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Older GSD and hip dysplasia surgery?

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  • Older GSD and hip dysplasia surgery?

    Any thoughts on hip dysplasia surgery for an 11 year old German Shepherd Dog? She would love to run around the barn!

  • #2
    Ok this usually shows up at about one year of age and the vet then decides whether or not to perform the operation based on degree of severity.

    This is hereditary, and if owners do not breed dogs with it, there will be no dogs with it.

    Are you sure it is hip dysplasia? I have friends who have GSDs and they have other spinal/back problems when they reach old age. If your dog had hip dysplasia when he/she was younger, did the vet not want to perform surgery then? I'm confused.

    If I were you, I'd ask the vet to give you a referral to the nearest veterinary hospital where a professional can tell you the pros and cons of the surgery for a dog of 11 yoa.

    I once bought an Aussie from a GA breeder instead of from my breeder, and the little Aussie had hip dysplasia, but my vet said it was a stage that did not need surgery and Ashley was maintained on drugs for her lifetime.


    • Original Poster

      Hmm. Maybe I misunderstood - maybe it is something other than hip dysplayia. Perhaps arthritis? Have appointment on Saturday with very good orthopedic vet.

      I agree about selective breeding!


      • #4
        First of all hip displasia is not totally hereditory at all. Whilst there can be a complex genetic basis it's not as simple as some here have suggested.

        Plus it can also be environmental. e.g. a pup doing too much running about and leaping up and down steps when it's very young. Obesity and nutrition linked too.

        Whilst it often shows signs when the dog is young it depends. It can (and does) sometimes be pretty much clinically silent for years.

        Theres different sorts of treatments dependent on the degree of displasia and the age of the dog etc etc etc.

        Best thing to do is discuss with your vet.

        Very difficult though to think about doing any major surgical intervention on a large dog that is that old.


        • #5
          This was something my GSD and I had in common. I have DDH (moderate to severe at this point and didn't find out until three years ago.) I lost him two summers ago at age 12.

          Given that and their life expectancy, I would think surgery on an older dog would be very hard on the dog. I would give her supplements to help keep her comfortable and go from there. The vet can recommend some good ones.

          Dysplasia will cause arthritis due to the abnormality and wear and tear on the bad hips plus age. It could be both.
          A Merrick N Dream Farm
          Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique


          • Original Poster

            Thank you for the replies and comments. I was very worried, and still am, so greatly appreciate the responses. I have a good vet, and will do what is best for the dog.


            • #7
              I have a 7 year old german shepherd that has just undergone spine surgery, seems she inherited a gsh condition where she was in constant pain... the surgeon put two screws 8 pins and $261 worth of bone cement in to support the spine near the base of the tail. the surgery was done in November, she had reached the stage where she couldnt walk 20 steps without reaching back in pain...today she is running after the two year old and climbing in and out of truck ( with a ramp)...she appears to be in no pain whatsoever. it wasn't easy, 9 weeks crated and leased for the first time in her life and several other issues, but worth it in that I think she is now pain free. Now she is stiffer than the others and I think she always will be but I would be too with all that in my spine but she is pain free and that is the bottom line! thats just our result but food for thought


              • #8
                Ok this usually shows up at about one year of age and the vet then decides whether or not to perform the operation based on degree of severity.
                this isn't true at all. Dogs may be born with the genetics to predispose to develop "lax hip joints"; combination of environment (such as diet, and minor injuries as a puppy, etc.) and the genetics determines just how loose the hip joints turn out to be. The loose hips themselves don't cause problems. The rubbing of the ill-fitting femoral head in the hip joint can cause arthritis, which may manifest as pain. Most dogs are diagnosed with painful arthritis caused by hip dysplasia in middle age, i.e. age 5 or so, but the age at which the dog becomes obviously in pain varies a lot, from age 6 months to quite old. Some dogs with apparently horrible hips on x-rays never develop symptoms, others with apparently only mild arthritis are practically crippled at a young age.
                I don't think I would be looking into surgery as a cure for an 11-year-old large breed dog. I'd look into adequan injections, joint supplements, pain killers.


                • #9
                  Two things....

                  1. As others have said, HD is not only genetic. You can have dogs with great hips that have been OFA'd, Penn Hip'd or any other test, and you can still have a dog produced with HD due to environmental factors (too hard of exercise and running/jumping at a young age, obesity, poor diet, etc.)

                  2. I would not perform orthopaedic surgery on a senior dog. Perhaps the veterinarian can offer you other suggestions like pain management (if pain is an issue). It's not only the surgery that is rough on them, but the anesthesia and recovery as well.

                  I <3 the senior Shepherds
                  If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
                  DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
                  Originally posted by talkofthetown
                  As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.


                  • #10
                    I have a German Shorthair Mix that was found on the side of the road when she was 4 weeks old. We adopted her at 5 weeks from the local animal control. She started showing signs of HD when she was 6 months old. We did radiographs and her hip sockets were VERY shallow, but no other changes. We re-radiographed every 6 months for the next 2 years. During the winter we managed her pain with meds, and she is on a daily joint diet. She will be 4 in October, and we will almost certainly have to do SX on at least one hip before next winter. Our vets reccomendation was to wait as long as possible to have the sx done. We could have done it at 1 year (her rads were pretty bad then), but she would have had massive arthritis by the time she was 3. Our vet also thought that it was a combination of malnutrition, and genetics that played a role in her problems.

                    In regards to SX on an 11 yr old GSD. I think that if your vet feels that your dog is healthy enough to have the procedure done, than thats your answer. I had a lab/chow mix who was 11 or 12 when she had her ACL repaired. As long as they are healthy enough....and you have done the pre-op bloodwork, then you should be ok. If you think that it will give your dog a happier life, for whatever time it may have left, I would say go for it.....assuming that your vet is ok with it.

                    "Animals can sometimes take us to a place that we cannot reach ourself"

                    ** Support the classic Three Day Event! Ride a Long Format **


                    • #11
                      If your dog is in good shape otherwise, ie kidneys, heart, liver etc, it might be worth talking to a vet about it. It is however major surgery and the you need to be careful with recovery. The lifespan of GSD is not as high as some other breeds so you might want to think about whether or not it is in your dogs best interest to proceed at this point in her life. In younger dogs it is a very successful, if pricey surgery. For a younger dog, I would not hesitiate to do it. And to the poster who stated it is genetic, that is true to a point. It actually is a multi genetic recessive that is influenced by diet and exercise. Over vitimanization can actually induce it in a dog who would otherwise not get it. This is also why you can breed teo dogs whos hips have been certified clear and still have a litter with dysplastic puppies get it. It is NOT a simple recessive that you can just breed out.


                      • #12
                        Bottom line....you need a solid diagnosis before you make any decisions.

                        I've seen many GSD's with hip issues...and many with spinal arthritis too--which can look like a hip/hind end problem.

                        First things first...diagnosis. Once you've got that, you can make some decisions.

                        Generally, if a dog is in good shape otherwise and there is a surgical option with a good prognisis, I'd go for it.

                        But...that is rather geriatric already for a GSD so I would be inclined to carefully weigh my options. I'd prefer quality over quantity as far as time goes...orthopedic surgeries can be very costly, can require a great deal of down time, and heal more slowly when the pet is older....

                        Let us know how the exam with the Ortho goes. Crossing fingers for you!
                        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                        Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                        • #13
                          I would go to a chiro vet before doing any surgery at all. You can also try some great supplements, like Cetyl-M for the pain.
                          Equine Massage Therapy Classes and Rehab for Horses


                          • #14
                            If the dog has got hip displacia then it needs a really good orthopaedic specialist vet.


                            • #15
                              My 10 year old male GSD has done great for 9 years, but recently has had some pain primarily on one side behind. He's been examined by my vets several times and we are treating with Deramaxx daily and Adequan injections 2 x month. He also gets joint supplements and vitamins and is doing much better. He is 110 lbs, which is a good weight for his structure and size, has always been active on my farm and was produced from German working stock with good hips (OFA'd). My vets do not feel this is dysplasia, it is arthritic changes and possibly something incurred to the leg that seems the most painful. I wouldn't dream of surgery on him at this time. I believe we can manage him with meds and hope to keep him active and comfortable. Also, be sure she has a well padded bed to sleep on as this can certainly aid in her comfort level. Good luck!
                              Love those GSDS!!!!!


                              • #16
                                Agree at that age it might not be the kindest thing to go as far as surgery. Have you tried any of the great new pain meds yet? I have had great luck with Rimadyl. Just started my 9 yo male on it, he looks like a 2 yo again! I hope to get 2-3 more comfortable years from him but have to be realistic. 11-12 is good for a GSD. My girls lasted 13 & 14 which was phenomenal for this breed.

                                My new vet also swears by accupunction for hip/back pain in old dogs. I'm signing my boy up for an appointment, but expect it will be a combination of meds & other therapies.

                                Good for you wanting to extend length of qualitiy of life for your GSD, and good luck choosing among the options.

                                Arcadien, GSD fancier for 42 years & counting!


                                • #17
                                  Anthropmorphizing, I would liken having a dog having the surgery to a person having a hip replacement at 70+ years old. Being oldbutnotdead, I can think of lots of things I would rather do with my remaining time than recuperate from an invasive surgery, especially if the condition can be treated for pain relief some other way. All the best to your dog.


                                  • #18
                                    Please get Xrays of hips and back. Arthritis cannot be diagnosed without Xrays. Neither can hip dysplasia.

                                    There are many pain medications available, including homeopaths such as Zeel and Traumeel.

                                    Adequan is good; so is a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement, as well as an Omega 3 fatty acids and vit. C.

                                    Please look into chiropractic and acupuncture before you go for surgery.

                                    I work for a rehab vet who specializes in this sort of thing. We had a 16 y.o. chow come to us with severe arthritis and we were able to help her live several months longer and more comfortably with chiro, acupuncture, adequan, glucosamine, and Zeel. She was moving MUCH better after the first 3 or 4 treatments until the very end.

                                    Good luck to you.
                                    Laurie Higgins
                                    "Expectation is premeditated disappointment."


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by MassageLady View Post
                                      I would go to a chiro vet before doing any surgery at all. You can also try some great supplements, like Cetyl-M for the pain.
                                      Yes. Cetyl-M gave my 12 year old shepard with life long spinal pain (hips were perfect) one more year of mobility, after Rimadyl alone was not working. You can buy it through SmartPak. He got 4 tabs per day.
                                      Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Thank you all for the information.

                                        At our vet appointment on Saturday, the vet concluded that she was sore in both hips, instead of the right one alone which is her usual pattern. He believes that she sustained some sort of injury which, along with her existing issues such as arthritis in her hind end (I mistakening recalled dysplasia instead of arthritis when typing my first post), created problems. If needed, we will go in for xrays. Last xrays were takin in April of 08 so we have a good basis for comparison.

                                        Luckily, she is doing very well! She is now on Zubrin, and I will continue with her Adequan. If she worsens, or ceases her rapid forward progress, we will go in again.
                                        Last edited by oldbutnotdead; Feb. 24, 2009, 09:36 AM. Reason: spelling error