adopting a dog with hip dysplasia

homebodymomOctober 17, 2010

My family is actively looking to add another dog to our home. I had to put down my 12 yr old lab this past May. Although we all miss him dearly, it has been hardest on my 3yr old Lab Riley. He is spending way too much time sleeping for a 3 year old dog. I take him for walks, and throw the ball endlessly, but he truly misses a dog friend.

My vet does a lot of dog rescue and has a dog she would like me to adopt. He is @18months old, and he and Riley got along great when they met lst week. He ( they are calling him Little Man) and his mom were turned into a local shelter together. When their time ran out, my vet went and got them. Little Man, and his mom both have hip dysplasia - confirmed by xray. If he is showing signs of trouble already at this young age, what can I expect for his future? I already know he is a good match for my dog Riley, but I want to make sure I am Little Man's best choice for an owner. Do these dogs always need surgery? Long term medications? He is a total sweetheart and I am very torn about this. Thanks for any insight/advice you can offer. I want to make sure I can care for him properly before we bring him home.

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OUCH...I would contact your vet to ask about what type of surgery is best for the pup you have in mind, I believe the type of surgery depends on a number of factors including age. If you need to add medications, Medicam is a good pain controlling medicine. You need to watch what type of play and exercise you take part in, and you might want to see if there is a water therapy place to take your dog if need be. Since your vet knows about the pups condition and how bad the hip is, it is best to talk everything over with the vet involved. You defintely want to provide dog beds for your pup, and possible use a heating blanket on cold days, massage is also a good thing to ask your vet about practicing. Please let us know how it goes....

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 4:41PM
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Thanks Mazer. As of now he is not in need of surgery, but his mom, who is @4 does..... I am sorry if my post was confusing. I guess I was wondering this-

*if he is already showing signs of trouble ( running with his 2 back legs together as 1 unit), and his mom already needs surgery at age 4- does this mean he will be more likely to need surgery in the future?

thanks again !

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 6:36PM
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Being that hip dysplasia can be genetic your concerns are well thought out, but it all depends on the pups x-rays. YOu really need to have a heart to heart with the vet to ask a number of questions.

How bad are the pups hips
Should you limit his activities
Should he be in water or physical therapy
Should he be on pain meds like Medcam - since he is so young I would avoid Rimadyl
Does he need surgery now
If not now - when
should he have a wheel chair for extra support
Good Lcuk, Kudos to you for looking into getting a disabled dog....and again, let us know what you decide and how it goes with the pups health, the more we share with each other on what works, the better everyones life!! Good Luck

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 3:22PM
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Hip dysplasia causes arthritis which is a progressive condition. Unless the cause- hip dysplasia- is cured, arthritis will continue to progress and cause more problems in the future. Nobody can predict how long any particular dog will be comfortable without pain meds, with pain meds, etc. For severely affected dogs, surgery is the only option to reduce pain. Others are good with long term meds, but those are not without potentially serious consequences which require routine bloodwork.

Metacam and rimadyl are in the same class of drugs- NSAIDs- and have very similar adverse effect profiles. One drug is not any better than the other nor is one any safer than the other for long term use.

Showing signs at age 3 is not a good thing. Bunny hopping is a sign of pain, which needs to be addressed. Besides NSAIDs there are many other pain control options available- glucosamine/chondroitin, fish oil, duralactin, strict weight control, physical therapy, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, etc.

My own Ana was born with severely deformed rear legs and I managed to avoid NSAIDs until she was 6. I had her on glucosamine/chondroitin and fish oil since I got her at 6 months of age, added rimadyl at 6 years, and added duralactin at 8 years. She still sometimes needs tramadol on bad days. Since past age 6 her degree of pain has increased drastically, as has the rate of increasing pain. I have access to acupunture and that is my next modality. Surgery was performed on one leg at age 4 but it did nothing to alleviate her pain.

I would be prepared for multiple vet visits and substantial money in the not to distant future. I think the dog will need at least an FHO to reduce pain- looking at $700+ per leg. Gold standard would be total hip replacement in both legs, but that is about $5000 per leg. Even just pain management can be costly with the routine bloodwork to make sure the meds aren't killing the dog. If you have that kind of money, great. But please don't think that the dog will not require expensive chronic medication at least.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 9:55PM
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Thanks again Mazer. The questions that you suggested are exactly what I needed! I will speak with the vet again and see how severe his issues are, and how limited his activity level should be. My 3 year old Lab is well over 90lbs ( he is a labxgolden mix) and can get pretty feisty! The more info I am getting, the less I think I am Little Man's best option. I am sad, but have to do what is right for him. I know my vet will find him a good home, or keep him herself if needed.

Meghane- I hope your Ana is feeling well. She is lucky to have you as her Mom. Thank you for sharing that wealth of info. It confirms what I was feeling in my gut. Arthritis is something that I am unfortunatly very familiar with. My daughter was diagnosed at age 5 with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis ( she is now 16). We were told at that time, since she was so young, her disease was likely to be more difficult to manage than a child who was older at the time symptoms started. Thanks to new medications that are available (but bloody expensive) she is doing well. I was concerned that the same was true with dogs... Thanks for your honest and detailed answer. It was exactly what I needed to make the best decision for everyone involved.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 8:03PM
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I hate to be pessimistic but I've recently had to euthanize 2 Labs under 1 year old for hip dysplasia. The owners couldn't afford surgery and medicine wasn't helping that much. Broke my heart, not to mention the devastation their families faced.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 7:59PM
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Thanks again Meghane,
After losing my 12 yr old lab so recently, there is no way I want to KNOWINGLY put myself into a situation like that. It is still way too raw. I am sure cases like those are just as hard for you as they are for the families.

Thank you again for being to honest and informative.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 10:30AM
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