying down. I found an awesome video:


Today we worked on pushing a ball with his nose, resting his chin down and putting a toy in a basket. I did these with shaping so his brain worked extra hard. He gets easily frustrated but I didn't stay on one trick too long and with 20-30 min of this he curled up next to me and SLEPT! unbelievable. And he had only been awake about 1.5 hours. Hope it was not a fluke. I think he was so craving the mind work.

#4. Scheduling interactive playing with me and puzzles. - My parents (bless them, life savers during this truly) stopped by to bring me some apocalypse essentials that I was missing and a variety of stuffed toys for Haku (Halloween themed of course.)
I try give him one new thing a day and then I will rotate them out hopefully keeping them fun. I started getting more creative with every little thing. Food, treats, toys. I don't just give him the new toy. I wrap it in a shirt so he has to take it out. Put it in a box. Place it under a cup and make him choose the right one. It's all quick little things but I think they are stacking up and making his day more interesting. I also just lie with him and do silly things like make his squeaky toy "run" from him under the covers. We did this pre-op and he would wait for the squeak under the couch pillows then pounce on it like a fox in snow (never gets old, its adorable) so I took most of our games and made "recovery versions"

Fetch? - roll the ball to him. Make him catch it lying down (only tiny throws)

Tug? - lie on the bed with him and tease him with his stuffy and play gentle tug

Nose Work? - Sniff Mat and wrapping food in towels, under bowls etc. Glad he knows this, in a few weeks I can set up proper stuff and hides which he loves. Nice and low impact.

Flirt Pole? - This was hilarious. I was lying in the floor with him just teasing him with his toy making it all animated and I thought, I bet I could make a mini flirt pole...So I did. It was awesome. I will post pics of his ridiculous face. Nothing crazy, I pretty much just swing it back and forth over his head while we are lying down. It's a two foot pole with some string and his toy. He seemed to enjoy it and I think it satisfied a bit of his prey drive.

I have no doubt it will get much harder as JonRob says when he starts feeling good. But hopefully we survive. We are allowed to start 10min leash walks at day 14 I believe if everything looks good. I think that will help as I can let him sniff some stuff out on the lawn. Also Physical Therapy week 4. That will blow his mind.

Incision looks great. Almost no redness at all now. Just normal skin and a nice dark line where the skin has joined. He started limping more heavily on the leg day 3-4. I think the local pain meds wore off. I keep him on his pill ones regardless of if he seems to be in pain or not as he has cried out sharply a few times randomly when he moves too abruptly and that worries me. He still puts a fair amount of weight on it though. He tries to drag me when we go out to potty...He seems to have forgotten all his leash manners!

I don't know how I end up exhausted and I am literally doing nothing. It's insane.
 

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Thanks for checking in! My girlfriend and I have been wondering how things are going. And the pics are great!

That is a truly awesome post with great insights about dog behavior, such as the importance of exercising a dog's mind to wear him out. I hope lots of people read it, including folks who don't have a dog to rehab. I don't know what you do for a living, but if you're bored with your job and want a career change, you would do very well as a dog trainer and/or dog rehab specialist.

Also, your dedication to Haku is outstanding and makes my day. He is very lucky to have you. It was easier for us because we always have multiple dogs, which kept our post-op dogs entertained even though they couldn't play with them. Sort of like doggie theater. Does Haku like to watch TV? Animal Planet maybe?

While it's good he had an active life and I got plenty of exercise, I definitely did not do him any favors in the calm or relaxed state of mind department. I think for the first time ever he is truly learning that he needs to chill sometimes.
Not your fault. There is no way to train a young dog to chill 24 hours a day, hardly any activity, day after day. It is a completely unnatural state to be in.

He started limping more heavily on the leg day 3-4. I think the local pain meds wore off. I keep him on his pill ones regardless of if he seems to be in pain or not as he has cried out sharply a few times randomly when he moves too abruptly and that worries me.
With the hip dysplasia pain, he knew how to adjust his movements to reduce the pain. Now he has a totally different reason for pain, so his old strategies don't work. He should learn new ways to adjust and the pain should go away as he heals. If the pain persists, give his surgeon a call about it.

It is astounding what dogs can go through and bounce back. You might be interested in a video link I posted in another thread about the fantastic recovery of a dog that had part of his snout blown off:

https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-information/757873-there-some-fine-people-world.html#post9195927

Keeping on doing what you're doing! And God bless you and Haku.
 
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