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HD diagnosis


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Unfortunately, after x rays taken yesterday, my youngest boy Shadow has been diagnosed with quite severe hip dysplacia. He will turn two years old in April. He has very shallow malformed hip sockets, and malformed ball joints which are already showing signs of bony changes.


The vet has placed him on 300mg of gabapentin twice daily, and a 7 day course of carprieve. We have also completed week two of an initial 4 week cartrophen injection course, which will go to 3 monthly after that.


I know I need to keep weight off of him, gentle exercise, joint supplements to keep him comfortable.


The vet recommended trying medical management first before surgery. Femoral head excision is one option, but they do not recommend it because they said at his size, the callus that would form would not be robust enough. Would likely need to be two complete hip replacements, which would be very expensive and probably involve around 500 kms of travel (over 300 miles) one way to reach someone qualified to do the operation.


There is no hydrotherapy available anywhere near where I live, although a beach is in fairly easy reach.


Any tips on the best way to exercise Shadow? We have never done frisbee, ball chasing etc with him - exercise till now has been chasing our other dogs around a baseball diamond, where he can stop and rest whenever he wants, for around 15 to 20 minutes 4 to 5 times a week.


Is it worth learning massage for him?


Any experience with joint supplements?


I am grateful for any and all advice.


I tried to attach a photo but for some reason it wouldn't let me.

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So sorry to hear about this diagnosis in such a young dog.


Will Adequan injections help support joint health?


As you have said, keeping him at a healthy weight is important. Also learn how to do exercises that will help the surrounding muscles stay strong and support the joint. Do you have access to a rehab vet?

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I'm sorry about the diagnosis for your boy. I've also been told that surgeons are reluctant to do a complete hip replacement on a really young dog as they will "wear out" the replacement as people do and they will need it redone.

Where I work we do Adequan injections. They help some dogs but not all dogs, but, they won't hurt. There is also a product called Movoflex. Its main ingredients are hyaluronic acid and boswellia so it also won't do him any harm. The salesman came into the veterinary practice where I work and insisted that people will see an improvement in two weeks. My boss thought he was full of crap but she bought a few bottles and we have found it to be true. Most owners see an improvement in their dog within two weeks. I give it to my 11 year old Border.

I friend of mine had a Rottie for 13 years that was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at around a year. He hated water. She did daily, short walks, on leash, on grass with hills to keep muscle tone. She was also very careful with his weight and kept him on the thin side.

I'd check out acupuncture also. It doesn't help all dogs but it might help him.

Good luck

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Something else to consider is working with a rehab pro. My agility dog was diagnosed with mild HD nothing as severe as your poor boy but he was in pain and obvious discomfort. My vets initial reaction was that should cut back his exercise, no more agility etc.

I then started working with a vet/physio but I actually made things worse as he was not used to working with over achieving border collies and their owners as I just did far to much as he had not provided a detailed plan.

I knew there were dogs competing in the US and the UK with HD so I found a vet/physio who worked with us online in conjunction with our local vet/physio and the results were amazing, we have never done hydrotherapy, just simple conditioning exercises.

We now work with a local physio who moved here, he has an appointment once a month for a massage and she adjusts his exercises depending on what she feels he needs. He will be 9 this summer and is still fit, strong and able to train and compete in the sport.

My recommendation is not to go it alone with conditioning exercises, they can make a huge difference but it is very important to do the correct exercises with the right form and the correct number of repetitions.

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Weight control and fitness can go a long way towards helping a dog with HD live a rather enjoyable life. Good muscling can really help stabilize those hips and lack of excess weight reduces stress.


A good therapist should be able to teach you exercises that should be helpful, too.


Very best wishes!

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