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Up Topic Dog Boards / Health / Hip Dysplasia - surgery and options
- By Splurk [gb] Date 01.04.17 17:34 GMT

I'd really appreciate any advice / input on this. I have a 5 yr old Labrador that was diagnosed with hip dysplasia of both hips at 7 months old. He had a hip replacement on the worst side at 9 months old, which was successful. In fact he has lived a great life since then but the reality is that he is now struggling and the vet has said we either have the other done or he has pain killers / complementary therapies to try to cope. He is very active and lively and tends to overdo it even just at home in the garden..  does anyone have any experience of either of the options? Our insurance no longer covers this sadly.... so we have to pay for any option ourselves... which will be hard.

- By Goldenfrenzy [gb] Date 01.04.17 18:11 GMT
My lab was diagnosed with hip dysplasia at 7 months also.  She cried every time she had to stand after lying down and It was heartbreaking.  Someone suggested I try Joint Aid for Dogs and within two weeks she was a different dog. she was on it from 7 months old. I never heard her cry again and she lived a full and active life until she died at twelve and a half due to cancer.  May be worth you trying this before going down the surgery route again.  Hope it helps.
- By Splurk [gb] Date 01.04.17 18:15 GMT Upvotes 1
That's interesting because he is on joint aid normally but I ran out a few weeks ago and he has been having something else (synoquin)... perhaps it's linked to the sudden decline?! Thanks for suggesting it!
- By Tectona [gb] Date 02.04.17 06:52 GMT Upvotes 1
Have you tried any hydrotherapy?
- By Splurk [gb] Date 02.04.17 08:21 GMT
Not since after the first surgery but that would definitely be part of the non surgery plan.

I am wondering whether we do joint aid, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, physio for 6 months and see how he is? I just don't want to leave it too long for surgery in terms of his age... but it was an ordeal for him and all of us and I think it could be good to try everything else first... and there is the cost of surgery
- By Jessica B Date 02.04.17 22:07 GMT
Well first off I'd go back to using Joint Aid and maybe up the dosage a bit. If he's still struggling then personally I'd opt for a hip replacement instead of painkillers. Painkillers don't cure the problem, they simply put off what's coming anyway.
- By Nikita [gb] Date 03.04.17 08:40 GMT

> Well first off I'd go back to using Joint Aid and maybe up the dosage a bit. If he's still struggling then personally I'd opt for a hip replacement instead of painkillers. Painkillers don't cure the problem, they simply put off what's coming anyway.

This would be my approach too.  Arthritis is likely to set in at some point with the joint not being formed properly, so with a young dog, I'd want to do everything I could now to minimise the impact of this issue as she gets older.
- By Splurk [gb] Date 04.04.17 10:16 GMT
Thanks both - the reality is that I need to start putting money away for a £5.5k operation so he will have to wait. The vet is talking about femoral head surgery as another possible option.

He is back on the joint aid now - clearly the synoquin isn't as good. He is also a bit better than he was in terms of the "good" replaced hip, so it must have been a soft tissue injury as the vet suspected (otherwise it wouldn't get better, I assume).

Just to be clear - the painkillers were for the good hip, not the bad one. But the reason the good one is painful is overuse, so fixing the bad one will stop that happening hopefully.
- By Tectona [gb] Date 04.04.17 10:24 GMT
Hip replacement is by far preferable; I would think a lab a little large for femoral head type surgery to be a brilliant option in the long run :sad:.

Start saving and get him into hydrotherapy....
- By Splurk [gb] Date 04.04.17 11:36 GMT
Hip replacement might be clinically preferable but it was hellish to go through for us all. He was confined to a crate for 6 weeks and cried all night and most of the days. He is prob better now than he was at 9 months but still... plus I have another lab and two small children so it will be hard going. Obviously we owe him the best possible, but should we put him and all of us through that again? I don't know.... he is not a very heavy lab as he is working type but he is certainly over the usual weight for femoral head. I guess we may end up with the THR but it will have to be in September at the earliest- unless I have a lottery win!
- By chaumsong Date 04.04.17 15:33 GMT Upvotes 1

> He was confined to a crate for 6 weeks and cried all night and most of the days.

I wouldn't put any of my dogs through that. I would manage him through supplements, hydrotherapy and pain killers and when it was no longer manageable I would hold him in my arms as he slipped away to sleep.
- By furriefriends [gb] Date 04.04.17 18:07 GMT
I would.see how well he responds to hydro supplements etc and then reconsider.
- By Splurk [gb] Date 04.04.17 18:38 GMT
This is what I struggle with - is it actually fair to put him through it? He does manage ok at the moment so long as he doesn't overdo it. It's pretty awful for him to have to go through... I just go from thinking it will be worth it for the outcome to thinking why would I make him go through it.....
- By Goldmali Date 04.04.17 19:40 GMT Upvotes 2
This is a heartbreaking situation. Have you spoken to the breeder? Were both parents hip scored? As it's a young dog, personally I don't think 6 weeks of discomfort should stop the possibility of maybe ten years of quality life. But the cost would be difficult to cope with for most people.
- By Tectona [gb] Date 04.04.17 20:17 GMT Upvotes 4
I agree with Marianne. I wouldn't think twice about 6 weeks of strict rest when the dog could have 7+ years of comfortable, happy life afterwards. I would say that FHNE is likely to cause more suffering in the long run.

I absolutely understand your predicament though, and really hope you come to a solution that suits you all, it's not easy. :sad:
- By furriefriends [gb] Date 04.04.17 21:14 GMT Upvotes 1
I know u have said differently but knowing goldmsli knowledge of things i would carefully consider what she has said and follow her advise
- By Harley Date 04.04.17 22:05 GMT

> I wouldn't put any of my dogs through that. I would manage him through supplements, hydrotherapy and pain killers and when it was no longer manageable I would hold him in my arms as he slipped away to sleep.

I am with chaumsong. Having been in that position, albeit with an older dog and a different reason for crate rest, I have decided that in future if the problem reared it's ugly head again then I wouldn't have any invasive treatment  for him. He is such a happy fellow normally but the months of inactivity really took its toll on him and he became a different dog entirley during that long, long period of recovery. I made my decision on quality of life - and what he would have to go through to get a good quality of life back again - and have come to the decision that, for my dog, a shorter but happier life is preferable for him.

I don't think there is an easy answer and people will have different opinions and it is a very emotive subject but you know your dog far better than anyone and only you can really decide if the months of recovery will be in his best interest regardless of the final outcome of his surgery. Never an easy decision either way :-(
- By crobertson [gb] Date 05.04.17 06:27 GMT
Interesting to follow as I was looking for some advice for our 4 year old lab who has elbow dysplasia. He is on glucosamine and chondroitin but this doesn't really seem to be helping as much as it used to so I think I might try joint aid as recommended by others as he has started to limp again.

I can sympathise with your situation as Chester had his elbow operations at 8 months old, we went through the hellish crate recovery etc after 6 months he had built up muscle and got to a good place when he went lame on his back legs. We went back to the vets who said 'its probably hip dysplasia' continue with the exercise etc as we were doing for his elbows. 12 months later I still wasn't happy with him so asked for xrays which turned out it was his cruciate ligament disease which by this point had virtually eroded. He was then referred again for TPLO surgery on his knee and the crate recovery and gradual exercise for another 6-8 months all over again. Now whether people would agree or not I know my dog and after that surgery I could tell he'd had enough, hes been pretty much lame his entire life, so now if anything else goes wrong we won't be opted for a surgical option (even if we could afford it) I would rather try other methods of management to make him comfortable and then let him go rather than putting him through operations again.

..... Any tips of managing would be greatly appreciated !
- By Splurk [gb] Date 15.04.17 20:00 GMT
Hi - sorry I didn't log in for a while.

Goldmali - I often speak to the owner of his sire. Both parents were hip scored and it was actually a repeat mating so we also met a working dog from the previous litter - plus they had mostly been hip scored too. The scores are all great (I can look them up but I think one was 4/5 and the other was 3/3) - better than the parents of my 10 yr old lab (6/4 and 5/4, from memory) who doesn't have hip dysplasia
- By Merlot [gb] Date 15.04.17 21:24 GMT
Weight has a massive impact on joint problems and if he is carrying any extra the best thing you can do is get him down to running very very lean, ribby really, it will help a lot. I also use double doses of yumove for my elbow challenged girl and she has a half dose of Onsior every day, I have just had her on a real strict diet and she has dropped 4 kg and the difference is amazing even though she was not fat before she could handle  the loss. I wont go down the surgical route for elbows as the recovery is long and hard for them and the gains not always good. Good regular exercise helps and mine get an hour and a half every day split into two walks, they are both very fit. You need to work up to the maximum you can without making things worse, but strong muscle aids the joints. My girls are used to it and have had the same for many years.
She too comes from a line of excellent hip and elbow scoring stock so its not always poor  breeding (I bred her myself) She was never over-exercised as a puppy and I was careful with her but these things happen and we have to cope.
Run lean, keep fit, and medicate when needed. I hope you get him settled soon.
- By Brainless [gb] Date 16.04.17 08:03 GMT Upvotes 1

> so its not always poor  breeding

Both HD and ED have genetic components, but are complex.  Heritability for HD is considered to be around 30% (rest environmental/other factors), and higher for ED, but still not just heredity.
- By Splurk [gb] Date 17.04.17 18:41 GMT Upvotes 1
Thanks both - half my post was lost above actually - I didn't mean to end mid sentence.

He really wasn't over exercised as a puppy -  we always stuck to the 5 mins per month of his life thing. He never actually behaved like a normal puppy I assume because he has always been in pain. He never jumped up or played much with other puppies and he wouldn't do stairs ever.  I just think he has so much wrong with him that he almost has a syndrome! He has a too long soft palate so sounds like a pig when excited or out of breath and he has a heart murmur. His hips we appalling as a puppy - I could prob share a pic. Doesn't stop me worrying that is was something we did tho!

He has already lost weight which I'll continue to do - he isn't a fat dog but he is carrying more that he had been and I think he could maybe get down to 30kg without being too skinny.

I really appreciate everyone's input
- By Splurk [gb] Date 17.04.17 18:53 GMT
i know he is young but I have always worried that his various problems will mean that he won't ever make a great age. He is a very happy and energetic dog and still seems like this at the moment and I know a successful op would be great but I think he would struggle with 6 weeks strict crate rest - then there are the further 6 weeks of continued restrictions and the gradual increase of exercise after that - it's a long time out of his life... I saw the benefits when he was a puppy and he could have 10 yrs ahead of him but I had no idea how hard it would be for us all. He was so miserable... anyway - we have a vets appt next week to discuss plans. I know they want me to be referred to a specialist again but obviously that's only worth it if I seriously want to talk about replacement options.

Thank you all.
- By onetwothreefour Date 25.04.17 14:13 GMT
I would really go for the surgery whilst he is 5yo.  If you wait longer, the older he gets, the harder it will be physically on him, to have the surgery. 

I'd really suggest getting a referral to a specialist - Fitzpatricks are really good for orthopaedic stuff like this especially.  Not just if you are considering surgery, but to talk all the options over with a specialist, to ask about quality of life, surgical advances that might have happened in the last 5 years and may speed up recovery time, options if you don't have surgery and so on.  A consultation with a specialist is really a good idea whether or not you go for the surgery.

6 weeks of crate rest might sound like a lot, but for the sake of another 10 years with him - it's really not.  Can you bear seeing him suffering daily, whilst knowing surgery had the potential to completely fix things for him?  I know i couldn't, with my dogs.  You might also find that now, at 5yo, he's not an adolescent any longer and he may deal with the 6 weeks crate rest much better.

One of my oldies has arthritis at the moment, and we are completely avoiding meds by using the following (which would probably all be helpful for you, and you could run them by the specialist too):
Riaflex Joint Plus (chondroitin and glucosamine and MSN)
Riaflex Green Lipped Muscle Powder
Riaflex Devil's Claw
Wild Salmon oil
Golden paste

Check out the Riaflex products, they are very good:
- By Admin (Administrator) Date 13.06.17 09:05 GMT Upvotes 1
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Miriam Fraser says:  Stem cell therapy... my 4yo retriever had it and it works miracles
Up Topic Dog Boards / Health / Hip Dysplasia - surgery and options

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