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Finally had Tate's hips x-rayed *Results / X-rays Within*


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We adopted Tate when he was 1.5yrs old from a family that couldn't keep him any longer. According to the previous owners he was purchased at a pet store unfortunately. After intense excercise sessions, especially when catching Frisbees, jumping, etc. I would notice he was a little slow to get up but he would be fine a little bit later and didn't think too much of it.

 

Over the past couple of years he began to show more & more signs of having trouble getting up from a resting position in the afternoons so we decided to have him x-rayed. Vet said he has hip dysplasia which we figured so we have him on ~37mg of Carprofen daily to twice daily as needed.

 

The vet discussed referring us to a specialist who can give us more details on FHO & total hip replacement. My wife & I want Tate to have the best life possible so if we were to look at surgery we would most certainly choose total hip replacement.

 

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Would appreciate any feedback on the photos - also would like to hear any of you who have gone the total hip replacement route and how grueling of a recovery it sounds like it might be.

 

Is daily carprofen a sustainable treatment for a dog? We've had his blood tested once after a month of being on it and they say all of the tests came back normal.

 

On carprofen he performs remarkably better than without it and we have identified some areas that we are now limiting him excercise wise.

 

Example: Our backyard has one terrace that is ~4ft high so all of our dogs chase each other around and there are frequent jumps off off and onto this terrace. We've since disallowed Tate from participating unsupervised to make sure that he does not injure himself out there.

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The vet discussed referring us to a specialist who can give us more details on FHO & total hip replacement. My wife & I want Tate to have the best life possible so if we were to look at surgery we would most certainly choose total hip replacement.

 

I'll leave the opinion on the radiographs to the "experts" in this forum, but I am curious about your above statement. It makes me wonder what the vet told you about FHO. I had a dog who had hips much worse than what you're showing us, and we had a double FHO done on her, and while the recovery time was probably about 4 months per hip, she made a full recovery and did great! And our pocketbooks survived.

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I'll leave the opinion on the radiographs to the "experts" in this forum, but I am curious about your above statement. It makes me wonder what the vet told you about FHO. I had a dog who had hips much worse than what you're showing us, and we had a double FHO done on her, and while the recovery time was probably about 4 months per hip, she made a full recovery and did great! And our pocketbooks survived.

 

According to the Vet she mentioned that when an FHO is performed the dog does not have a chance of regaining near 100% range of motion as opposed to a full hip replacement which should get the dog back to near that. With FHO she said the hips won't be as stable as it is relying on the muscles and local tendons to keep that area together and the patients will have a noticeable change in gait etc.

 

I've only read a little bit on it myself but would be curious to hear other's stories.

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Disclaimer: I am not a vet.

 

Here's what I've learned about options for CHD:

 

* there's little correlation between radiographic severity (i.e., how bad the hip X-rays look) and clinical symptoms. Some dogs may present with mild CHD on X-rays but show severe lameness. Conversely, others may show severe CHD on X-rays and yet be asymptomatic.

* keeping weight off helps a HUGE amount. Keep your dog lean. As in, you may think it's skinny because you can feel its ribs. You may have people tell you that your dog is too thin. It's better by far to keep it on the thin side.

* certain activities may trigger problems more than others. Sometimes these are hard to predict. You can limit activities that appear to trigger problems (or gradually ease into them), and your dog will be fine - as long as you don't feel that the limitations affect the quality of your dog's life.

* Exercise that builds muscle mass (without causing trauma to the joints) can stabilize the hips. But it's counterproductive to engage in exercises that cause a dog to exhibit lameness. The dog will favor that limb, leading to muscle atrophy, setting forth a vicious circle. You just have to continually calibrate, re-evaluate, and consider eliminating or severely restricting activities that may be problematic.

* FHO, I've heard, is best for dogs under 40 lb and for dogs who aren't very active. The larger, and the more active the dog, the lower the odds of success.

* THR (total hip replacement) is usually done on one hip - rarely both, and even more rarely both simultaneously. Odds of success are improved if you're TOTALLY scrupulous during the rehab/recovery period. You do NOT want an infection to set in after THR. If THR doesn't work, there are few options remaining. "Scrupulous" will include *no activity* during crucial recovery periods - not even unsupported trips outdoors to potty. The recovery/rehab period is prolonged, and you will spend several hours each day providing the necessary physical therapy. At the same time the dog will be on restricted activities for several months.

* The odds of either surgery's success is improved if there's less muscle atrophy prior to surgery.

* Many ortho vets will work very hard to keep a dog OFF the "surgery list". THR is not a routine surgery even among ortho vets - you'll often encounter someone who travels in once every month or two, even to a large, prestigious ortho practice, to conduct these surgeries. But... FHO is a surgery that many more vets can perform. So, a routine vet will probably offer it, where an ortho vet might recommend that you try nonsurgical options first.

 

Nonsurgical options:

* restriction of certain activities (perhaps playing with other dogs, chasing balls down hills, leaping for frisbees, agility)

* acupuncture (to help control pain - less pain, more willingness to use affected limb, increase in muscle mass that supports limb...)

* pain medications - perhaps just in the morning, perhaps twice a day (depending on dog's pain). Consider supplementing with products to provide liver support (SAM-E, milk thistle); consider administering only the morning dose; consider blood analyses to monitor liver function.

* fish oil supplements - great - but the dosage you mention seems low (I've heard 100 mg/d per ten pounds body weight - CVS brand is best, try to buy a human grade with mercury removed - Liz P, care to weigh in?)

* Adequan: many swear by it. Learn to give the shots yourself. You'll save a bundle. The initial "loading" dosages seem expensive but afterwards it's only $10 or so per month.

* Joint supplements (Cosequin, Dasuquin, what have you) - absolutely.

* Physical therapy. Some forms are better than others. Swimming is good because there's less impact on the joints, but only if your dog is comfortable swimming and doesn't thrash about. Underwater treadmills are fantastic if you have access to one. Here you can vary the water depth (= buoyancy; also amount of resistance to motion, therefore effort required); speed; duration - and it's easy to monitor your dog's gait to see how normal/abnormal it is.

 

My two cents: absolutely consult with the best ortho vet you can find. And consider exploring the nonsurgical options first. You don't say how old your dog is; the age of the dog certainly has an impact. (With very young dogs, a year or so of age, you may not even know which hip is worse until they've fully matured - all puppies are born with normal hips, CHD only develops over time).

 

And if anyone knows of anything I've missed, or wants to correct any misapprehensions I have, I'm all ears!

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