Labrador Hip Displacia

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Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby bubblesharp » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:09 pm

Well I haven't been to the vet yet...

My neighbor looks after my Labrador puppy when we are away over the weekends, So last weekend she phones me and tells me something is wrong with my dog. He is limping and struggles to get up the stairs. First thought was snake bite, as he spends most of the day in the field, we live on a very large stand and the bottom half around 1300m2 is just field, its wonderful, and we do get the occasional snakes there also. So I thought that he may have dug up one by accident and got tagged. She said he didn't seem in any pain just discomfort, but will monitor him and keep me updated, if he gets worse shell get him to the vet. Well as it turns out he did get worse but not from a bite and not very quickly. As I work very long hours, she also feeds him at night and I in the mornings. He was starting to limb more and more and whenever I went down to find him he was lying in his doghouse, only coming out when I called him. He is almost 8 months old and anyone who ever owned a Labrador will tell you that at this age they are all over the place and chews everything. So back to the story

Her friend who's son is a vet told her that he may be suffering from hip displacia, a genetic disease. So I went on the net to find some more info regarding this disease.

As it turns out it is a abnormality of the hips and if left untreated will result in agonizing pain and discomfort for the dog and ultimately in lameness. In young dogs like mine medications is the first option and can significantly increase the value of life for the animal. If non responsive to medication or no significant improvement, the only option left is surgery which may lead to hip replacement (This was from US sites, I do not know if we have the technology for this option, and my dog is too young for this option).

My question is to every dog owner who has dealt with this disease. What treatment was administrated to your dog, and how effective was the treatment. I wanted to get some opinions of people that has dealt with it before we visit the vet next week. I always try to go in with as much knowledge as possible so as not to allow the vet to experiment on my animals, and if his diagnosis is way of, from the research I have done, I will get a second opinion. I haven't had that much experience with this issue at vets, but with a lot doctors, thus I have absolutely no confidence in most doctors, due to the one I have met. I go to a doctor only if all else fails, but in this case, the only treatment is with prescribed medicines, and I don't know of any animal homeopaths.

The only thing I can do for my dog in the mean time is keep him comfortable, he no longer sleeps in the dog house, but in our room in front of the heater. The heat should help with some of the inflammation on the joints, and he no longer has to walk up the stairs to his water and food. I'll also be able to monitor his food intake more accurately in the house, he is not overweight, but as he is no longer active, he will pick up weight very quickly if not monitored very closely.

Too all people who owns Labradors, do some research on this subject as Labradors are the breed with the most cases of hip displacia. If you know of it beforehand, you know what symptoms too look out for.

I will repost with prognosis and possible treatment and my decision. And then keep you updated on the results of the treatment. I truly hope that some early treatment will change his life for the better. As soon as Summer comes, I will teach him to swim, apparently this is the best exercise for any dog suffering from this condition. Educate yourself on the possible life changing conditions that is specific to your breed.
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Re: Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby CarlaSmit87 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:12 am

Hi bubblesharp, well here's my story... Got a low content wolf hybrid, mostly german shepard, from the age of 7/8 months started noticeing that she will be limping when she stands up and sometimes when playing she would just yelp. This went on until she was 11 months old, slowly increased to where she sometimes would yelp and be very crippel as soon as she stood up. But stil this only happened a few times, not so drastic, so at 11 months I took her to be "fixed" and since she anyway have to be put under anathesia (sp?) I asked the vet to do x-rays before he does the operation.
So later in the morninh he gives me a call and said I better come in... Sign of bad news? Got there he showed me her. X rays, she already had hip displacia phase 3 (worst you can get) he said she rather had the hips of an 11yr old dog than a 12 month old pup. I asked a vet about medication, he said because of the severity I will do more harm than good and she wil most likely have pain for the rest of her life.
So I took a very hard decision, went back to where my girl was waking up, gave her a kiss and held her hear head in my lap, even while she was so sleepy she was still so happy to see me! Then the vet gave the indection and even before the syringe was empty her eyes became lifeless. Ofcourse by this time I was crying like I never have but decided to rather ut the dog first.
Ofcourse afterwords came the guilt, maybe I should have tried the medicine?

So this is my very sad story, I have learned a very hard lesson, when I bought a new dog (jack russell) I got a registered puppy so I know that the posibilty is quite smaller that she would have HD. Rather payed more than going through the heartace again!

Not sayibg to put your dog to sleep but please remember to think of the dog first and his quality of life left.

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Re: Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby Pieter89 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:33 am

A really sad story! I've heard of so many people having problems with dogs hips, :(

I'm not an expert but I don't think the fact that the dog are registered will decrease the chance of h.d. It's more common with large breeds, escpecially German Sheperds, but I've heard of many registered German Sheperds having the same problem?
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Re: Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby bubblesharp » Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:41 pm

Thanks Carla, I have spoken to a few people and it seems that medication, is merely waste of money for those that can afford to use it too feel that at least the tried! Proper treatment of HD will run into the thousands over the short life span of these dogs! And I simply cannot afford it. They also need to go for full rehabilitation as to strengthen the muscles to compensate for the week joints!

Pieter you are absolutely right, my puppy is registered and the breeding pair had bred 4 times, this was the last time, neither of the parents has ever shown HD as it is a recessive gene, that can pop out at any time. Breeding parents without HD is no guarantee that the puppies won't have it!

I'll get some anti inflammatory and pain killers to keep him as comfortable as possible until I make a final decision next week, or at least make peace with the decision that is! My family has grown to love this puppy very much
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Re: Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby Pieter89 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:25 pm

At least keep him as comfortable as possible, painkillers a very good idea. Try to also keep her from jumping, climbing stairs, etc (if it is possible - escpecially when on painkillers, might not feel the pain, but do some damage).

Good luck on the decision! :-) I've also found that excessive medicating is too expensive and there is a small chance of success in many cases.
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Re: Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby bubblesharp » Wed Jun 22, 2011 3:55 pm

Thanks,

He sleeps next to the heater in the house to keep him warm at night, and I thought of "borrowing" one of the heat pas from the snakes, to place under his bed for the time being. The heat will also help with the inflammation, and the IR Lamp is also perfect for this, as I used them during my sports years on my injuries.

At the moment his hips are so bad that he can hardly stand, he sits down when he eats or drinks, and can't climb stairs, all in just 2 weeks, I cannot believe it got this bad so quickly. It really looks like he was hit by a car, but when you feel around his hips, you can feel that the joints does not fit into each other, it is also very uncomfortable for him. If I was not made aware of this disease, I would only have taken him to the vet next week for a check up. I thought some one kicked him when he maybe got out or something and that it would be better in a couple of days. In the beginning 2 weeks ago, you could still slap him on the bump (playfully) and he would still jump on you, now he can't climb a flight of stairs and I had to carry him into our house last night.

I honestly don't think that medication is going to be very effective, and even if it is, it is going to be a very long process, I don't think it will be fair to experiment on him just for the sake of keeping him in the family, but it is not only my decision, it is my wife's also. We actually got him for my son, who luckily is only 11 months old now, so I won't have to give the whole animal went to the farm explanation yet. I get tears in my eyes every time I see him trying to get up to follow me around as he used to. But this is one of the "unfortunates" of the commitment of pets. I don't think I am going to get a dog again soon though, I'll wait a couple of years for my son to grow up a bit first.
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Re: Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby Bushviper » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:08 pm

I am sorry to hear this but get a second opinion. If it is hip dysplasia then I can only imagine how much agony the poor animal is going through. I know your kids are attached to the dog but I would not want to extend the dogs pain any longer. If it feels better and starts running around it could end up in even more pain. Go to another vet and if they confirm it then rather let the dog be relieved of its suffering. Imagine how it wants to run and play but the agony of moving is holding it back. Not nice to think about I know.
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Re: Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby bubblesharp » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:56 pm

Yes not nice, but the alternative of my beloved puppy suffering is worse. The pain killers and anti inflammatory drugs is very mild, and not to take the pain completely away, but rather to take away more of the discomfort and is only temporarily until I can get to the vet. I was referred to a vet close to Rand Ridge mall, so I will be taking my puppy there next week for a second opinion and x-rays. Apparently this vet specializes in these cases, so I will hear what his opinion is and of all the cost involved in proper treatment. Thus far every one has only told me that it is very expensive but no one knows how much.

According to some veterinary sites, if diagnosed and treated soon enough the dog can have a normal life. They do not get as old as other dogs, but can grow to 8 years of age. Obviously these dogs then needs extra exercises etc. and needs to swim allot as it is the only way to exercise the muscles without putting strain on the joints. Unfortunately at the moment it is too cold for swimming for at least another 2-3 months.

I'm keeping the "hope factors" from my wife at this time until I have been at the vet with him. I don't want to give her hope and then the vet tells me it is too late.
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Re: Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby Iggy » Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:16 pm

definitely get alternative opinions. We also have a little girl we suspect may have hip displaysia. Having spoken to our vet, he assures me that the outlook these days is much more positive than it used to be. In some instances a hip replacement is the way to go, but if you have not yet confirmed the condition you should consider getting your puppy onto pet medical insurance to offset the long term costs. I am very against an immediate "put it to sleep" as the severity varies immensely and picking it up at a young age can allow much better management from the outset. My other reason for saying really really think about it is - I suffer from a very similar condition, known in humans as congenital dislocated hips. I do get pain, more as I get older :) but I have rock-climbed, hiked mountains, ridden horses all my life, and on most days you wouldn't know there was anything wrong. That will change when I do get old and I WILL need hip replacement surgery at some point in my future - but the thought that if I were a dog I might have been put down "to avoid suffering" is a little disconcerting :) I realise that in truly severe cases there may be no alternative, but don't jump to conclusions without getting all the facts straight.
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Re: Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby Blet » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:39 pm

HD is a multifactorial disease, but the most important factors include genetics and the type of activity and execise during development. 1st step of avoidance would be to look at the parentage and to only buy from reputable breeders. Both parents should be hip scored and this must be included in their registration paperwork...genetics play a major role as stated...no paperwork=no go...and don't let any breeder promise to send the paperwork on at a later stage! Restricted excercise and controlled diets also should be considered for the 1st 18-24mths (tough to restrict exercise in a puppy!)

You 1st step should start with a diagnosis. Don't try to save cash here. Sedation and hip x-rays (lateral and ventrodorsal views). Consider having x-rays done of both elbows, as these individuals often suffer from elbow dysplasia too!
Once a diagnosis of severe HD is made, euthanasia should be considered as the long term prognosis, even with surgical intervention, is guarded. If this is not an option, several surgical options exist. Discuss these with your local vet...Tripple pelvic osteotomies or excisional arthroplasties are most commonly performed and vary from R3500-10000. Hip replacements are done in JHB and CTN (by specialists surgeons), but are reserved for very specific cases and only once mature (around 2-2 1/2 yrs)...they are around R25000/side and hugely successful.

Medical managment include a variety of antiinflammatory drugs (sometimes in combination with opioids) and glucosamine/chondroitin supplements. In addition, several prescription diets are available and specifically targets this market. Again, go and see your local vet in consult and discuss all these options thouroughly. Medical managment is usually hugely successful in managing COMFORT levels but will not solve the underlying anatomical and mechanical issues around those hip joints.

As a footnote, all large breeds are succeptable. Do you homework around breeds and breeders and insist on valid paperwork.
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Re: Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby bubblesharp » Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:42 pm

Thanks every one. Will discuss this with the vet next week.

Whatever the outcome of this little guy, he will be my last large breed dog. Every breed has their own problems, and luckily most dogs are healthy. I just don't feel like dealing with something like this again. (This is how I feel at the moment, maybe at a later stage I will feel different again)

As for research, I did do my research before hand, obviously not enough! None of the books I got from the library warned about this! If they did I would not have bought a Labrador or any other large breed for that matter. As I have budgeted enough for the amount these guys eat, and the vaccinations and the odd trip to the vet if he gets sick etc. But what now, I have this little puppy and cannot afford any long term treatment as this is way out my budgets etc. I am saving every last cent for my second babies birth, which also cost in the region of R35000 with all the doctors visits etc.

I honestly feel like taking this little guy back to the guy I bought him from and make it his problem and his decision!

I will also explore Iggy's suggestion of pet medical aid, before I take any drastic action. The possibility is always there that it is not as bad as it seems, as the cold will definitely make it worse and more uncomfortable. I'll post again over here after I have been at the vet.
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Re: Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby Jason Lucey » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:08 am

Our Dobvermans often suffer from HD but I have only seen it in the older ones. However I know it is treatable because some of ours have had ops before but you have to get it to a vet ASAP.
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Re: Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby Iggy » Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:50 pm

just remember, you may need to enrol puppy in medical aid BEFORE the diagnosis is confirmed, check the terms and conditions! I am lookingat medipet sa...
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Re: Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby bubblesharp » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:03 pm

Thanks iggy,

I will, if I enroll before hand, then I do not have to list it as a pre existing condition, because I am not a qualified vet, thus cannot law fully diagnose it as HD, even though I'm not stupid and any fool can see all the symptoms!

I will check out the medicals tomorrow, I must say, since he is sleeping in the house where it is nice and warm, he has shown less discomfort, he is no longer on any pain killers, and can move about, although he is not allowed to climb the stairs etc. It does seem that the last couple of cold fronts did make it worse, so maybe it can still be treated. I weighed him the other night and he is definitely over weight! Could understand it, until I found out that he ate the neighbors dog's food during the day when we were not here. Arrangements has been made to limit his access to that food also, and every one here was told not too feed him no matter how hungry he seems, he gets his food from us and that's it! I just hope that they will work with me, other wise I will have to put THEM to sleep!

I will do everything I can to treat him if possible, so I will let you know! My 11month old son can't wait to get home at nights just to play with him, walk in the house, put baby down, bring dog in! Dog runs to baby and baby and dog sits and plays all night! My son doesn't like big dogs much, but for some reason these two are like siamese twins, he convinced me too explore all other options first! If he can have a normal life, even with some difficulties I will still consider it!

But in the end, until those x-rays are taken, it is still just speculation over how bad it is, will try and get him to the vet Monday or Tuesday!
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Re: Labrador Hip Displacia

Postby Amzddd » Sat Jun 25, 2011 8:36 am

I would just like to know - what painkillers and anti-inflammatorys have you been giving this dog? From what Iv read you havnt yet been to a vet so this point important.
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