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What line/Normal Gait vs HD?

8651 Views 27 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  debbiebrown
Some background: I just adopted Ruger from his second owner on Thursday and am trying to figure him out. The first guy apparently got him from a pet store that imports GSDs from Hungary (most likely from a puppy mill). I'm thinking he must be some sort of show line, because he is very angulated, but he also has a roached back (I think).

It doesn't show up well in photos, but he is dark tan, almost light red-and-black. He's rather tall and narrow, especially his head, but he was neutered at 8-9 wks, so I don't know how much that plays a part in his overall structure. He's also only 19 mos old, so I don't know if he's still just puppy-lanky. Any ideas on what type of line or lines he may be from?

Here's a bad photo his previous owner sent me that shows his back end and top line pretty well:

Here are a couple that I took (I don't have any of him stacked, or a close head shot, yet, sorry):

My second concern is this: I'm not used to the extreme angulation, so to me, it looks like he walks funny. I'm not sure if it's just the way he's built, or if he has hip problems. His hind legs look "bent" for lack of a better term. I think I remember someone calling it a "froggy or squishy rear end." That really fits him perfectly. He definitely looks cow-hocked sometimes when he walks, as if his legs are so long they just want to knock together. Is this normal for a showline dog that is very angulated? I know pups often walk this way, but can some adults still look so wobbly and crouched down?

When I saw this, I definitely thought, OMG this dog has HD! I still wanted him and was willing to deal with it, so I brought him home anyways. He needed a better home and come to find he's got the best temperament I could ask for, such a friendly lovebug and very obedient. I felt him all over, moved his legs, and nothing bothers him. He isn't a strong jumper, but rather clumsily jumps/climbs onto the couch or bed when I invite him up. When he trots, he really does have a noticeably smooth "floating" look that I've seen on tv, but he looks awfully silly when he walks or runs. He doesn't bunny-hop, but definitely isn't as fast or powerful in stride as my other two dogs.

I know this is a health question, but how would a dog with HD walk as opposed to a very angulated, healthy dog? Again, he doesn't seem to be pained by anything back there. I will get him X-rayed in the future if he needs to be put under for anything, but for now I'm just putting him on Nupro Joint formula, it can't hurt.

BTW his "papers" from the pet store indicate that the parents were from von Sternhof kennels. I couldn't find much, just a few dogs listed on that pedigree site. Again, I'm pretty sure it's a puppy mill.

Thanks for the input!
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they way he was standing in the last picture struck me funny because my 12 year old with spondylosis stands like that. although spondylosis does effect the hips as well. have you had a vet do a manual test on him? if you have any suspicions i would do x-rays so you know exactly what your dealing with. it might be just his way of standing, his own gate, etc. it doesn't have to be the hips per say, certainly stances of the hind end could indicate alot of issues, back problems, knee problems, etc.
i will also add that weird stances of the jind end could be anal gland or bowel issues.
and as i look he definitely has a sunken down look in the rear area.

To me looks more showline just due to the coloring and structure. I have seen dogs that were angled and had a funny gait so to speak that did not have bad hips. The most obvious signs of hip problems are a distinct limp and pain or difficulty when rising. The vet can also do a manual exam to determine if he hears or feels anything with the hips and to observe if the dog demonstrates any pain when doing so. Good luck.
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True, there may not be a problem, it may be a normal stance for this particular dog, but, because their also can be many problems associate with an odd stance i would definitely have it checked out.

Could also be lack of muscle tone. When I got Nina she was all down and as she moved more, she got more agile, more able to jump, etc. At 8 she looked older than my 12 year old dog!

She though has a ruptured ligament in her knee that wasn't repaired that didn't quite heal well-so in addition to hips, knees can be checked too.
Thanks for the replies! That picture really isn't the best, because it exaggerates the slope in his back. I think he was crouching a bit from being held like that (poor guy looks so confused).

There's no issues with stairs, getting in/out of the car, sitting, etc. He can even stand up on the back legs for several minutes at a time with no signs of difficulty (he was peeking thru the windows at the daycare to see what I was doing in the front lobby on Saturday). Nothing seems to bother it, haven't heard any clicks, no limping. He played for 8 hours straight, rough-housing and running with other dogs, and he didn't have to rest any more than the others did. If there are any sort of bone/joint issues, that type of activity really tends to bring it out (we have clients whose dogs have problems like that so we have to restrict them).

His shots are due this month, so I will definitely ask her to check him over, though without him showing signs of any problems, I'd hesitate to knock him out for an x-ray (trying to avoid unnecessary costs right now). If he had any signs of pain, I'd have taken him in already.

Now that others have mentioned this, I'm thinking it's a combination of his line plus a lack of muscle tone. I'd noticed myself that his thighs are very, very thin, with a deep indent along the middle between the major muscle groups. You can't quite see it in the picture, but it's very noticeable in person. When I gave him a bath on Saturday, he just looked pitiful back there.

Any ideas on specific thigh-building exercises? I was thinking a lot of sit-ups, having him stand up for hugs, playing tug, walks/playtime, anything else?

I have him on Nupro Joint and will be adding a joint supplement soon, whenever I can decide on a good one, too many out there to pick from.

Crossing my fingers that the vet visit goes well!
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Depending on his temperament he might not need to be sedated for xrays. If you were taking them for OFA and needed it to be percise- maybe. If you are just taking them to see what is going on it may not be an issue.
Really? Hmm, I will definitely ask the vet about that, then. Nico had PennHip so he needed to be put under, and three of my friends who just took plain x-rays also had to have them knocked out, so I thought that was the rule.

Thanks for letting me know, because he really is laid back and loves everyone; I think he'd have no problem lying on his back/side/whatever and being restrained, especially if food was involved!

Hopefully he's okay and just a combo of good food (he was eating FOOD LION BRAND and KIBBLES N BITS!!!
), supplements, and exercise will straighten him out.
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Hill climbing for building up back legs. Also climing in a zig-zag pattern horizontally would be good for that as well.
I think the floppy rear end doesn't necessarily have to do with HD. I've seen several cow hocked low riders with perfectly good hips.

Bunny hopping (both hind feet together) while running is associated with HD however, and we've found that to be reasonably predictive around here. Is that something he does?
Nope, no bunny hopping. I'm just thinking I'm being paranoid, LOL. I've never seen a highly angulated adult show line in person, only younger pups, so I think it's just something I'm not used to seeing!

I always read on here about how people comment on how the extreme types walk oddly and look "crippled" and I think that was my reaction, too. Now I think I know what they mean.

I also just looked at him, and he's just built so narrowly. He's quite large-boned in his legs (again, better seen in person than photos) so maybe there's just not enough space between his legs to keep them from looking so close together?
Originally Posted By: AmaruqDepending on his temperament he might not need to be sedated for xrays. If you were taking them for OFA and needed it to be percise- maybe. If you are just taking them to see what is going on it may not be an issue.
Yep. My mutt had her hips X-rayed about a year ago and no sedation was necessary.
It is funny looking isn't it? Kind of makes me want to smack the person who came up with it upside the head.

But I think the only real connection that it has to HD is that a lot of pet quality dogs from show lines have both the goofy hind end and HD as well.

As a random aside - something else that doesn't seem related to HD even though it seems like it should be is extreme bowleggedness. I've had two fosters with hind ends like cowboys and (in my paranoia) had them x-rayed while they were under getting neutered. One of them had perfectly fine hips and the other had the best hips my vet said he'd ever seen in his life. So, go figure!

But the bunny hopping does seem to be related, so glad your baby isn't doing that.
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That's a funny way of looking at it, "cowboy hind end" lol, but it's pretty accurate!

I've got the whole range right here in front of me: Nico, with moderate angulation, Sasha with with a bit more angulation, and now Ruger with the frog legs!

I really think he's fine, I just over-reacted when I saw him walking so funny! He really does have a nice floating trot, though. His body seems to stay motionless while only his legs do the work. It's pretty neat to see, but not at the expense of making him look silly!
i think every gsd should have hip x-rays. i always do it at about 6-8 months old when they are spayed or nuetered. that gives somewhat of a baseline of whats to come. if there are problems at that point i will get a more accurate reading at around 2 years old.

i think at the very least it wouldn't hurt for your vet to do a manual exam, and if there are any problems with that he would suggest an x-ray. if i had even half suspicion there was somthing wrong i would be checking it out. this breed is to well known for hip, back, and bone problems.

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Yeah, he's due for shots this month so the vet will definitely be taking a look at things. I've done a full ROM exam on his hips and knees with no apparent problems, but I'm only a med student, not a vet.

I've gone ahead and got a good joint supplement for him, so despite whatever the x-ray will say, if he's not symptomatic, I guess there's nothing else I could do anyways at this point. It's always good to know exactly what's going on, though.

It's funny, but the longer I have him, the more normal he looks to me. I think it it was the initial shock of seeing something so different than what I'm used to, LOL.
Do the health checkups, but it's very, very likely this is due to angulation. Rule the important stuff out first!
Originally Posted By: chrubyHill climbing for building up back legs. Also climing in a zig-zag pattern horizontally would be good for that as well.
Yep, that is the excercise I was given for keeping muscle in my dyplastic dog [and should help for one with poor muscle tone as well]
Sounds like I'm gonna be getting pretty toned up, too!
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