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  1. #1
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    Apr. 14, 2006
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    Question How rapid is the deterioration from hip dysplasia?

    We lost our female German bred, GSD in October after 60 days of treatment for a disk/hip problem. She was just under 7 years old. Starting in Jan. our male German bred GSD (absolutely unrelated to the female) now 7 yrs old, started making odd moves when he walked on the tile floor. Our whole house is carpeted except the bathroom floor. He has been on Previcox and MSM since early March and is getting worse each day. In my whole life..always owning large breed dogs, I have never had HD in any dog before - now two in 6 months. I have an appointment to have him put down on Wed. morning, but am reluctant to give up so soon. When he is out on the farm he still runs like a deer and is eager to get out. At slow speeds his hind end wobbles like it was made of rubber and when he bumps into things - the door frame or furniture it really hurts him. I'm just wondering if I'm doing him a favor by delaying the vet visit or myself!! These are the ONLY two dogs I've ever lost under 13-15 years!! UGH!! The heartbreak of having to make these decisions!!
    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma



  2. #2
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    Aug. 11, 2003
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    I am so, so sorry. I have a Collie who also has hip dysplasia but am thinking it might not be as bad as your GSD. She is very, very stiff when she gets up and sort of hobbles on the back end until she warms up. However, she still chases the horses and can run at a fair lick. She seems to be lying down a bit more recently and I've noticed that she doesn't always come up to the end of the driveway to meet me like she used to. She's about 7 too. She was diagnosed though about 2 years ago and the vet just said that was it likely genetic. I haven't noticed her banging into things, but she is mostly an outside dog so doesn't have to navigate furniture etc. I hadn't actually considered putting her down, but your post has made me think I should maybe watch her a little more.



  3. #3
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    Aug. 5, 2006
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    Could you get him into any type of swimming rehab? We have two places here in Raleigh that offer underwater treadmill rehab for dogs...and it did indeed help my elderly dalmatian.

    I've always been told that you "make your hips" via holding them together with muscle...the swimming is an excellent way to do this without taxing the joints.

    Make sure you keep him at a healthy/lean weight...no extra stress on his body.

    And have you tried adequan to see if adequan would give him some relief.



  4. #4
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    HD is not necessarily life threatening, I am not sure why you think you have to put your dog down. Did the vet suggest that based on severity? I know lots of Labs and GSD's that have some grade of HD and live fine lives.

    Although you say your male was 'german bred' had they been been getting OFA's several generations back? I don't have a breed that is HD prone and it is small, we still do OFA's on any animal before it is used for breeding.



  5. #5
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    Oct. 1, 2004
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    Magnolia, TX
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    Hip dysplasia varies in degree and is largely genetic. There's still some argument about nature vs. nuture and severity. HD is not something that occurs with in later age. It develops in puppies. If I'm not mistaken, a dog must be 2 years old for OFA certification (hips fully developed).

    What GSDs do suffer from very commonly is spinal degeneration. Totally unrelated to HD, and it does develop later in the dog's life. The symptoms you're describing - lack of coordination in the hind end, wobbling - are typical. Degeneration can be progress slowly; sometimes it only seems to affect the tail. Unfortunately, it can also be rather sudden and progress rapidly to paralysis.

    I'm very sorry you're seeing this in your dogs. My last GSD had mild HD from the time he was 5 months old, but it wasn't until he was almost 12 years old when the spine trouble hit. It was very rapid. Within 2 months, he went from being slightly shaky, to walking like a crab, to not even being able to stand up on his own. By that time, his entire body was failing him, and we put him down.
    Jer 29: 11-13



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2004
    Location
    Bluffton SC
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    my GSD had the spinal degeneration, she got where she would run twenty steps and turn around and bite right above her tail...three times vet said it was "fleas" and she would get a cortizone shot, which actually did help...but finally I told him no it was NOT fleas and demanded he look further..he xrayed..said worse case of spinal degeneration he had ever seen, but after three years of wrong diagnosis what did he expect??? she had spine surgery in Charleston ,very expensive I might add, always said it was a good thing she was owned by a horse owner who is use to large vet bills ( two large screws, 8 pins and $260 of bone cement...and the spine is totallly fused) and she is running like a puppy!!!! ( now it did leave her with other problems..ugh...bowel incontinence, which my husband would love to put her down for but she is super smart and thus we are coping...)she understands in the house she must be on her bed...makes for simple clean up but she is so very pain free it was worth it ( most days)! she is nine now, her problems prob started at six...



  7. #7
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    Jun. 9, 2003
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    Alabama
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    I'm a huge GSD fan -- lost my once in a lifetime companion in January. Have always had one, so I will pick up a puppy I have bought in two weeks. My guy did well until 11 and when he finally had enough pain and problems he couldn't get up and down we let him go. If your dog is not suffering and can get around, just control it with meds and get him a good bed with an orthopedic or memory foam mattress. Give him some glucosamine or some of the other homeopathic meds along w/Previcox. Cetyl-M helped Norman alot. I also had a vet who was licensed in acupuncture, laser and chiro help him. My guy didn't have dyplasia, but he did have arthritis and probably cancer at the end (lots of lumps were popping up and he was in alot of pain). If he is eating and getting around, I wouldn't give up. Even the German bred GSD's can have issues, including dyplasia, spinal degeneration and other degenerative issues. It's a good idea to get one from a breeder who tests and only breeds the ones who are "clean", which is no guarantee, but better odds. Most of the American show dogs have issues because they are bred for that funky hip that slopes too much. Good luck with your dog.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 9, 2008
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    49

    Default Myoapathy

    I'm sorry for your bad luck. As a rule, hip dysplasia does not progress so rapidly. If, however, there is disc problem, then you might have a more complicated scenerio.
    If I had to guess, I would say that it is more likely that your dog is suffering from a condition called: myelopathy.

    When a dog suffers from this, they lose their ability to perform 'fine tuned' movements, such as sitting, getting up; walking. They can still run, as once thery get going they can kind of 'skip' through their gait.

    So, it is an actual degeneration of the white, (vs grey), matter of the spinal. Testing ranges from basic neurological testing to an advanced to a more invasive myelogram.

    It can be a very common disease for a 7yr old Shepherd.

    I'm sorry for your sad luck.



  9. #9
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    Feb. 6, 2000
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by crosscreeksh View Post
    We lost our female German bred, GSD in October after 60 days of treatment for a disk/hip problem. She was just under 7 years old. Starting in Jan. our male German bred GSD (absolutely unrelated to the female) now 7 yrs old, started making odd moves when he walked on the tile floor. Our whole house is carpeted except the bathroom floor. He has been on Previcox and MSM since early March and is getting worse each day. In my whole life..always owning large breed dogs, I have never had HD in any dog before - now two in 6 months. I have an appointment to have him put down on Wed. morning, but am reluctant to give up so soon. When he is out on the farm he still runs like a deer and is eager to get out. At slow speeds his hind end wobbles like it was made of rubber and when he bumps into things - the door frame or furniture it really hurts him. I'm just wondering if I'm doing him a favor by delaying the vet visit or myself!! These are the ONLY two dogs I've ever lost under 13-15 years!! UGH!! The heartbreak of having to make these decisions!!
    Are you sure it's HD? The wobbling component makes me suspect degenerative myelopathy, which is not uncommin in GSDs.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep. 26, 2009
    Posts
    51

    Default Hip Dysplasia

    This doesn't sound like hip dysplasia to me but I'm not a vet nor do I play one on TV. I have found in my experience with basset hounds (in rescue), which are also large breed dogs, that excellent results can be achieved by using Ester-C, a human supplement. This is not regular vitamin c but a patented form of it. I give them 500mg twice daily. It generally takes 3 days for results to start to show up. If I have a really bad situation, I'll double the dose - but work up to it. We've had great success! Again, I'm not a vet and suggest you talk with yours.



  11. #11
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    Oct. 21, 2008
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    West Palm Beach, FL
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    Default

    I also agree it sounds like degenerative myelopathy, which is unfortunately vastly more common in GSDs. Having a good veterinary physical examination to determine if there is orthopedic or neurologic problems would be a next step.
    Otherwise, there isn't much you can do, unfortunately.
    There is a chance it might be another neurologic disease -- I recently had a GSD patient who had lumbosacral stenosis, meaning arthritis and a chronic disc was compressing the lumbosacral spine. It was diagnosed definitively via MRI, and the dog had surgery to deocompress the spine on Friday. He's doing okay.

    Sorry I don't really know what to tell you other than have a vet look at him and try to make some recommendations. It may not be something that can be cured, but you'd have a more definitive diagnosis at least.



  12. #12
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    Apr. 14, 2006
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    Thanks for all the advice. This morning I called the vet's office and cancelled our Wed. appointment!! I am an RN and have dealt with horses and dogs seriously my whole life and from the descriptions you've given I am leaning toward the degenerative myelpathy diagnosis. We are living in rural, podunk Oklahoma so extensive testing procedures are not locally available and honestly not in my budget. My vet is very nice, but maybe a bit casual on the diagnosis - she says it is probably both HD and disk/spine problems. On her advice, we are treating the symtoms...he is on Prevocox ($3.50/pill) and MSM. His appetite is good and the only time he seems distressed is lying down and rising, or if he bumps into something. He still runs like a deer and is eager to go out on his farming duties. Talk about a good bed...last night I moved a big thick blanket 4 times to different places he likes to sleep. Each time he got up and moved away, so I finally gave up. He apparently prefers the carpet. We have a nice deep creek that I could swim him in, but is that an indicated treatment for DM?? I'll do a search on line and see if I can learn more on the subject. I hate to lose him, but I refuse to just let him suffer so I can feel better, longer. Thanks to everyone. Jackie
    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma



  13. #13
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    Feb. 6, 2000
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    Check this site for some good info on diagnosis and management of the condition: Degenerative Myelopathy of German Shepherd Dogs
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.



  14. #14
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    Dec. 25, 2005
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    SE PA
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    Just so everyone knows, Degenerative Myelopathy is not limited to GSDs. it can occur in ANY breed. There is a blood test that the vet can take and send it to Missouri for definitive diagnosis. It may still be FREE. It was the last I knew a couple of months ago. But the vet must take the blood and send it in.

    There are many things that can prolong his life. Too bad it wasn't diagnosed earlier. But there are herbs and other things available, including chiropractic and acupuncture.

    I know of a tech who's training for rehab in OK, but I don't know exactly where. Her name is Jan Guz. I can't tell you how to find her. Sorry.

    Check into the website for veterinary rehab.

    Continue your research.

    Good luck to you.
    Laurie Higgins
    www.coreconnexxions.com
    ________________
    "Expectation is premeditated disappointment."



  15. #15
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    Jul. 22, 2008
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    Rochester, NY
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    Thirding, fourthing, whatever the suggestion that you are dealing with myelopathy rather than HD.

    We adopted an elderly cane corso who we strongly suspect had myelopathy- she was 12 or 13 when we adopted her, so we didn't pursue aggressive diagnosis or treatment.

    We padded the things she tended to wobble into with some foam, door frames primarily. She was only with us for a bit more than a year, but a high quality diet and supplements with occasional cortisone shots helped her greatly. Cortisone may be easier/less expensive for you than previcox; it wears off faster in some dogs than others, so it's necessary to do some trial and error.

    Fish oil and an msm/gluco powder were our supplements of choice. We also got a heated bed, which she really liked- like your guy, she seemed to prefer harder surfaces until we offered her a warm place to crash.

    Towards the end she become nearly incontinent; she tried hard, but it was like she couldn't sense when she had to go until it was a dire situation. It is my understanding that this isn't uncommon as the disease progresses.

    Other than her sweet doggy guilt at being unable to hold it and occasionally wobbling into things, she was a very happy and active dog. It was painful to watch for sure, but she soldiered on unawares of our distress. Good luck with your guy.
    bar.ka think u al.l. susp.ect
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  16. #16
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    so extensive testing procedures are not locally available and honestly not in my budget. My vet is very nice, but maybe a bit casual on the diagnosis - she says it is probably both HD and disk/spine problems.
    all you need is a simple x-ray to diagnose HD.
    The first symptoms of HD are usually a weird "bunny hop" gait when running, a funny swaying motion of the hind end at the walk, and gradually increasing difficulty getting up and down and jumping up on things.
    HD is very manageable (it is basically just arthritis you know) and just casually putting the dog down without giving them a try is, IMHO, totally unacceptable. Everything from joint supplements, diet changes, weight loss, physical therapy, acupuncture, pain killers, up to various kinds of surgery are available and very effective in relieving symptoms.


    HD is not something that occurs with in later age. It develops in puppies. If I'm not mistaken, a dog must be 2 years old for OFA certification (hips fully developed).
    yes but dogs afflicted with HD most often do not exhibit any overt symptoms of HD until middle-aged or older. The initial problem appears to be a genetic "looseness" of the hip joint during early puppyhood; depending on the combination of the environment and the genetics the joint can either develop normally or develop oddly such that the hip joint is shallow and the head of the femur doesn't fit properly. The easiest way to help prevent HD in your puppy is to keep the puppy very skinny during the first year or two of life, and try to provide regular exercise throughout the day (pups kept crated much of the time and exercised only during one or two short bursts per day are much more likely to develop HD than pups allowed to move around throughout the day).
    Anyway, if the hip joint is ill-formed what happens next is that arthritic processes start to occur- the poorly formed joint slips and rubs, and after some years it starts to become painful from the resulting arthritis.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    all you need is a simple x-ray to diagnose HD.
    The first symptoms of HD are usually a weird "bunny hop" gait when running, a funny swaying motion of the hind end at the walk, and gradually increasing difficulty getting up and down and jumping up on things.
    I agree. I know the OP said she cancelled the appointment to have her dog euthanized, but I'm just wondering why jump the gun? The Vet gave a "casual" diagnosis of "it sounds like," but the Vet didn't actually diagnose properly if they didn't at least take X-rays to ACTUALLY diagnose the issues at hand.

    I wouldn't base whether or not to euthanize my dog solely on what the Vet thought might be the problem without proper testing first (X-rays.)
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  18. #18
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    Apr. 14, 2006
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    Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and referral articles. Just so you know...I don't take my animals health or imment demise lightly. We treated our GS female agressively for 2 months before her condition progressed to total hind end paralysis. Treatment on the male GSD has been going on for over 2 months and he was seen by two vets who both said HD and/or spinal problems. I have been lazering, medicating, doing PT, etc and still seen degenerative progress. When a 100 pound ENERGETIC dog runs out the door, across the deck and launches in his previous form off the deck and lands in a whinning heap because he doesn't remember from hour to hour he can't "do" that any more, a caring owner has to consider quality of life for their friend and companion. My vet bill looks like the national debt, so please don't be so harsh to judge my consideration for euthanasia at some later stage of my dog's deteriorating condition. My extensive readings and my vet's advice tell me there is no cure for DM, just some treatments which make the condition bearable. Thanks again for all positive advice.
    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma



  19. #19
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    Just Jingles for your handsome dog and hugs for you ~ during this terrible struggle. Hoping his condition stabilizes to "bearable" soon and remains "there". AO ~ Always Optimistic !
    Last edited by Zu Zu; Apr. 21, 2010 at 10:51 PM. Reason: addition
    Zu Zu Bailey " IT"S A WONDERFUL LIFE !"



  20. #20
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    I'm sorry to hear you are going through this. I am too. My GSD will be 14 end of May, and he's been slowly going downhill with degenerative myelopathy for months. Actually - I'd say symptoms have been around for longer than that, but they've been obvious and progressively worse for several months now. Most of the research I've done says this disease usually progresses fast, but ... here we are. He is progressing, just makes it hard to know when to make the call. I want to make it BEFORE he can't get up someday, I feel I owe it to him to let him have his dignity.

    He's close ... but I've been saying that for months now. He's got alot of the "late stage" symptoms - the incontinence ... the poor guy runs for the door because it sneaks up on him ... the clumsiness, the knuckling over of the hind legs, the loss of strength ... you name it. He's starting to have trouble getting up, and recently started taking about twice as long as usual to come up the stairs. He prefers to follow us down the stairs, I think it makes him feel safer because if he falls he'll fall into us.

    But every Saturday he begs to come to the barn, and loves to be outside and help with the horses. He's slowed down in the last couple months, doesn't run as much, doesn't insist on coming with while turning out every horse ... but he still loves being there.

    Someday soon I'll be facing the same choice as you ... and quality of life calls are the worst calls of all.
    If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
    ~ Maya Angelou



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