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Discussion Starter #1
I'm very confused at the moment.

I have just come back from having my bitche's hips and elbows X rayed by one of the top orthopaedic veterinary surgeon in the country.

I waited until the x rays were taken and he called me to his office with some bad news. He told me that my bitch has severe hip dysplasia and arthritis. He said that she is managing due to the fact that she does not carry a lot of weight but it will get worse as time goes by.

He has suggested a total hip replacement of both hips but said her arthritis will not go away.

She is only 18mths and is leash walked on natural ground. She sleeps in the house at night in her crate with a memory foam mattress as her bed. During the day she is outside in her compound which has rubber horse matting as a floor and she has a raised bed in there to sleep on if need be.

She has never shown any signs of distress with her hips and has been doing extremely well in her personal protection classes and obedience classes.

I've contacted her breeder to make her aware of the situation.

Where do I go from here??

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Can you post the x-rays?

My first reaction was some vets are much too eager to go for surgery. That's how they make their money, after all!

But you did say this vet was one of the top surgeons in his field...

I dunno, I just have a bad feeling about the vet wanting to do a THR, especially since she's not showing signs of pain. But I HAVE heard of dogs with really horrible hips that weren't showing pain, either.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Can you post the x-rays?



My first reaction was some vets are much too eager to go for surgery. That's how they make their money, after all!



But you did say this vet was one of the top surgeons in his field...



I dunno, I just have a bad feeling about the vet wanting to do a THR, especially since she's not showing signs of pain. But I HAVE heard of dogs with really horrible hips that weren't showing pain, either.
The vet will email me the X-rays tonight and I'll post here for people to see.

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I agree with "Sunsilver" in modern Vet care far to often it's about the "procedure" and the money made from the procedure....and some how what's actually best for the animal gets lost in the shuffle and I look for that to get worse as the world keeps spinning....to the OP it's hard for me to believe that an 18 month old needs a total hip replacement and..... I've yet to see one that doesn't develop arthritis to some degree as they become seniors...it's apart of the breed IMO.......


In your shoes I'd take those x-rays and do your own research and find a couple of radiologists to look at them and get second opinions just to see if you hear the same story verbatim.....if you're near a vet teaching college I'd contact them and see if they'd be willing to give an opinion on the x-rays....I'd just have to question the fact that your dog is active in obedience and protection and yet you've seen no sign of any problems....I'm guessing you were checking hips with the intention of breeding ??
 

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I definitely agree on getting second (and even third) opinions before doing major surgery.



With hips, I've always been told to treat the dog, not the xray.....some dogs with bad xrays don't experience bad pain, and others with just moderate xrays are almost completely lame.



I would ask him whether there's any downside to managing it medically as long as she's active and happy -- Adequan injections, supplements, appropriate exercise to keep her from losing muscle back there, etc. In other words, can you put the THR off until the other stuff stops working?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I agree with "Sunsilver" in modern Vet care far to often it's about the "procedure" and the money made from the procedure....and some how what's actually best for the animal gets lost in the shuffle and I look for that to get worse as the world keeps spinning....to the OP it's hard for me to believe that an 18 month old needs a total hip replacement and..... I've yet to see one that doesn't develop arthritis to some degree as they become seniors...it's apart of the breed IMO.......


In your shoes I'd take those x-rays and do your own research and find a couple of radiologists to look at them and get second opinions just to see if you hear the same story verbatim.....if you're near a vet teaching college I'd contact them and see if they'd be willing to give an opinion on the x-rays....I'd just have to question the fact that your dog is active in obedience and protection and yet you've seen no sign of any problems....I'm guessing you were checking hips with the intention of breeding ??
I agree with what you write, I find it difficult also.
The vet I used is the top of his field and he is the person that the teaching colleges go to for consultations regarding bone conditions.

Breeding was a possibility as several club members had expressed a desire in a future pup out of her.

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I definitely agree on getting second (and even third) opinions before doing major surgery.



With hips, I've always been told to treat the dog, not the xray.....some dogs with bad xrays don't experience bad pain, and others with just moderate xrays are almost completely lame.



I would ask him whether there's any downside to managing it medically as long as she's active and happy -- Adequan injections, supplements, appropriate exercise to keep her from losing muscle back there, etc. In other words, can you put the THR off until the other stuff stops working?
The point is she is not in any pain, had I not had her xrayed, I would never has suspected she had HD or arthritis.

I won't do a THR unless it is absolutely necessary.

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Sorry you are going through this. One of my dogs was limping (foreleg), so I took him to my local vet, he took x-rays, diagnosed elbow dysplasia and recommended surgery. Long story short, several things happened at that clinic that caused me to doubt the diagnosis, so I requested he send the images to a specialist, and I got a second opinion from a more qualified vet (and a 2nd set of x-rays as the 1st were badly positioned). Turns out, my dog just had a sprain. Even if your vet is a specialist and the diagnosis isn't in doubt, it couldn't hurt to get someone else's perspective on the course of treatment. Wishing you the best. Keep us updated.
 

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A couple of thoughts here ---- second opinion from another (maybe non surgical?) specialist or another vet ----- my dog with bad hips did not have difficulty with her hips until she was 8. Her pain can be managed successfully (so far). The first dog I had with bad hips, lived to be 14 without her hips bothering her until she was 13.


Your dog is showing no symptoms. You could proceed with the second/third opinions to give you information for the future. You can also discuss the pros and cons of waiting with the vets. Then you weigh what they have to say & decide where to go with this. (for instance, I have crappy issues with the basal joint on my thumbs. Surgery can fix this but surgery will work the same done now or done later. I'm opting for later as alternative treatment seems to be helping. (and surgery would put whichever hand out of commission for several weeks.)
 

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Just to provide some perspective - these hips are rated OFA good:

It's easy to see the differences. The ball of your dog's femur is not properly seated in the socket. On the right side, it looks like the hip is partially dislocated. The sockets are too shallow, and the ball of the femur not as large as it should be.

It could be your dog isn't in pain because the hips are so far out of the socket that there is no bone to bone contact. I'v heard of that happening. But definitely this is NOT a dog that should be doing high impact sports like schutzhund. :crying:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think we can all agree that her hips are bad and that they are not going to improve.

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Sorry Gwyllgi. That's got to be a huge disappointment. They are pretty bad already. I'd consider switching her over to something low impact. No reason she can't track, do nosework or rally maybe. I'd like to see some more muscle on her. It will help stabilize the joints. If you've got a place to go swimming, that would be ideal. Of course, start supplementing right away and keep her lean but how much that can help at this point is anyone's guess. At the end of the day, you do have to treat the dog and not the xray. I think you'll eventually have to have the right hip done. If you opt not to do a THR right now (which I wouldn't be doing yet) I'd have her re-xrayed in another year or two to track progression.
 

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Yeah. That sucks.

1. I would start with finding a good ortho. I've always been told to treat the dog not the xray.
2. Read your contract from your breeder.
3. Keep her strong. If personal protection training and obedience are not high impact, then continue them. Many dogs with bad hips are doing IPO and agility. Keeping their muscles strong helps them support their hips.
4. Inflammation is your worst enemy. Get her on supplement and diet to combat that.
 

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Sorry Gwyllgi. That's got to be a huge disappointment. They are pretty bad already. I'd consider switching her over to something low impact. No reason she can't track, do nosework or rally maybe. I'd like to see some more muscle on her. It will help stabilize the joints. If you've got a place to go swimming, that would be ideal. Of course, start supplementing right away and keep her lean but how much that can help at this point is anyone's guess. At the end of the day, you do have to treat the dog and not the xray. I think you'll eventually have to have the right hip done. If you opt not to do a THR right now (which I wouldn't be doing yet) I'd have her re-xrayed in another year or two to track progression.
Thanks.
I'll just have to take it easy with her for now.

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Yeah. That sucks.

1. I would start with finding a good ortho. I've always been told to treat the dog not the xray.
2. Read your contract from your breeder.
3. Keep her strong. If personal protection training and obedience are not high impact, then continue them. Many dogs with bad hips are doing IPO and agility. Keeping their muscles strong helps them support their hips.
4. Inflammation is your worst enemy. Get her on supplement and diet to combat that.
The vet is the top orthopaedic surgeon in the country.

Her trainer has suggested to keep on with her training but will customise a routine for her that will not have any impact on her joints.

My dog was imported from Germany and they don't seem to do contracts the same as the US or UK. The contract I had just stipulated that the pup was sold and received in good health. However, she has offered to give me a pup from her current litter. She is very upset over it.

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Hips are bad for sure. I'd get a second opinion for the reason that your ortho vet is going straight for THR. Did he offer FHO as an option? Both are serious surgeries and at a high cost but there are pros and cons to each.
My girls hips are bad (diagnosed at 19 months). She already showed arthritis on her x-rays as well. My vet was conservative. Treat the dog not the x-rays. Keep her lean, well exercised yet don't over do it. Let her be a dog. She is only recently (last 6 months) started to have regular difficulty and signs of pain at 6 years.
I guess what I'm saying is sounds like you have time to weigh options and get second/third opinions on the best form of treatment.
 

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I'm no expert but I see the displasia in both right and left. Get a second opinion concerning the arthitis so that you don't question yourself down the line. There is a lot to consider. It sounds like you have done a great job ensuring that her hips were protected as a matter of course.

My guy is just shy of 8 and his has become painful. The difference between his X-rays at 2 and now broke my heart. If he were as active as yours, he probably would have shown signs of pain sooner but he isn't and he didn't so I just kept an eye on it. Also did the supplements, bone broth etc.

My thoughts, the opinions between Ortho will probably vary between right now or wait and keep an eye on it until mobility is affected, rate of arthritic change, signs of pain and which procedure is best all round.

my guys Ortho consult is in Sept. I'm not pushing for a sooner one because my gut is telling me not to. I started the Adequan shots. PT etc. it's helping but I'm pretty convinced that after his Ortho consult, he will be getting the THR.

Fwiw, I had a THR and revision on my right. My right was the better of my two but became horrifically painful. My left hip is still natural and going strong with no pain. My left was the worst one and looks horrible on X-ray and looking at it makes me wonder how the heck I can walk on it and it's been that way for a very long time.

I just wanted to offer some info through our hip experiences. And to validate that a bad hip isn't always painful, what is seen on film isn't always the total picture.
 
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