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Discussion Starter #1
I need your opinion on this subject.

My sister and her husband recently acquired an 18 month old German bred puppy. I’ll call the puppy “Mary”. Mary went to the vet to be spayed last week. The new young vet in the practice performed the procedure instead of their regular vet. He decided, since Mary was asleep, to perform the Ortolani test for dysplasia. The diagnosis was dysplasia in both hips. Needless to say they were very upset to hear this.

I have known the breeder for almost 20 years and have bred three of my girls with her dogs. To my knowledge they have never had a puppy with dysplasia.

My sister is a nurse and I asked her what the x-rays looked like. She then told me that there were no x-rays.

I offered my opinion - “have your regular vet perform the x-rays”. Personally I would not accept a diagnosis of dysplasia without films - I want to SEE it!!

What do you think!!
 

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I am no expert by far, but the article below suggests that x-rays should definitely be taken and used to determine what treatment, if any, might be needed.

Diagnosing hip dysplasia (Proceedings)

Quoting from this article:

Radiographs are an essential tool for diagnosing and planning treatment for hip dysplasia. While the physical exam may raise index of suspicion or even confirm joint laxity, radiographs can be used to objectively evaluate hip conformation, degenerative changes, and even joint laxity. Radiographs are also important to rule out other causes of hind limb lameness. Several different radiographic examinations are used for this purpose-the ventrodorsal extended hip view, the PennHIP distraction view, the dorsal acetabular rim view, and the dorsolateral subluxation score.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanks T-S-Adams - I don't think you have to be an expert to realize that a picture is worth a thousand of anything else!

Thanks for responding.
 

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I'm with Tim. Everything I've found has indicated that while the movement itself can be suggest a possible issue regarding the hips, ultimately an X-ray is required to officially diagnose a dog with hip dysplasia. I wouldn't take the vet's word until there was a radiograph completed by a PenHipp or OFA certified vet.
 

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There are several aspects about the scenario you described that I find troubling. First (barring an emergency), the only people who perform surgeries/procedures on my animals are vets that I know and trust OR vets whom I've carefully selected for that purpose. "New" vets don't touch my animals except in an emergency situation. Even then, I'll question them closely about what's required and how they're going to do it.

Second, no vet performs any procedure on my animals without my explicit knowledge and permission. I once verbally smacked down a presumptuous resident who aspirated a sebaceous cyst on one of my females despite my explicit instructions not to touch it. (I knew what it was and had been watching it with our regular vet). More to the point, we were there for emergency x-rays as I suspected that my girl might be on her way to bloating. Fortunately, she only had a bad case of gas. The smackdown ("What part of 'do not touch this' did you fail to understand and where is your supervisor?") resulted in a written apology from the resident and her supervisor, which also included a statement that any consequences of the aspiration (e.g., infection, change in growth rate) would be covered by the practice at their cost. I don't mess around....

Third, x-rays (at least) are required to diagnose dysplasia. If there's no film, what on earth did he do? And, why would one believe his assertion? At best, the vet is blowing smoke; at worst, it's arguably malpractice.

Finally, as I understand it, training and certification are required to both perform and interpret x-rays diagnosing dysplasia. Does the new vet have either? If not, what does he think he was doing?

I'd have a serious conversation with the senior vet in the practice, wouldn't let the "new vet" touch my animals in future, and possibly take my business elsewhere.

Aly
 

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I would not accept the diagnosis without x-rays, especially if the dog were asymptomatic. I would recommend that they go to a vet experienced in orthopedics and have x-rays taken.

One of my dogs was misdiagnosed with elbow dysplasia at my local vet. I took him in after he had been limping for a day or two. The vet (not our usual vet) took x-rays, showed them to us, and told us the dog needed surgery right away. On our way out, I asked them to send the x-rays to their specialist and asked for a copy of the x-rays. When a week had passed and they acted like they had no idea how to give me a copy of the x-ray, had "forgotten" to send the x-ray out to their specialist, and my dog's symptoms had gone away, I decided to find a different vet. Long story short, I went to a new vet (recommended by our trainer) who looked at the original x-rays, said the elbows looked fine but the dog was positioned wrong. I had them redo the x-rays and his elbows are perfectly normal. This was eventually confirmed by the specialist (who finally received a copy of the x-rays). Anyway, it ended up being a very expensive shoulder strain.

I would tell your sister that if something seems "off" with a diagnosis to seek out a second opinion.
 
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