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Thoughts on managing crate rest


powerfulgazelle
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Sollers, our just-turned-a-year-old pup, has troubles.

 

He has had several episodes of lameness---usually his R hind leg looking stiff, walking with a "funny" gait---all usually after fairly rambunctious play with Kip. I have felt, when I happened to be petting him when he moved, clicking in both hips, but could never seem to get the vet to feel in the office what I was noticing at home.

 

I have taken him to the vet with this concern about three times---sometimes in conjunction with other issues---most recently, for the lameness alone. We saw a different vet that time (about two weeks ago).

 

Sunday, he had a 'regular' day---1 miles walk in the AM with my son, normal activity around the house. No unusual (or even usual, but rambunctious) play. We went out to do back to school errands, so the guys were crated during the evening. We got home, and upon arising from his crate, Sol would bear NO weight at all on his L hind leg.

 

No obvious pad injury, hock and knee seemed fine, no fluid at his knee, etc. He seemed to be "thinner"/have less muscle mass in his hind end---but he was inching up on being too heavy (some free-feeding by DH), so he had been put back on measured kibble (Canidae) to check his weight gain. (He is by no means obese/overweight...he was just starting to lose his "tuck in" at his belly.) It seemed he was re-slimming down, but then it seemed to my eye that it was muscle mass loss in his haunches. I gave him a dose of Rimadyl and a methocarbamol (because his low back seemed in spasm/hunched...he is usually kinda swaybacked, but I could see his lower back was rounded up in spasm).

 

We went to the vet the next AM. The same vet saw him who saw him last time. She confirmed she thought he had lost some muscle mass, and he is still lame/minimal wt bearing on the L hind. She offered us sedated Xrays to check his hips. She seemed to think he does have hip dysplasia...and said the conservative tx would be crate rest x 7-10d, Rimadyl and methocarbamol (til the spasm subsides)----same whether we xrayed or not. We opted to start the conservative tx, without the xrays til we think about what the options are.

 

Sol was a rescued pup from a shelter at about 4 mos...could have been BC/Lab mix by his looks at the time...but as he has matured, he frankly looks like a Lab/Pointer mix. He is 12 mos old, about 50 lbs, built like a short/smallish Lab. My son (Sol is "his" dog) is heartbroken. Sol joined us when our old guy passed on at 14 and a half...our old guy was essentially paraplegic from spinal stenosis...we all hate to see a dog so young SO debilitated.

 

Has anyone here had a very young dog with disability from HD? Has anyone here opted for surgical tx of hip dysplasia? If so, what kind of surgery? Any luck with glucosamine? Long term Rimadyl? Any thoughts for making the crate rest easier on Sol? (We have thought about doing an upstairs and downstairs crate so he can be where the action is in the household, but we have long, steep steps, and we don't want him doing anything yet...)

 

Any thoughts appreciated.

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Seems you need to get a more solid diagnosis before you can decide the best treatment options. Spring for the x-ray and then make an appointment with a canine othropedic specialist.

 

 

Or, if you're going to go to an ortho surgeon, let them do the x-rays or at least check to make sure that they'll be happy with you bringing in xrays and not want to redo them anyway.

 

Kathy/Iowa

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I agree go ahead and have the xrays done. It could be the hip, the knee, etc... you don't really know the actual problem so you can't really decide on treatment. I would also see an ortho vet.

 

For crate rest, give stuffed kongs, etc... things to keep them occupied to relieve boredom.

 

If there is hip dysplasia you can start water therapy to build the muscles while being low impact but you need to have the vets tell you if this is appropriate for your dog.

 

Until you know the real problem you can't know how to handle it.

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First advice is to get the x-rays so you know what you are dealing with. It would make more sense to have a real diagnosis before thinking about what possible treatments to pursue other than the obvious (like limiting activity, no jumping, supplements).

 

I would also ask the vet about Adequan. It has been a miracle for Solo -- he went from heavy limping to just stiff after about three weeks of the loading dose. He has one very bad hip (mucho arthritis) and one very good one. Solo's right thigh, on his bad side, is considerably less muscled than his left, indicating that he relies mostly on his left hind to get around although he gives the impression of using both legs. One of the things I like about Adequan is that it not only treats but preserves joint function, so I am supporting his good hip by giving it to him. Since he only has one good hip I'd like for it to stay good!

 

Some people are turned off by the cost of Adequan (for Solo it is $45/month) but seriously, it makes such an enormous difference that I would feel like (and frankly, be) a cheap, cruel bitch if I weren't giving it to him. If you can afford Starbucks once in a while, you can certainly afford Adequan. Solo gets 1.25cc injected subcu (at home, by me) once a week, but dosage can vary. Initially, you will be giving it approximately twice as often (loading dose) as you will end up giving it (maintenance dose). IF you can get a vet to prescribe you the horse version instead of the dog version it can be much cheaper (unfortunately I do not have a large animal vet). I am not positive that the horse version is the same as the dog version, but I know people who use the horse version on dogs with good results.

 

The orthopedist Solo saw is young and up-to-date but conservative, and prefers non-surgical interventions when possible, so we tried the Adequan first. Solo is stiff, and doesn't get around like he used to, but he is perfectly functional and can work sheep (although he cannot catch them if they really decide to run), play at agility (just noodling around a couple of times a week, nothing strenuous, no or very low jumps only), and play ball (no jumping catches). When I exercise him I try to keep him mostly at a pace such that one foot is on the ground at all times as much as possible. I VERY occasionally take him rollerblading if we are not going very far -- I am talking maybe once a month at the most -- because he enjoys it, and it has never caused him problems. He is only allowed to trot, not run when we do this. The best exercise for Solo is long leash walks and hikes, so I try to do that as often as possible. He hates swimming, otherwise I'd swim him often. That would be optimal. I exercise him more than most (OK, all) veterinarians would advise but it is a quality of life thing. Solo enjoys activity. I just try to keep it low-impact.

 

Solo is nine years old, and will probably never have surgery unless he deteriorates considerably, which he should not. If he did need surgery, the vet suggested ablating the nerves that run to the hip joint, which does not fix the problem but eliminates the pain, which for an older dog is pretty much the same thing as fixing the problem. This eliminates only the feeling in the joint itself, not to the muscles surrounding the hip, so function is not impaired. Beyond this I would probably opt for total hip replacement, which usually seems to have a very positive outcome. From what I have seen, FHO seems to work well in young, well muscled dogs, but be more difficult for older less active dogs because they do not have as much soft tissue support at the hip. That said, I have not seen THAT many dogs who have had the procedure and I would defer to those with more experience.

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Thanks for the info...

 

Melanie---thanks for the info about the Adequan. The vet did not mention anything like that at all! What reading I've just done on it---it sure sounds like at least something to try if indicated, after the dx is a bit clearer. The cost doesn't seem prohibitive---the Dr. Foster site sold it at $45 for what would be a 5 dose vial at 1 mg for a 50 lb dog---seems quite reasonable. I am curious about the once a month thing---the info indicated it was a max of 8 dose tx....it did not say anything (or I missed it) about maintenance...is that once/mo a usual treatment?

 

Alaska--great link, thank you!

 

I called the vet college at OSU and spoke with one of their vet techs in the orthopedic clinic. She felt that a consult would be in order...and very kindly gave me the name of an OSU-associated board certified ortho vet down here, rather than driving the 100 miles north. (And she agreed that the orthos prefer to get their own imaging.) She added that they could see Sol in mid-Sept if still needed, or that we could fast-track by going thru their ER if needed.

 

I think we'll get Sollers into the ortho guy.

 

Thanks for the input...kind of tough seeing a young, otherwise healthy, dog so debilitated. :rolleyes:

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Sorry to be unclear. Solo gets 1.25cc once a week, so the 5cc vial lasts for four weeks at $45 a vial. Initially I was giving him 1.25cc twice a week. I was advised to start with a loading dose and then start tapering off when his symptoms ameliorated. So he got 1.25cc twice a week until he stopped limping, and then I went to once a week. You can keep tapering the dose down (every 1.5 weeks, every 2 weeks) to see what works for your dog. I know some people get away with only giving it once every couple of weeks, but when I gave it to him that seldom he started seeming very stiff (not limping) and having trouble with stairs. Once a week seems to work for Solo.

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Any luck with glucosamine?
Now that we have NO more Rimadyl in the house (OD nightmare) Ceana gets Glucosamine and it seems to help. She is at least still semi- jumping without the rimadyl but with the glucosamine. Ceana has not been diagnosed with HD, she hasn't really been diagnosed with anything except that there is definetly pain in her hips and that area. I am not sure how much it would help with full blown HD (if that is what it winds up being).

 

Any thoughts for making the crate rest easier on Sol?
Ceana was cujo in her crate and we and the vet believe it was an association with pain & the crate. To counter act this when we are at work her crate door stays open, but the crate is in the bathroom and the bathroom door stays closed. This is to allow her a little more room to shift positions and keep herself mobile. She makes no attempts to get out and usually when we leave she runs to her crate and stays in it until the bathroom door is shut out of habit. Since we have been doing this she has really stopped being cujo, unless she is in "bad space," for another reason... ie exercise reaction or swift change in weather.

 

Oh, Ceana is 2. Good luck with your pup, poor pumpkin.

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