Hip Dysplasia in 8 mth old dog

HoJo9098February 24, 2011

My German Shepherd was diagnosed with moderate to severe hip dysplasia. He is on Rimadyl everyday and I'm giving him glucosamine everyday and he sleeps on a orthopedic bed (which he LOVES). The vet says we can't do anything more until he is full grown. He estimates him to be between 80-90 lbs he is 65 now. He says he will definitely need a full hip replacement - it's not a matter of if he will need it - it's a matter of when. (vets words)

He already seems like he is in so much pain even with the meds. If he gets any exercise small walk or play in yard for a few minutes - he is exhausted and sleeps for hours non stop then cries and has difficulty getting up. He only eats when he really has too which is every other day. When we want to play with him he prefers to do it laying down. (even with other dogs)

I guess my question is - is this fair to him? When he was first diagnosed a week ago I thought he was fine and just going through growing pains but I have really been starting to look at him differently now and wondering is it fair to have him feeling so uncomfortable. When it's time for surgery I don't think we would be able to afford it. (it would be both hips) and how bad would he be then. I just don't know what to think anymore - I'm just shocked that this poor guy has pain at such a young age.

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Has he seen an orthopedic surgeon? I would first visit a specialist and get their opinion before making any decisions. I would also work with the specialist in getting his pain under control since it sounds as tho he's still in too much pain. There are other meds available that he could be on.

I'm no specialist, but from what I've read there is a surgery that can be done while he's still a pup. I suggest you gather as much info as possible and visit the specialist to learn what your options are, for now and in the long run.

Here is a link that might be useful: Some info on dysplasia

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 12:23PM
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HOJO.....Im sorry you are having to deal with these issues. First, go get an orthopedic surgeon anve that vet assess your dog. Second, look into getting a wheelchair for your dog.
Be prepared, none of this is going to be inexpensive.....PS if you got your dog from a breeder, you need to let them know this has happened.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 3:06PM
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I'm so sorry your dog has dysplasia. The posters above have given you great advice. Get an orthopedic surgery consult and ask lots of questions - how best to control the pain, surgical options, estimated costs, etc. Wheelchairs can be really helpful in the right situations. There are also lifting harnesses where you can help him get up and take pressure off his back end during walks.

In the end if he doesn't have a good quality of life (can't control the pain, can't afford surgery, tried everything you possibly can within your means) I feel it is better to put him down instead of letting him suffer.

Again, I'm so sorry, and also sorry for his littermates who are probably going through the same thing.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 10:16PM
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Thank you all for the great advice. I will make an appt with an ortho as soon as possible - the vet suggested but said we should wait until he was full grown but waiting is driving me crazy. So I will look into that now instead.

ANNZ - I think the specialist is def the way to go - I really like my vet but on questions about the HD he always says talk to the ortho people. His only answers are he's "pretty bad" and here is his pain medicine take as needed but in his case the vet says he needs it everyday.
MAZER - we didn't get him from a breeder but a place that sells the whole litter. We contacted them and the NJ law is if your dog has HD you just need a letter from your vet and you are refunded 2x the amount you paid for the dog. So that helps cover the vet bills and medicine so far.

CAL DREAMER - I do think of his other littermates its so sad - there was 6 boys in the litter. We found out early but I wonder about the others.

Thank you again for all your help - I will give a call to the ortho and see what they say.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 7:52AM
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HoJo, have you contacted the breeder you bought your dog from?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 11:54AM
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Yes and they refunded double the amount we paid. It is a state law in NJ.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 5:00PM
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I thought you got the dog from a place that "sells the whole litter" which to me sounded like it was probably a broker for a puppy mill. Usually if you don't see the parents, something's fishy.

Although I'm glad you got a refund, which will help pay for vet bills, I'm more concerned that the breeder is aware that the parents of your puppy are passing on genetic problems (dysplasia) and will stop breeding these particular dogs. (Your puppy's parents)

Of course, reputable breeders will have had their dogs OFA certified for several generations to reduce the probability of dysplasia - but it still happens in large breeds sometimes.

Most puppy mills and backyard breeders won't check hips, so unfortunately it's "buyer beware" of poor puppies cranked out for cash.

I'm really sorry your puppy has to go through this and hope his pain gets under control soon.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 7:16PM
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Thanks Cal dreamer - Sorry I wasn't clear about where we bought him. It's not a pet store that sells one puppy and many different breeds. It's a place that sells litters of puppies and many different breeds. If this makes sense - hard to explain. It's called Puppy Barn. We bought a retriever mix 15 yrs ago and after she passed last year we went back for a new puppy. At 12 yrs old she was diagnosed with diabetes and needed insulin 2x a day.

I definitely learned my lesson about not getting a puppy from a reputable breeder.

We had him outside today playing for a little while - finally a little break in the weather and he seems so uncomfortable now. He's been sleeping and crying on and off the rest of the day :-(

I was happy to get the money back and then some so that place can be held responsible for selling sick puppies. It will help with the vet bills but all they have to do is pay the money, they don't see the puppies in pain and family members upset. I wish there was more punishment for backyard breeders.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 7:58PM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

OK, this is starting to sound like that other post where the problem was talked about for weeks and nothing was done for the dog. Is this dog going to continue to be in pain with nothing permanent being done about it? While I understand the problem, I can't understand why something hasn't been done about this already. A dog should not have to be in pain like that.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 9:07AM
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Rimadyl is a great drug but it sounds like your dog needs more than just 1 drug.

My own dog with deformed rear legs is on Rimadyl, Duralactin, fish oil, glucosamine/chondroitin, and gabapentin. She will be starting acupuncture soon too. She had surgery in one leg but unfortunately it didn't help so no surgery was performed on the other leg. If I had an underwater treadmill at my disposal she would be using that too. Other options are laser therapy, massage therapy, stem cell therapy, physical therapy, other pain management medications (amantadine, amitryptlline, tramadol, others). Most can be safely combined with NSAIDs (like Rimadyl). Also some dogs respond better to other NSAIDs so you may need to try a different NSAID in combination with other therapies.

I believe your dog needs more comprehensive multi-modal pain management until you are able to get surgery done. I believe any dog with that much pain at such an early age MUST have total hip replacement surgery. I've seen a few like this (all Labs though) and it is very upsetting even to me, not to mention the owners and the dogs.

I'm glad you are concerned about your dog's level of pain and recognize it so well. Many owners are not so bothered. Keep pressing your vet for better pain control. If s/he is unable to manage your dog's pain, find someone who can. I'm very sorry your dog and you are going through this. Breeders like this make me feel very homicidal.

Good luck to you and your dog.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 8:18PM
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