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(I am sorry if there is a thread on this elsewhere, but since my internet access is sporadic at best, I thought I would just start a new topic. Please feel free to let me know if this is elsewhere and I will go there. I searched through some of the sites, but couldn't find this specifically.)


My beloved, fluffy Duncan has just been diagnosed with hip dysplasia. He is 8 years old and the light of my life and my heart is breaking, both for the losses he faces/will face and that life can never be the same again.


We just had the second opinion done and it's definite. We meet with the vet on Tuesday to go over our options. So far they've just given us Rimadyl, but after reading a few of the posts I am paranoid about it. He did take Rimadyl a few times in the past when various (running in the woods) injuries occurred. I guess that went okay. Today he doesn't have any limping because we haven't exercised like we normally do.


I have cried and he's clearly puzzled - How come we don't play frisbee, mom? How come we haven't run in the woods?


My partner has built a ramp off our deck so Duncan doesn't have to deal with the stairs anymore and we have reconfigured his dog house - which he's now finally using after years of laying in the snow. It took us awhile to figure out what he wanted.


I am, of course, racked with guilt. I am constantly wondering if I worked him too hard when he was young. If I should have pressed for x-rays when he first had a pulled muscle in his youth, etc. I guess since I had a written health guarantee and knew his bloodlines to be sound, hip dysplasia never crossed my mind. I am just sick about this past summer. I was really working on getting in shape (no more throwing the frisbee while he runs - I run too now). I worked him hard this summer and now he limps around after a mild session. My poor baby.


Sorry to sound so self-pitying, but this is a crushing blow to both of us and I needed somewhere to vent where people would understand.


I guess I am just wondering if you have any tips or suggestions? Duncan is in good health otherwise. He is a tiny smidge underweight and has been thin his whole life (excecpt for a six month period when I became extremely ill and then was maybe a few pounds overweight). He is boisterous and fun loving and knows over 100 words and phrases and is by my side every minute I am home. (except during vacuuming :rolleyes:


(I will try to respond to posts as often as I can, but it may seem sporadic - I am not ignoring anyone



Any hope?

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Hi Jennifer

I'm sorry to hear that you got unhappy news about Duncan's hips. Dysplasia is a failure of an organ or structure to form normally, and though you CAN increase the liklihood of this happening by overfeeding a puppy, if Duncan has been "thin" or lean his whole life, that seems unlikely to have happened in your hands. I'll point out that the predisposition towards dysplasia has to be there FIRST, before the overfeeding, in order for you to worsen it by feeding for rapid growth (this is more common in large and giant breed dogs, where the owner wants the dog to get huge, or in cases where the owner doesn't know how much a pup should be fed or how to recognise a fat puppy). So please don't feel guilty about this - it's very unlikely that you caused it or contributed to it in any significant way. Life causes wear and tear. By keeping him fit and active, you may have done a great deal more good than harm, because not only are his heart and lungs in better shape from that (and therefore all his organs as a result of good circulation), but his muscles and tendons and ligaments have been kept strong, so that they do more of the work and the joint itself does less. Apart from which, he weighs less than if he were kept plump, so each joint has less work to do. So in that sense you've probably bettered his picture, not worsened it, and this isn't even taking into consideration the markedly increased quality of life he will have had psychologically as an active dog than an inactive one. He may not be up to doing everything he used to, or maybe not as much of it, but he probably isn't ready for a wheelchair yet. I bet he can still be active, though perhaps in different ways or in lesser amounts.


If the hip is dysplastic, the abnormal shape causes wear on the joint and over time arthritis develops. I've seen Xrays where changes were minimal and the animal was severely lame, and others where the changes were extreme and the dog showed almost no lameness, as well as everything in between... so use Duncan's signs to tell you how much he is troubled by this (or not).


There are some nutritional supplements you can use to improve his comfort and actually improve the quality of the joint in many cases... glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin E and other antioxidant vitamins can all help in this regard. Some animals will show some improvement within 2 weeks, others not for about 2 months, and the amount of improvement varies depending on what exactly is going on in the joint. Most animals get their maximum improvement in about 2 months and then plateau. One caveat - not all products are of equal quality, so use a good one (some people prefer to get Adequan injections, which is a sort of injectable equivalent to some of the oral products).


Rimadyl is not inherantly evil. There are dogs that don't do well on it, and every medication has side effects. This is indiusputably true, for this drug and every other drug in existance. I am not a proponent of Rimadyl *per se* - though I have used it a GREAT many times with very good results. I have patients on it who have been taking it daily literally for years without any problems. I have had a few who vomited it, and a few who had liver problems with it and had to have it withdrawn - but those animals have been very few indeed. Some of my patients would not now be alive if it weren't for Rimadyl, because we would have euthanised them due to unremitting pain. BUT - there are other pain control medications out there, if Rimadyl scares you. I would advise baseline blood work to be done before beginning on any course of pain control, and appropriate monitoring while they are on it. I would also advise using the least amount of medication that is necessary to control the pain. And, if you find that Duncan needs it mainly in response to certain events - cold weather, excersise of a particular type or duration - you can give it BEFORE the event to get better effect - it's easier to prevent pain than it is to suppress it once it's occurred. So this would potentially decrease the amount he'd need to be comfortable.


We had a sort of Rimadyl discussion on the boards here a little while ago, and I promised to poll my pals in the profession and see if anyone had had a really bad time with it. So far, from three clinics reporting in, no one has had any of the "sudden death" things that have been reported here and elsewhere - though I'm not disputing the reports (I have found the posters to be intelligent and astute, so I'm sure they are reporting honestly); as I say, any dog can have any reaction to any medication. What I do mean to say is that it isn't common, in my experience, and if your dog has been on the medication without trouble before and you do appropriate monitoring, you minimize the chances of things going wrong.


Best case scenario would be that using nutritional supplements would allow you to wean him off the pain meds in a month or two, or keep them to minimal levels at least for a while. If not, then try using the meds as needed. For humane reasons, he shouldn't have to be in pain; but also, pain causes changes in the body that stress the other organs, delay healing, and shorten life (even if it weren't for the fact that most owners will euthanise before they'll let their animals suffer). So, if pain meds are indicated, you may actually extend life by judicious use.


Ask your vet if they have other medications for pain (like Methoxicam, Eto-gesic, etc) if Rimadyl scares you. Aspirin isn't great for long-term use since in dogs it can cause cartilage erosion and might accelerate the arthritic condition (also it isn't the best pain killer out there). You probably already know NOT to give Tylenol or Ibuprofin or anything else your vet hasn't gven you the okay on.


As a last note, there are surgical options (total hip replacement, femoral head osteotomy, etc) but these are not for every animal or owner, so that has to be evaluated on a per-case basis. Best advice on that might come from a surgical specialist.


Good luck with that; sorry this is so long, and hope I haven't stepped on any toes about the Rimadly thing. Let me know if I didn't answer the question clearly.

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AK dog doc's post is excellent, as usual, and I certainly can't add anything to it from a medical standpoint. But here's another consideration.


I have arthritis in my knees. It's mild-to-moderately painful most of the time. If pain were the only consideration, I certainly would be crazy to be training young dogs, with all the bizarre footwork involved (not to mention the crunch when an enthusiastic youngster pushes the sheep into me). But y'know, pain isn't the only consideration for me -- I actively enjoy working with the dogs, and I'm willing to pay the price of a little pain to do it. Maybe Duncan feels the same way?


Duncan will probably be slowing down somewhat at his age--if not now, then soon--and you certainly wouldn't want to push him to be more physically active than he wants to be. But at the same time, I wouldn't want to deprive him of all exercise either. Walking, trotting, and running is something he probably enjoys, and as AK dog doc pointed out, maintaining good pelvic muscle mass helps to hold the hip joint in place. I think most of us humans have to deal with aches and pains as we get older, and we have to find the trade-off between aggravating them, and giving giving up the things we enjoy that aggravate them, that seems right to each of us. If I were in your shoes, I would be trying to find the best trade-off rather than trying to eliminate all activity that might cause pain. And you may find that cutting back just some of his activity will be enough to make the limping disappear.


AK dog doc, if you disagree with this, please say so. It's very much a lay point of view.

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Nope, I agree completely, and very well put, as always, Eileen! That's what I was getting at (maybe too obliquely) when I said I didn't think Duncan was ready for a wheelchair just yet, and that modifying the amount of activity and/or the type might be enough to keep him active without really racking him up completely. Could be frisbee is still on the table for him - maybe just LESS frisbee, or throwing it lower to the ground so he doesn't have to jump for it, or slower so he doesn't have to work as hard. And as Eileen points out, the joy in things may be important enough that it's worth it from Duncan's point of view to keep at it. If that means he takes some supplements or some pain meds, that's probably not the worst thing that can happen to him. If we prolong the useful life of his joints at the expense of his happiness, are we really doing the best thing for him? I think there has to be a happy medium - where we maximize BOTH the useful life of his joints (and his comfort), AND his joy in life. Sometimes that balance point is hard to find ahead of time, in anticipation of future pain - but I think it exists, and Duncan will help show you where it is.


JMHO, of course... but I don't think Duncan has reached the end of his row just yet.

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This isn't really about dysplasia, but it came to mind in the subsequent doc/Eileen discussion, and I'm just curious.


How long (as in, lifetime) is it reasonable to expect a border collie to be "active?"


Obviously this will vary tremendously with all sorts of things - genetic disposition, early life health and weight, injuries, "stoic-ness" in the face of all sorts of things, etc.


I've seen one border collie doing agility at age 13 that looked like she might have been 6 or 7. I've seen another (who I know did lots of work very early in her life) at 13 could just get around OK, but deaf, cloudy eyes, etc. Don't know ANY details on either of these particular dogs (as mentioned above). I'm sure there are lots in between too.


For the record, mine is now 7.5 yrs. old. Came to me at age 3.5, and has pretty much been healthy (except for one undiagnosable soft tissue injury, which took way too long to heal!) and a reasonable weight. I haven't even considered putting her in the "veterans" categories for agility - but just wondering when SHE might realize she's officially an "oldster!"



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Thank you so much for your responses.


I spoke briefly with the vet today and sadly, he indicated that Duncan's hips are severely bad. On the good side, Duncan doesn't seem to be in pain everyday and in fact we haven't even started the Rimadyl yet. I meet with the vet tomorrow night.


Thank you AK dog doc - I hadn't considered that by keeping him in shape all these years that maybe helped him to feel better now. I am very interested in the nutritional supplements. Do you have any brand recommendations or know how to connect me to them? I live in rural Iowa (about 70 miles in any direction from a big city - with big defined as 50,000 or so), so it's not easy for me to go to my 'local' canine health food store - as there isn't one. However, these things can be ordered online. Any thoughts?


Specifically I am interested in the Omega 3 fatty acids. My father has done a lot of (personal) research on these and has been taking them with good effect - is there a dog version?


Thanks for the information about Rimadyl. He has taken it before so hopefully we can use that as needed.


I really appreciate your long post - it's very helpful to have lots of information. Needless to say I have had a crash course in hip dysplasia since last Tuesday and so I appreciate info.


Also thanks to Eileen Stein - I liked your thoughts as well. Given the option Duncan will continue working and then only limp when done. I have always had to just limit how much he works - a Border Collie trait, I believe. However, it's good to consider the enjoyment he derives may outweigh mild pain for him.


I didn't mean to imply by my original post that I have eliminated all exercise from his life. We are walking on the leash and I do let him run somewhat outside. (and of course we have about 100 indoor games we play - even with his frisbee)


The difficulty is that when I am outside working he normally ran full tilt around the yard and I would throw the frisbee or kick his soccer ball while I worked. Now he still wants to run while I work and I don't know how to explain to him to slow down! He seems to have two speeds - full steam ahead or laying down.


I am curious about Diane Allen's question as well. When I purchased Duncan I met his sire/dam and several aunts/uncles. One uncle was 11 years old and still working sheep. I believe Duncan also had grandparents that lived to 16 or so and had to be just about forced into retirement. I am hoping that we have many more years together and I will gladly adjust to what he needs, but I am curious as to what his lifespan will be with reduced exercise and meds due to hip dysplasia - and what would have been had he been fine???


Thanks to all.

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Hi Jennifer,




Yes, but he's saying that based on how they looked on x-ray. Bear in mind what AK dog doc said:


"I've seen Xrays where changes were minimal and the animal was severely lame, and others where the changes were extreme and the dog showed almost no lameness, as well as everything in between... so use Duncan's signs to tell you how much he is troubled by this (or not)."


I would definitely second that from my more limited experience. The correlation between how the hips look on x-ray and what symptoms the dog experiences seems to be much less than I would have thought. So the fact that Duncan's x-rays show severe dysplasia doesn't necessarily mean that he will show severe symptoms.

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My 7 year old Red Dog has CHD, and it's pretty bad. It has gotten progressively worse, but not drastically so.


He still plays ball twice a day and goes for off leash runs and he seems to be doing just fine. About a year and a half ago I noticed he was limping a lot and having trouble with stairs, which is when I started supplementing him with Salmon Oil, Vitamin E, MSM and Vitamin C. I had him on the Gluc./Chondr. with no effect, as he has been off them for months and nothing has changed.


He no longer has problems with the stairs and he is very active. He doesn't do agility anymore, of course. I think he's doing okay now and unlike last year he isn't limping or appearing stiff when he gets up. He does pace himself though, and has rest breaks when we are playing ball ... but all my dogs do that anyway, as it's something I taught them all from a young age.


I am not ready to put him on anything like Metacam until he gets a lot worse, because for now the supplements seem to be doing their job.


One thing we do is swim, a lot. In the summer they swim every morning as their exercise, and that's been great - sometimes twice a day even. He doesn't swim now as it's too cold, but the swimming is a great, impact free form of exercise for him.


I'm perhaps not being very helpful, just sharing my experiences. I know Red Dog might not be able to go as long or as far as my other dogs, but right now he's motoring along pretty well. I keep him lean and I keep him muscled, and this seems to help a lot.



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As an owner of a HD dog as well I can give you some tips -


Exercise, exercise, exercise! Keep the weight down (folks will say you starve your dog!) and the muscle tone up. Keep him off cement. Lots of swimming is great!


If he wants to run, let him run - just don't push him to run. If he's telling you he wants to run, then the pain may not be too bad or he's willing to deal with it. Of course, don't let him run wild for hours...but allow him the joy of running free and crazy for a bit. He's a dog! The only thing we've restricted on Buddy is the unecessary jumping. We've got him on supplements and he's fine, fine. Somedays a little slow to get up. But we swim and run and have a grand time.


I 2nd and 3rd the importance of muscle tone. Think of it like a giant rubber band that's holding that hip in place. The better the muscle tone the better chance he's got.


I'm curious, did you have the x-rays looked at by OFA or PENN? It may be worth while to get another opinion from those that do just that - look for HD. And it's always good to add the results to the pool for the breed. I'd suggest going to OFA.


Good luck - it's NOT the end of the world, though you may think that. I did too. But with exercise, love, supplements and no fat he will probably do pretty good.



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Originally posted by diane allen:

This isn't really about dysplasia, but it came to mind in the subsequent doc/Eileen discussion, and I'm just curious.


How long (as in, lifetime) is it reasonable to expect a border collie to be "active?"


My old BC/Lab/Staffie cross, Scampi, (I never pass up a chance to talk about him )was pretty active (though almost deaf) when I got him at 13. At 14 he was completely deaf & losing his sight - he gradually lost interest in doing anything except ambling after scent trails, which got progressively slower & slower. By the time he turned 17 I was having to carry him to the park. He couldn't stay on his feet long enough to walk there & still have fun when he got there. (But he was still having fun. And the park isn't very far.)


His hips were fine but he did get very arthritic after age 15 or so. I gave him cod-liver oil capsules every day - I don't know how effective they might have been but he liked the taste. I noticed a slight improvement when I added dried nettles to his food (meant to be good for inflammation) but daily Metacam for his last three years really kept him going.


Jennifer - good luck with Duncan. I agree with what Doc said - let him tell you how to deal with it. Am praying for many years of quality life for both of you.



Liz & Spike xxx


& Scampi (Nov '85 - March '03) in spirit

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As for products - the ones I use that I know work are Cosequin (the glucosamine/chondroitin supplement - Nutramax Labs, Edgewood, MD., www.cosequin.com), something called Synovi-G3, which is a sprinkly thing you put on the food (my dogs love it, though none has hip disease... am using it for the Omega FA's and antioxidant vitamins primarily at this stage) - DVM Pharmaceuticals (IVAX Corp, Miami, FL, www.dvmpharmaceuticals.com). You can also use fish oils or any human-approved omega 3 fatty acid supplement - the omega 3's are more anti-inflammatory than the omega 6's, which are also often found in fish oil products, so concentrate on the 3's for anti-inflammatory effects. There are other good products on the market, though, not jsut the ones I mentioned.


As for life span... the usual thing we see is that mid-sized dogs like BC's often tend on average to go 10 to 12 years - BUT (and this is a big "but") certain breeds are longer-lived than others amongst similar-sized breeds, and all dogs are individuals, AND dogs kept fit and active and who are well-cared-for live longer than expected as a general rule. (It isn't unheard of for us to see working huskies - who are of similar size to many BC's or slightly larger - go 13 to 15 years, and I've put down ones who were 17 and just then starting to fail for various reasons.) So, if Duncan's other health is good, his comfort is reasonable, and he's happy, I don't see any reason why this alone should shorten his life by much, if at all. It's impossible to say what might have been if he'd had good hips... I once had a dog who got cancer at 10 and after surgery and radiation lived another 4 years (an excellent outcome). Fourteen years is a long time for any dog, even a little 20# mutt such as her. Would she have lived longer without ever having had cancer? Maybe. Would she have lived longer if I'd not done the radiation? possibly, but probably not. It's impossible to say. What I CAN say for sure was that the last 4 years were by far the highest quality of her life. I suddenly knew I didn't have forever with her; everything that we were going to do "one day" we did TODAY. We had the time of our lives. She went practically everywhere with me, we went hiking at least once a day (sometimes twice), we played, we sat by my irrigation ditch drinking coffee and watching the ducks and muskrats play in the water, we stared at the fire together, we sat on the couch and gazed into each other's eyes, we visited friends, generally had a high old time, and we loved every minute of it. To the greatest extent that I could, I made her life a garden for those last 4 years. In that sense I'm actually deeply grateful that she got cancer, because it made me AWARE of every moment I spent with her, made me present with her in ways I doubt I would have been without the sharp and certain knowledge that we did not have forever. So that would be a silver lining to a very dark cloud - but it was worth more than gold to me. She still saw me all the way through vet school and part of internship, bless her pointy and courageous little heart. Your situation is less dire - but maybe it can repay you in a similar way.


Anyway, JMHO.

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Well said, as usual, AK Dog Doc, and Eileen. It?s true that the dog is body and mind (or soul?) and especially for such physically and mentally lively dogs as our lovely breed, that balance between enjoyment of life and trying to keep the body going a bit longer is important.


On the active age thing that Diane raised ? my previous Border Collie, Sam, was enthusiastically (if not successfully) competing regularly in the Utility obedience ring, and in Tracking, and also occasionally in Agility/Jumping until he died suddenly of acute immune-mediated hemolytic anemia at age 12 and a half. He had always been kept pretty fit and active, and was jumping regularly. When I put him in a jumping competition at over age 12 ? just for fun ? he was so excited he couldn?t wait to get going, and in spite of us getting disqualified for 3 refusals at one hurdle (my fault, I didn?t line him up with enough room) we were still under course time as we finished the course. And Sam had the greatest grin on his face. My old Kelpie/Border Collie cross went to 15 and a half ? but with arthritis for the last four or five years. She would still enjoy long walks until the last half year or so ? and even then enjoyed her very slow ambles along the dog beach or at dog club. Her problems may have stemmed partly from an injury playing cricket with friends? sons - looking back, would I have protected her from injury by not playing cricket? No ? the enjoyment she got from that was a huge part of her life, and she could equally have sustained a similar injury running round with Sam.


We can wrap our dogs up in cotton wool, or we can, within limits of safety as far as possible, let them enjoy challenges and fun activities with us.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who have contributed to my better understanding and coping with this. It's so nice to hear from a wide variety of places and perspectives (and to know that many people feel like I do - he's my "son" and deserves the best life possible).


Just to update:

We met with our vet last night. The prognosis is mediocre, but there's lots of hope. His hips are in the middle between medium and awful, progressing towards not good. He doesn't have much arthritis or bone spurs (yet), but his hips are clearly weakening. We had a lengthy review of the x-rays last night and we could clearly see the hip dysplasia. He has now started on glucosamine. He had an injection last week that should last about three more weeks (for pain and inflammation) and then we start him on a medication called Adequan. Most of these are fairly pricey, but since I consider him to be my little son, he's worth it to me. I will just make cutbacks. And it is cheaper than the hip replacement surgery!


We may opt for some salvage surgery at some point on him, but nothing too drastically expensive and with a lot of TLC I am hoping he won't need it. But this is for the future.


I am also going to look carefully at alternative treatments. There is a local pet massage person and she also does Healing Touch and (as I learned last night) Reiki. There is a pet acupuncturist in a city about 70 miles away and there are a lot of nutritional and herbal options as well.


Thank you again AK dog doc for your useful information and to everyone's thoughts and ideas.


It's hard for me to deal with this as I was so hoping to have a dog that aged well. I had a hard time with my (rough coated) collie who was ill the last three years of her life and required a lot of nursing. I did it, but I was really hoping this time around that I would have an easier time with Duncan's geriatric years. Ah well.


A note to AK Dog doc - I already do spend special time with Duncan like you wrote about. I learned my lesson with my collie - the only way I can bear losing the furry babies in my life is if I never, ever take them for granted. But thank you for reminding me that there's still plenty to do with him.


This morning he ran gaily around the yard (we have about two acres) before trotting into his dog pen. He has plenty of energy and good spirits, so we plan on many fun things in the years to come.


Again, I am really glad I found these boards and will continue to post on (hopefully) happier topics. Thanks to all.

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If you haven't read the "joint stiffness" thread, you should--you might get some more insight and information regarding caring for your dysplastic dog.


You didn't say whether you were taking your dog to the vet for Adequan injections or doing it yourself, but if it's the former and you think you would feel comfortable giving the injections yourself, then ask your vet to show you how and then you will just have to pay for the vial of Adequan and the syringes/needles but at least will save the time required and additional $$ on an office visit.


I make this suggestion because when I asked my vet about giving Jill Adequan he told me that he was a big fan of the stuff, but that he didn't prescribe it as often as he might because many of his clients are unable to (or uncomfortable) giving injections and yet he had to be mindful of the costs associated with having them come in for the injections. He was more than happy to show me how to give the injections myself. He even gave me a prescription so I could order it elsewhere if I could find it cheaper than they could sell it at the vet practice (turns out by the time I added shipping, the vet's price was lower).


Believe me, I know how costly all this can get! Just today I was at the vet returning Jill's X-rays and picking up meds and a young lady was there applying for a job. Seems they have an opening for a receptionist. One of the current receptionists suggested that I apply and I responded that I doubted the salary would support my lifestyle. Her reply: "Well you'd save 50% on your vet bills, so maybe it would!" That should tell you something about my vet bills....



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I like that story, Julie. The receptionist at my vet when I went in for antibiotics for my geriatric cat a month or so ago asked if I wanted a receipt ? I told her no thanks, I was better off not knowing how much I was spending on the animals. She laughed and said if I wanted to, their computer system could tell how much I?d spent there on the animals since they put the system in some years ago. Yeeek ? what a scary thought.


Jennifer, like you, my animals are my ?children?, so I know where you?re coming from. You may find you have many good years with Duncan, especially since you?ve given him such a good start by keeping him lean and by having good muscle tone and strength already.

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At what age can you start a dog on the supplements

to help prevent or ease the pain of hip dysplasia?

I have a four month old puppy, that I believe is probably dysplastic. I am having him xrayed at six months, but would like to get a jump on the problem if possible.



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I'm sorry to hear about your dog. My pup (six months old) has also just been diagnosed with hip dysplasia. One procedure I am considering is Gold Bead Implants. Gold Bead Implants I know several people that have had it done and they are very happy with it. It's much less expensive than the total hip replacement. If you call Dr. Durkes' office, he'll get on the phone with you and explain the whole procedure. He can also (probably) refer you to someone in your area that does it.


Jodi M.

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An eight-year-old dog with some arthritic changes is not allthat unusual. Some go much longer than that, others much less, with or without CHD.


Eileen's advice about balancing a willingness to tolerate pain in order to have a life worth living is dead on the money. Just remember that you're the one with the big brain, and try to keep him safe.


The diagnosis of CHD is not a death sentence -- far from it. It's just an explanation of the source of the pain you've probably been noticing in your dog for a while. I have an 11-year-old dog who has some arthritis in her shoulders, but she still works within certain limits, using her brain more than her body.

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What do you consider appropriate dosages of the relevant supplements, for treatment or for maintenance?


Currently Solo is getting 1500 mg of fish oil (well, 2000 mg one day and 1000 the next), 400 IU vitamin E, 500 mg vitamin C, 5 mg manganese, 750 mg glucosamine, and 600 mg chondroitin per day. (Boy, that looks pretty crazy when I type it all out.) Soon I will add MSM. I am thinking of starting Fly on these supplements as well, just as an insurance policy as long as they can't hurt -- if I'm grinding up tablets for Solo's food I may as well do some for Fly too.


Does that look about right to you?

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Okay - as a maintainance (as in you've had the dog on for 6 or more weeks, or you're doing it in a dog who has no damage yet, and you're supplementing to help keep it that way), a 25 to 50 pound dog could have 500 to 750 mg glucomsamine, 400 to 600 mg chondroitin, 400 to 500 mg MSM, 5 mg manganese, 25 to 50 mg vitamin C, and 100 to 400 mg vitamin E. Both vitamin C and vitamin E are very low toxicity so if the vitamin C doesn't upset his stomach, I don't see a problem with the amount you're giving. Dogs can make their own vitamin C, but since it's water-soluble it won't accumulate in the body, and if he does well on it, you're fine. Vitamin E is fat-soluble, so it doesn't wash out so fast, but again - very low toxicity (not like vitamin A, for instance). Occasionally, for specific disease states, I'll give greater amounts (with caution).


If you're starting supplementation on a dog who does already have wear and tear in the joints, you generally start at a higher level - increase the above dosages by 50 to 100%, except for the vitamin C - for about 6 to 8 weeks, then taper back. Every dog is different, though, so I tend to titrate to the level that does well for that dog, within certain guidelines. (You CAN give too much of a good thing.)

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Thanks very much for the info. I can split the C tablets, that's no problem. Solo's stomach is cast iron, but there's no point in wasting vitamin C!


I just got a pure MSM supplement in the mail from Jeffers that's intended for horses, dogs, and cats. It's "99.9%" pure and the package suggests 1/8 tsp per day for a 30 pound dog.


My kitchen's starting to look like a pharmacy.


Thanks again!

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