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Update to previous posts...pup has elbow dysplasia

Discussion in 'Labrador health' started by Kaitlin Bode, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Kaitlin Bode

    Kaitlin Bode Registered Users

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    I've posted here once before asking for advice for a leg issue that the vets couldn't figure out. I didn't get any responses, but I figured I'd update anyways for anyone searching in the future. After an X-ray consultation, the radiologists said there was no inflammation and nothing seen on the back legs that would cause the limping we were all seeing. Due to that information, my vet referred me to an orthopedic vet that specializes in cruciates and elbows.

    I went in this weekend and she said there was absolutely nothing wrong with his back legs, no stiffness and no inflammation in the x-rays, but that he did have leg issues. She noted that the limping that I described as "walking weird" was actually him liming on his front legs. She told me to look for a head bob and that would indicate a front leg limp. She also went on to say that Koda had elbow dysplasia (something to do with fragmentation?) which was causing the limping. He had a big pain reaction when she tried to stretch his front elbow, and she could see it in his x-rays.

    She did say that his elbow looks 'pristine' which means he doesn't seem to have much damage despite his constant limping. Right now I guess our plan of action is to wait a few months till he's older then do a keyhole surgery where they inject something into his elbows and hope that fixes it. All in all she estimated around 2.5-3k which is something that's going to hit hard for sure. For the next few months he's not supposed to roughhouse, run on concrete, do stairs, or jump down from anything. I'm wondering how I can achieve that. He loves my couches and not expects to be on them so I don't know how to train that, much less prevent puppy zoomies, or exercise him since he's a wild 6 month lab. Training only works for so long and we live in a 700 sqf apartment while I search for houses.

    I'm really devastated since he's so young and he was supposed to help get me out of the house. We had so much fun one day going to the dog park, and he was intended to be my hiking and camping buddy. I guess that's pretty much out of the picture for at least the near future. It seems that instead of helping me get out of the house, he's going to make me stay in it more instead :( it is what it is, but I'm definitely feeling defeated right now.
     
  2. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Sorry to read about your issues @Kaitlin Bode. I know the following risks the danger of missing your plight. A young dog would not have been doing long walks until much later on. Later on you two can stroll. I have my fingers crossed.

    I would be inclined to just block off the couches when you are not sitting on a cushion. Eventually the desire to get up will expire.

    Perhaps try teaching your dog targeting. And then transfer that skill to picking up toys and putting them away in a basket. Plenty of mental exercise will help him to tire him out.
     
  3. Kaitlin Bode

    Kaitlin Bode Registered Users

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    He definti
    He definitely hasn't been going on long walks and never has so that likely wasn't the cause of the dysplasia. I've been a pretty lazy owner so far and I'm thinking that might have been to my benefit since the vet said his elbows look very good with only minimal signs of dysplasia so far despite his somewhat severe limping. I was hoping that by the time June/July hit he's be old enough to do moderate hikes with me since he's be 10-12 months old by then. I'm guessing that due to the recovery period, he likely won't be able to do any of that for at least another year and that's assuming the surgery works on him. Same for the dog parks.He's not a very playful dog and mostly prefers to sniff, but I wouldn't want to risk it either.

    Is targeting just picking out something specific? He sometimes can do that with bones but haven't had much success teaching him names of other things so that would definitely be a fun thing to work on.
     
  4. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I was trying to think of training that would avoid dog parks, jumps and lots of walking. Targeting starts off with either the dog pushing its nose into the palm of your hand, or a paw. In your case teach nose. You move your hand around so that dog gets used to different presentations. You can later use a post- it on your palm and then transfer the post-it to pushing her nose against other objects. So she can shut the fridge door or a house door. Or push a light switch off or on. May the latter should be avoided until her elbow is fixed.

    Teach the dog retrieve and you can get her to retrieve a tin of drink from the fridge and then shut the door. Teach her to pull, and tie a rope to fridge door and she will be able to do the whole thing.

    You will find once she learns to do one thing that other exercises become a lot easier. Dogs generally love targeting. I think you'll find it immensely rewarding. I marvel at how clever the dogs can be.

    You begin the targeting exercise by holding your palm still. Let her approach your palm. Shape the dog to touch your palm with her nose. Are you familiar with shaping?
     
  5. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    Swimming is great for dogs with hip or elbow issues, since it is non-weight bearing exercise. You can go to a hydrotherapy pool - in fact your vet may be able to refer you (and it will be covered by insurance - which is always a must and would cover the surgery too...) or you can just go to the beach or a lake instead.

    Research on whether or not exercise causes hip or elbow dysplasia is quite mixed. Some research actually suggests that we are doing harm if we UNDER exercise, and that a decent amount of exercise helps prevent pups from growing up to have issues. This is the approach which Avidog take: https://www.avidog.com/how-much-exercise-do-puppies-need/
     
  6. Helen

    Helen Registered Users

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    I feel for you, my boy who is now 5, was diagnosed with ED at 7 months we had to restrict his excercise to 5 minute walks for months, it is devastating the dog you thought you had is not what you have, it takes time adjusting to your dogs new life.
    He had not been operated on that's not to say he won't need it in the future but we mange it, thankfully our boy is happy to sniff and amble along side us, yes he has a run when he sees a friend but he knows his limits. It is hard to adjust to but it will get easier for your dog and you. Good luck
     
  7. Plum's mum

    Plum's mum Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I really feel for you @Kaitlin Bode, like @Helen says, it’s a real loss that, at the moment, your dog can’t be the dog you were hoping for, although there’s no reason why he can’t be in the future.

    When my girl had an accident and was not able to jump on and off sofas, initially I brought her old crate out again and put it in the lounge, just for the first couple of days after her operation.

    Then I arranged the cushions on the sofas so she was unable to jump up. She very quickly accepted she wasn’t allowed on the sofas and automatically went in to her bed on the floor, which I’d brought in from the kitchen.

    I don’t know how young and agile you are but you could sit on the floor with him, at least initially?
     
  8. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    The linked poster is interesting, Jo. I find it confusing. Is downward dog the same thing as bowing. What are the cat pose, and crescent moon exercises?
     
  9. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I have a dog with elbow dysplasia. Many sympathies. I know what it feels like to get the diagnosis and feel a lot of your hopes and dreams sink...:(

    First, the good news. Over time, and with expert physio and hydro, very careful exercise management, and a very moderate amount of drugs, my dog's condition stabilised (there are complications about why that might be that might not be relevant to your dog though - long story, and I'm not sure it would help to tell it). He now is very, very active - he does much, much more than the average pet would do, including some work but of course I'm careful with that.

    Then, the (potentially) bad news.

    What did she look at to say that his elbows looked pristine? If x-rays....then, that doesn't say much. My dog's elbows did (and still do) look pristine on x-rays, but x-rays tell far from the full picture as far as elbow dysplasia goes, unfortunately. A CT or MRI scan is what will give you a good picture.

    A final word - don't just take your dog to any hydrotherapy centre on the advice "swimming is good for elbow/hip dysplasia". Get a proper referral to a good physio and work out a routine. My dog was never allowed to free swim at first, he was on a water treadmill with 3 physio vets making sure he was keeping his gait even. Free swimming is not always good, depending on the individual problem and elbow dysplasia has many forms, as the pressure of the water can cause sideways motion that doesn't help.

    Now, my dog can swim many, many hundreds of metres without problem - and that's thanks to a great hydro centre that knew what they were doing (not everyone with a pool and a wetsuit does....).
     
  10. Keri

    Keri Registered Users

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    Agree 100% with JulieT.
    Also want to say those health tests done on breeding Labradors aren’t worth the paper they’re written on if the elbows were just x rayed and not ct scaned. My puppy’s elbows looked great on x ray but diabolical on ct scan.
     
  11. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    Those phrases are confusing out of context. They refer to Chris Zink's exercise programme 'Fit For Life' which you can sign up for with a monthly membership fee and get an exercise regime for your particular dog.

    All elbows and hips are x-rayed for BVA health tests. They are not CT scanned. Same goes for equivalent tests in the US. This is down to the BVA deciding what is the most appropriate way to screen: https://www.bva.co.uk/Canine-Health-Schemes/Elbow-Scheme/

    It's not going to help you much now @Kaitlin Bode but have you put your dog's KC name into MyKC and looked not only at the parents' health tests, but at the 'health pedigree' - health tests under the names of the dogs behind your dog - and also at the EBVs for elbows? (Estimated Breeding Values?). These are more predictive of problems than the parents' health tests alone.
     
  12. Keri

    Keri Registered Users

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    Jo, I know they’re not ct scanned and therein lies the problem.
    As regards MyKC, if any of my puppy’s siblings are used for breeding, nobody will ever know there is ED in the line, because her medical history will never leave my vets surgery. I doubt if any Labrador owner or any breed needing elbow testing, will go ahead sending tests to the BVA if they knew a dog is not sound in the elbows or hips or whatever. Even in my own case, many years ago, I had a great Leo, showed her with great success at home and at Crufts and a great temperament. Decided I would like to breed, went to my vet, took x rays and he advised not to bother sending them to the BVA, waste of money, hips were bad. So this dog of mine was never recorded anywhere for the public to see, neither will this puppy of mine be, thus making it impossible to see which dogs are completely clear of ED in its 4 forms on any data base anywhere in the world.
    When I went to the specialist vet here, I told him parents were fully tested and back along the lines there appeared no problems. I had looked.
    He asked how were they tested and when I said xrays, his reply was “well there you go”.
    I’d still go for tested parents in future but I would also be praying I’m lucky and above all the little puppy had luck on its side.
     
  13. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    Keri, what you say is not true. The vet taking x-rays for the BVA hip or elbow testing schemes MUST SUBMIT those x-rays to the BVA - regardless of what they look like. It would be unethical and against BVA policy for a vet to collude with an owner and not submit x-rays to the BVA just because they think they look bad.

    I've had all my dogs hip-scored, even those I haven't bred from. The dog is x-rayed and the results are not even discussed with you (much), by the vet - they are just sent off to the BVA for scoring.

    I'm sorry you had a bad and unethical vet, who broke BVA policy and if I were you, I'd report him because his actions do a disservice to dogs, vets and breeders. This leaflet from the BVA explains how things should work: https://www.bva.co.uk/uploadedFiles/Content/Canine_Health_Schemes/Hip_Scheme/20190128 CHS Hip Dysplasia 2019 v1 web.pdf Before the dog is x-rayed, the owner "The owner should sign the declaration (first part) of the certificate, to verify the details are correct and grant permission for publication of the results." So - the owner gives permission for the results to be processed and published, BEFORE the x-ray is taken - whatever the results are. Then "Once the radiographs have been taken, the veterinary surgeon must fill out the appropriate section of the certificate and submit both the radiographs and the certificate and the current fee to the BVA." - "must" being the operative word there...

    Lastly, unless the vet is on the BVA panel, they simply won't be very good at telling you what a score is likely to be. I've had vets give me their thoughts on scores and, when processed by the BVA, the results have been vastly different to what the x-raying vet implied. I've had a vet tell me a score would be awful, coming back as very respectable. BVA panellists are trained to look for specific features on an x-ray and how to score those - vets in general practice, have not been trained.

    Finally, in the US, it is very common for breeders to require owners to get their dogs hip and elbow scored when they are the right age - even if they won't be bred from. The purpose being to improve the database and give the breeders information on the dogs they are producing. If you breed a litter of 11 and only one pup is scored with a score of, say, 8 - that doesn't really tell you anything about what you've produced and what studs you should be choosing in the future. If you are looking at the EBVs on Mate Select, it's not much use if many siblings or progeny of a dog have not been scored - the confidence of the EBV isn't going to be great. I really think responsible owners should be considering scoring their dogs whether or not they want to breed, so we all have more information.
     

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