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Hi Guys,


I like the topics here about border collies. Let me tell you about my border collieX. He is 7 yrs old and a problem has really devoloped. At first I thought it was stiffness, but now I think it's more. He finds it hard to get up after lying down and unless he's running up the stairs it's a chore for him to get up them. Do you guys have any advice on medicine that could help, or what may be causing this. I sometimes think if there was some way to develop muscle in those hind legs it might help. This is another problem, recently I have put him on Brohmide for seizures which seems to be working. Thanks for the help guys. One more thing i think he was abused i got him from an animal shelter when he was 7 months old and at one time you couldn't even touch his rear end without being jumpy. Now he's fine though. I just think it might be a reacurring injury from abuse.



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Hi Luckyborder

I can't see your dog from here, so always rely more on what the vet who CAN see him has to say, but it does sound to me like he may have hip arthritis (which is the late-stage consequence of hip dysplasia). Typical signs are being stiff on first rising but warming out of it, having trouble on stairs or getting up on a couch or into a vehicle, lameness, and muscle atrophy over the hind end. Signs are usually progressive over time, but may wax and wane as they gradually worsen, and many dogs are worse in cold weather. Since you say you think that building up the muscles in the hind end might help, I'm going to guess that he's had some loss of the muscle there, which arthritic dogs typically get - the back end hurts, so they lean harder on the front and make it do more of the work, and the decreased use of the muscles of the hind legs causes atrophy. At the same time, they usually get some pretty big shoulders on them.


I wonder if the thing about not being touched on the hind end in puppyhood might mean, not that he was abused, but that his hips troubled him then, too; if they were developing abnormally, they may have been painful then. Some dogs will develop some degree of improvement so long as the skeleton is still growing (though this is likely to be slight); others just adjust to the fact that the hips always hurt some, but it's just daily life to them. It is, of course, possible that he has bad hips as a consequence of abuse, but it's actually FAR more common to be developmental... it generally takes damage on the order of being hit by a car or falling off a high deck to cause that kind of long-term problem.


I'd suggest getting the hips Xrayed to confirm this possibilty (these are often done under anesthesia) and if he is dysplastic and arthritic, discuss options with your vet. There are some surgical options, and some medical ones; in view of the fact that your dog has seizures and is on an anticonvulsant, you'll need to be more selective about what things you do for pain, and here you need your vet's advice. There are some nutritional supplements which have some ability to improve things (these are often called "nutraceuticals" - nutritional supplements with phamaceutical effects.) These take some time to kick in - since they work by repairing tissue, and that takes time - so it's possible you may need to have him on some short-term pain control until then.


Good luck with this and I hope he feels better.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Probably the best exercise for a dog with bad hips is swimming--you can build muscles in the rear end with non-weight-bearing exercise. See if you can find a place to swim your dog, though it would be best to have a vet check first to make sure it's suitable exercise for your dog's particular situation.



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I've got a 7.5 year old border collie with CHD as well. I can definitely echo Julie's advice about swimming - my dogs swim in the ocean virutally every morning, which is great exercise for them all, but particularly good for Red Dog's hips. When we do play ball, we always try to find nice spongy grassy areas to do that on so that he's not doing too much hard impact activity.


He is still going strong after all these years, although he does have trouble with the stairs, especially if we have not been active for a day or so. I find keeping him lean and well muscled helps a lot. He is on MSM and Green Lipped Muscle, and I make sure to offer lots of calcium, vitamin C and fish oil to keep everything in tip top shape.


We opted not to go for surgery with him for a variety of reasons. My goal is to keep him as pain free as possible for as long as possible before I consider an arthritis drug. I also have a hip dysplasia, so he and I manage it together I have taught him to rest when he is tired - I taught all my dogs that, so they have frequent lie downs when playing and don't over extend themselves. I will definitely need to move somewhere with fewer stairs in the near future, but on the whole I have to say that Red Dog is still doing okay, and he still "herds" (and I do use that term loosely) his beloved sheep and he still plays in agility (at Veterans level, so his jumps are practically non existant, and few contact obstacles). Not bad for a grumpy old geezer with bad pins!



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