German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,347 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My 7 year old dog has quite a few symptoms of severe hip dysplasia, though she has not been officially x-rayed due to money issues and the vet blowing off my concerns while saying, "She's just getting old!" She said that to me when my dog was 6 years old. Whatever. Yes, I will be switching to another vet.

From what I have been reading, if a dog is showing the symptoms she has been (exercise intolerance, dragging back feet a few times a month, swaying hips, standing up and laying down slowly, hesitant to jump on and off the bed, panting nonstop, yawning constantly, and pronounced shoulder muscles) the case is most likely severe and there isn't too much you can do. Is this correct? Her hips also feel very off to me, and she appears to have muscle deterioration in her back legs. Now that it is warming up, I will be taking her swimming as much as possible, but it's a 45 minute drive one way to take her swimming and she HATES the car.

To those of you that have had a dog diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia, what was the outcome as far as longevity? She is clearly uncomfortable, and I really don't want her to only be happy if she's all drugged up. She is currently on glucosamine and chondroitin and MSM. This has clearly not been caught early. Is it too late to alleviate her symptoms without pain pills every day? Do you think she will be able to live past 9 years old? Her quality of life is admittedly not great right now. She seems depressed all the time. She does not like to play. She does not want to go down our stairs to go outside. She does not want to go on walks.

Any thoughts or advice??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,839 Posts
I am sorry :( I just wanted to say that it is really heartbreaking that you are dealing with this, and after the pup too :(

I've never dealt with it, hopefully others will have ideas.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,347 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I am sorry :( I just wanted to say that it is really heartbreaking that you are dealing with this, and after the pup too :(

I've never dealt with it, hopefully others will have ideas.
Yes, I am very upset thinking about the fact that I might lose her early as well. I'll feel better when she makes it to 10. Maybe others will have some positive stories to share. It's just so hard to deal with her now. She is unbelievably clingy, and it's driving me nuts. I know it's because she doesn't feel well, but I'm not sure what to do about it. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,687 Posts
If the dog is in pain, she should be treated for the pain accordingly. It absolutely sounds like her quality of life isn't good if her consistent state of pain isn't being treated. She's probably "driving you nuts" and being "unbelievably clingy" because it hurts her to move and she doesn't understand why. You can do supplements alongside a NSAID to help possibly decrease the amount of NSAIDs that are needed over time, but to withhold them completely seems cruel IMO. Take her to a vet and get the diagnosis and prescriptions to treat the pain to start. Make sure she's on good quality joint supplement, and I would personally start Adequan injections as well.

If after all of that, she is still painful and her quality of life is diminished, then it is your responsibility to be her advocate to prevent her further suffering.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,347 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
If the dog is in pain, she should be treated for the pain accordingly. It absolutely sounds like her quality of life isn't good if her consistent state of pain isn't being treated. She's probably "driving you nuts" and being "unbelievably clingy" because it hurts her to move and she doesn't understand why. You can do supplements alongside a NSAID to help possibly decrease the amount of NSAIDs that are needed over time, but to withhold them completely seems cruel IMO. Take her to a vet and get the diagnosis and prescriptions to treat the pain to start. Make sure she's on good quality joint supplement, and I would personally start Adequan injections as well.

If after all of that, she is still painful and her quality of life is diminished, then it is your responsibility to be her advocate to prevent her further suffering.
I am not withholding pain meds altogether. That is absolutely not my goal. I am working on getting a new vet and in the meantime have been supplementing, getting a raw diet going, and I have been giving her anti inflammatories as well. We have some tramadol for her. I was just asking about long term, meaning will she have to be on pain meds for the rest of her life to be happy? Because that doesn't seem like a good life to me. I am not expecting her to deal with the pain. That is completely cruel, you are right.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,255 Posts
Each dog is different and hip dysplasia is somewhat of a blanket term that covers several different things happening within the hip joint - each causing a different sort of pain / discomfort / limitations. I can’t remember when my girl was diagnosed (3yrs maybe?) but she didn’t really become symptomatic until 6yrs. At 3 her hips were already so severe that she was no longer a candidate for surgery and the vets were very surprised that she was as mobile as she was. Arthritis, bone spurs, osteo-something, the whole nine. She never experienced ALL of the symptoms of your dog. I went down the list as far as treatments and pain management (both traditional and holistic).... the last stop was adequan injections which she got the last couple years of her life. She lived until 13yrs. I’d rate her quality of life a 7/10 all the way to her final week. HD is not what took her.

Eta: here’s an old video of her at 10yrs, pre adequan - the bi color gsd
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,707 Posts
I've had several oldsters with HD, and it's very manageable -- mine have lived with it with excellent quality of life until the natural end came from unrelated cancer eventually.

The really, really important thing is to have a vet who treats it synergistically -- not just throwing pain meds and viewing it as inevitable, but rather coming up with a plan to maximize quality of life.

I think Adequan should be started as soon as HD is confirmed. It is expensive to have a vet do, but not bad if you can give injections yourself. By week 3 of the loading dose, you'll know if it's going to help: in a sizable percentage of dogs, it not only lubricates the joint but also has a strong anti-inflammatory effect. They go from lame to jogging almost overnight once it kicks in. Then it's just a matter of finding the right maintenance protocol -- some can go a month, some need it every other week. Nearly all my friends with old dogs have them on Adequan too -- it's become the gold standard treatment for good reason!

FYI: Valley Vet has the best price I've found on Adequan online. Your vet would likely need to show you how to give injections and calculate doseage for you. There's also a generic of the active ingredient in Adequan that's sold under the name "Ichon" on Valley Vet -- it's about half the price. We've used a lot of Ichon in rescue, and it really does work pretty well (with the same loading dose and maintenance schedule). If you can afford Adequan, buy it; if you can't, then talk with your vet about using Ichon instead.

The right supplements and exercise should also part of the treatment plan. That might mean something like Dasuquin Advanced, or a combination of other supplements you buy separately (turmeric, Type II Collagen/Hyaluronic Acid, natural eggshell membrane, MSM, etc.). FYI, glucosamine supplements have come up mostly empty in large scale studies, so don't expect much from that. Dasuquin is the only glucosamine brand that's got decent clinical research behind it (it's a patented, proprietary form that's different from what you would buy at a drugstore).

I have one oldster getting acupuncture too. It's making a real difference for him going up and down stairs, but it took us about a month of regular treatments to see big improvement, and we have to keep up treatments to maintain it.

Dogs who get multi-modal treatment plans nearly always do much better than dogs who just get one thing. It all works together supporting the joints in different ways. Mine haven't needed pain meds when all the other stuff kicked in -- they're still walking, jogging/trotting, hiking, swimming and being active (and one of them is at least 12)...old age doesn't have to mean slowing down painfully.

It's also critical to keep the dog lean. NO EXTRA WEIGHT ON THOSE JOINTS!

If this stuff doesn't work though, I do think you are going to be looking at pain meds for the dog. Generic carprofen costs something like $30 for a huge bottle from the online pharmacies or WM pharmacy. It's not humane to leave them in hurting. I'd much rather use low doses of pain meds temporarily to punch down inflammation and give the other stuff some space to kick in, but fear of pain meds should not be used as a justification to simply leave a dog hurting. I feel very strongly about our obligation to make sure our oldsters are comfortable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,862 Posts
Here is an article concerning the efficacy of tremadol https://www.mspca.org/angell_services/pain-medicine-tramadol/

I would look into another anti inflammatory pain reliever until you figure things out. This is anecdotal and comparing different species but Tremadol did nothing for my own severe hip pain when I was going through it.

NEM may help alleviate some of the pain to the degree that it will be evident within 10 days. if not, no harm done.

I'm really sorry she and you are going through this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,707 Posts
Another inexpensive thing to do to self-treat is make a big pot of chicken bone broth (esp. from necks and backs) to get your own source of Collagen II -- Gatorbytes and Carmen have posted how to make it several times.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,347 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I also have Carprofen, but I have only given the tramadol. I will look into the things you guys have suggested. I agree with you all, don't worry. I won't make her go without pain meds just because. My hope is that she eventually won't need them or will only need them every once in a while. But I obviously don't want her in pain, so if she requires pain meds everyday, so be it. I was just hoping she could get along without it. I will not make her suffer.

Also, @Magwart, she is overweight. I am working on it, but it's a terrible losing battle. She gets one cup of kibble in the morning and I just started raw at night. She acts starving with that amount, but she continues to gain weight, even though amount of food has not changed. We got the tests done, and the vet said she does not have hypothyroidism, but I don't believe it. She has so many of the symptoms of it. Is there anywhere I can get the thyroid medications online cheaper without needing a prescription from a vet? Or what else can I do about that since the vet didn't see anything amiss with all the testing I've done? I'm not sure if it would hurt her to give her the thyroid meds without being 100% sure she has hypo.

Thanks, everyone! I will get a new vet and discuss my options with him/her. Hopefully we can come up with a plan for her in person, since you all can't see her over the computer. I do appreciate your ideas. I feel better about her future.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,707 Posts
Also, @Magwart, she is overweight. I am working on it, but it's a terrible losing battle. She gets one cup of kibble in the morning and I just started raw at night. She acts starving with that amount, but she continues to gain weight, even though amount of food has not changed. We got the tests done, and the vet said she does not have hypothyroidism, but I don't believe it. She has so many of the symptoms of it. Is there anywhere I can get the thyroid medications online cheaper without needing a prescription from a vet? Or what else can I do about that since the vet didn't see anything amiss with all the testing I've done? I'm not sure if it would hurt her to give her the thyroid meds without being 100% sure she has hypo.
Thyroid meds are RX only and delicate to get right --you have to test every at least 4-6 mo. until you get in the therapeutic range, as they may adjust the meds by 0.1 mg at a time until they get it right. The meds themselves are very cheap ($10 or less generics at WM pharmacy), but the dosing definitely requires vet supervision (and the repeated labs can get pricey with the re-tests).

What were her T4 values on her last labs? If they were borderline compared to the reference range, it may be worth thinking about. One of my dogs gained a bunch of weight with no increase in calories or decrease in activity, and he couldn't lose the weight....he was borderline low on his senior panel, so the vet put him on thyroid meds because that value combined with his sudden weight gain with owners who carefully monitor calories and measure food portions was enough for him to diagnose. The weight melted right off. There's a more sensitive full-panel thyroid that costs about $100 and gets sent out by FedEx from the vet to either Michigan State University's vet school lab or Hemopet in California.

If you give carprofen (or any NSAID), I would give it with food and aim for the low end of the dosing range.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,980 Posts
My 7 year old dog has quite a few symptoms of severe hip dysplasia, though she has not been officially x-rayed due to money issues and the vet blowing off my concerns while saying, "She's just getting old!" She said that to me when my dog was 6 years old. Whatever. Yes, I will be switching to another vet.

From what I have been reading, if a dog is showing the symptoms she has been (exercise intolerance, dragging back feet a few times a month, swaying hips, standing up and laying down slowly, hesitant to jump on and off the bed, panting nonstop, yawning constantly, and pronounced shoulder muscles) the case is most likely severe and there isn't too much you can do. Is this correct? Her hips also feel very off to me, and she appears to have muscle deterioration in her back legs. Now that it is warming up, I will be taking her swimming as much as possible, but it's a 45 minute drive one way to take her swimming and she HATES the car.

To those of you that have had a dog diagnosed with severe hip dysplasia, what was the outcome as far as longevity? She is clearly uncomfortable, and I really don't want her to only be happy if she's all drugged up. She is currently on glucosamine and chondroitin and MSM. This has clearly not been caught early. Is it too late to alleviate her symptoms without pain pills every day? Do you think she will be able to live past 9 years old? Her quality of life is admittedly not great right now. She seems depressed all the time. She does not like to play. She does not want to go down our stairs to go outside. She does not want to go on walks.

Any thoughts or advice??
I use Metacam for pain, and use it as needed. It has not made any of my dogs dopey, I just don't like pain meds because if you take away the pain the dogs seem to do more damage. A bit of pain keeps them cautious.
I can also tell you that with all of Shadows issues with her front leg I finally tried the NEM and the results have been astounding. And improvement was noted in 3 days. It's just a supplement so no pharma side effects.
I started a post the other day about Shadows hips, she is about the same age and I don't need an x ray to tell me her hips are screwed, I can feel it when I rub them. Hoping the NEM will help with that as well. My suspicion is that she has shallow sockets and as she is aging the ligaments holding the hips together are getting more lax.
I have had great success with acupuncture, and I do mean great.
Keep her as lean as possible and try massage.
Sabi was diagnosed with severe HD at 3 but no one sent her the memo, lol. At 11 I thought that was what I was seeing but x rays proved otherwise, no real significant changes between x rays at 3 and x rays at 11 and minimal reduction in range of motion, no pain indicators.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top