Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
Tags: dogs, arthritis, dysplasia, hip, elbow, treatments, fitness, options
Rant on Physical Fitness and Dysplasia
Comment 1: Here it goes, I'm very pissed off! I cannot understand why we tend to believe that our large breed dogs are such lazy animals, why an arthritic elbow becomes close to a death sentence and how proper physical activity in pups end in surgery.
We, as a society, have become really lazy people who seem incapably of dealing with pain and we are trying to make our dogs just like us. We are so wrong! Our dogs are so strong and resilient!
Let discuss hiking!
You cannot expect that your large breed dog will be just fine if, all of a sudden, you decide that he/she has to go through a tough physical activity. Now, let me ask you, you, the overweight human being that can hike 5-12 miles without any discomfort... did you all of a sudden raise from your sofa and, without any preparation whatsoever walk 12 miles... Sorry can't believe it!
If you as a human can walk/jog 12 miles without any problems, this is because you are fit, you walk/jog on a regular basis, your muscles are conditioned, you built your endurance.... why didn't you work with your dog through this process?
When I decided that if was time I lost weight and get fit, I didn't all of a sudden run a marathon. The first thing I did was loose as much weight as I could so my legs, joints didn't have to endure excessive tear and wear with some many extra pounds. Then, when I had lost 25 lb., I started exercising but I did not run the marathon the first day. I started jogging 12-15 minutes and doing 1 mile. Then 2 weeks later I increase to 1 mile and a half... today I'm running 4 miles in about 40 minutes. Not that bad considering I started 6 weeks ago! Any healthy newfie could follow this routine!
Puppies and exercise.
Please! Building muscle tone does not produce hip/elbow displasia, most cruciate happen in overweight dog or performance dogs. If anyone believes that a good healthy exercises for a pup will end up in a surgery, I want examples, proofs... Walking a puppy is a good healthy exercise, making a pup run a marathon is not recommended. Use common sense, how hard would you make your 8 year old child train? Same thing with your puppy
Hip and elbow dysplasia are not death sentences. They are obvious health concerns and we would all prefer to have our newfies completely healthy but sometimes... things happen. If the dysplasia is so severe that the dog is crippled, there are surgical options today. They are expensive but not to the point that they are impossible to finance. Maybe you will have to skip one family vacation. If the displasia is mild/moderate, it is treatable and manageable. The dog can have an excellent pet life until.. probably the senior years were he/she will need some stronger pain killers. The miracle treatment for arthritic conditions... is ... you guessed it... proper weight and exercise. Keep your dog slim and exercise him regularly, you'll be surprised! Then use the gluco supplementation, maybe a pain killer and whow... a normal dog. That wasn't so bad! Compare this treatment with for example, a dog with cancer, a dog with diabetes, a dog with renal problems.... I've seen 3 legged dogs having a blast.
Now, I understand the owners concern... most vets present this diagnoses as if it is the end of the world. Even my ortho vet does. Some are very quick to jump into surgical mode as the only option. Some are very good about making the diagnose look worse that it really is. Example, fluffy goes to the hip x-ray and they discover an unilateral mild dislocation of the right joint. Fluffy's owner is speechless... something wrong with my dog! So the vet explains how Fluffy's right hip deviates from the normal (show a sample of a correct hip) and how the bones will become arthritic at some point. Then the vet explains how this is a "genetic" disease that progresses as the dog gets older and that at some point the dog might become lame. Owner doesn't hear the word "might" and he doesn't really understand the word lame. So owner believes that very soon the dog will have difficulty walking! Owner is so surprise about the diagnose that does not ask the right questions... like:
Might.... does it mean it might not... so maybe my dog will never.... lame... what exactly does lame mean... loosing the complete functionality of the leg or a tiny limp. When.... at what age.... maybe at a senior age?
Hey... there are dogs in the show right (past and present) who have mild/moderate degrees of hip / elbow displasia... and guess what, they gait beautifully and are not in pain!
Sure nothing better than all clear but a dysplasia diagnose is not a death sentence.
Keeping Dysplasia, Hip and Elbow Arthritis at Bay
My dog had hip dysplasia and no one ever knew it until after he tore is cruciate getting off the sofa! The atrophy that occured while he was confined during recovery was the first time he showed any signs of the dysplasia. he was such a well muscled dog from walking around our neighborhood and parks that he was able to move beautifully and with out pain. We did months of hydro therapy to get back some of that muscle loss before we started walking up and down hills again so we didn't put additional strain on the hips. With out the muscle he was nearly crippled.
I tend to keep all of my dogs in this condition, even my old dog at 12.5 is still in very good muscular condition for her age and if it were not for the laryngeal paralysis she would still be going on 1-2 mile walks up and down the hills of our home. One dogs is a muscle machine, ask anyone that's seen him do the frieght haul on the Draft test or pull a Christmas tree. He's a show dog and you have to keep them in excellent condition for the ring, no judge is going to put up a dog that's panting and tired after a couple of trips around the ring.... don't even get me started on condtioning for a National... in puppy and I went around that big ring no less than 8 times and the folks ringside were ready to offer me Oxygen and my dog was still ready to go.
Another dog, a rescue we had here for a while came in at 168 lbs, he couldn't walk further than 10 steps w/o being so out of breath he's colapse.. he layed in one spot all day with the exception of getting up to pee and some times he didn't even bother to do that. If he layed down the wrong way with his hind legs caught up under him, it would take a large human to help get him up to his feet. When he left here he had lost 20lbs and could walk a mile, now he's a svelt 117 and can walk for several miles w/o hesitation. He is 8 now and if it were not for the dedication of the couple he was placed with this would not have been possible. Instead of letting him just out and do his business in the yard they made him go on no less than 3 short walks a day. Slowly built upon their routes and in doing so added to his life expectancy because he is such wonderful condition.
Our vet preaches keeping these dogs in good condition from puppyhood and not alowing them to be couch potatoes all the time. Large breed dogs are supposed to be big working dogs not fat and lazy.
Treatments for Dysplasia
Comment 3: There are 2 injection treatments, maybe 3. You would have to talk to an ortho specialist on this to find out anything.
1. adequan injections
2. hyaluronan injection directly into the joint. This is for joint lubrication that changes from arthritis. Hyaluronan replaces joint lubrication and allows for easier movement and less inflammation.
3. This one is newer and has been brought over from overseas from use in horses - Orthokin. Research is here: http://www.neue-orthopaedie.de/downloads/InflammationResearch_2003.pdf and company is Orthogen http://www.orthogen.com/en/index.htm . Dogs own blood is used, spun down and injected back into the joint to manage inflammation of arthritis. BTW, if someone wants to know more about this and specialist doesn't know then I can give an A&M contact who does who is doing the research on this one.
Depends on how severe it is. You may be able to manage with supplements glucosamine and MSM or have to go to injections. If pain persists general is arthoscopic surgery to remove the chips causing pain then rehabilitate then injections or management with supplements.
Chips Surgically Removed
Comment 4: I agree with everything here except IF a chip can be visuallized on Xray OR CT, it SHOULD be removed ASAP prferable by arthroscopic methods. If you had a rock in your shoe, you'd remove it, then treat the blister/bruise/sore spot. Same concept.
My experience is the earlier the chip is removed, the better the outcome.
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