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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I live in a small farming community and all my dogs are great workers. We don't start working them until 18 months and vet checked.This past week at our vet check I found out my 14 month old Aussie has hip dysplasia. I'm sad to hear this news as she is such a young dog and I know most people in my area would suggest putting her down. We only have one vet in the area. I do think he is a good vet but he works a lot with livestock and not canines. He didn't give me a whole lot of info or options. He diagnosed her by doing the Ortolani test or palpation test. I was there for this and saw and heard the hip pop out. It seemed to pop out very easily. He said she has a lot of laxity in both her hips, one being worse than the other. He also took a x-ray which looked like a perfectly healthy dog, he mentioned because she is so young her hips still look good. The only clinical sign is a small 'bunny hop' when running. Now my questions.

- Does a lot of joint laxity mean severe hip dysplasia? Vet didn't sound like it was a good thing.

- Can a dog have joint laxity and never develop any pain?

- Since she has a lot of joint laxity will her hip dysplasia progress faster?

- Do all dogs that have hip dysplasia at some point in their life have laxity at a young age? Or does it develop as they age?

- What can I do to help slow down this progression? I picked up some dog supplements for healthy joints that have Glucosamine, Chondrotin, and MSM.

- What is a sure sign of hip pain in a dog? She has yet to seem stiff and still jumps and plays.

- She has seemed extra uncomfortable since we saw the vet. He popped out each hip about 3-4 times to get some measurements. Is this popping out of the hip bad for her? I wasn't super comfortable with him continually doing it. I image she is in pain from having her hip popped out, but just wanted to check.

- Our working dogs (the ones 18 months plus) follow us everywhere. Hiking, biking, alongside the 4-wheeler, and all over the farm. Is this an absolute no go for her?

- Lastly she is a great dog with tons of energy and drive. This makes me so sad because she loves to run and play with the other dogs. I so badly want her to be happy and do the things she loves. The environment we live in is a dogs heaven so it's hard to tell a dog they can't run and play and jump.

I know I may sound naive about this but haven't been able to find these answers through my own research and not many people to talk to.

I think I'm just in hopes that somehow she can be a normal happy dog on our farm and still run and play until she is nice and old (yes, I may still be in denial). I know my husband will let her stay on the farm even if she can't work but being a small pup I want to do what will make her most happy and pain free.
 

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I definitely applaud you for searching further to help your dog. There absolutely are things you can do about HD. There are surgeries that can restore full function, for example. I work with a guy who's GSD has HD, had the surgery done on both hips and 6 months later, you can't tell which of his dogs had the surgery. I don't know if that dog could be used as a working dog, though.

Unfortunately, you're going to have to go outside of your community to find an orthopedic vet to help you. My coworker had to take the dog 2.5 hours away because no one around here does that. Usually, the specialists like that are found in big cities.

As to pain, dogs are very good at hiding pain. A dog can be in severe pain and show very little sign of it, so "she seems okay" isn't really realistic as a guide to how much pain your dog is or isn't in.

Good luck!
 

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Did he do xrays and send them in, or just pop her hips in and out? When was she last in season, or could she be coming in?

The hormones related to heat cycles make their hips and joints looser, which is why I ask. I would have her xrays checked by OFFA or another vet to see what they say. I know there's lots of border collies that are dysplastic, or might be, but they still work livestock (a friend of mine breeds and does trials, she has seen a few bunnyhop/funny strided dogs that never seem to have their hips cleared where the other dogs the handler owns does.... it's the 'if they fail they weren't just tested yet...'.

I wouldn't rush into anything, but would get a second opinion and take it one thing at a time.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Did he do xrays and send them in, or just pop her hips in and out? When was she last in season, or could she be coming in?
Yes, the vet took x-rays and said they look fine, but mentioned because she is still young they won't show much. He did not send them in. He recommended doing x-rays in another year to see if anything has changed.

She was spayed when she was 8 months. Would her body still produce those hormones? One hip did pop out much easier than the other. I don't know if that means anything?

My husband said no on surgery, so we will just let her live the most normal life possible until we can clearly see she is in pain. She still runs and plays with the other dogs and we take her with us and the other dogs on hikes and to the lake. She is my best buddy so deep down I want her to be the healthiest happiest dog. It's such a hard situation I don't even like to think about it.

I may take a drive and go see another vet in the city for a second opinion.
 

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Rather than seeing just another vet in the city, I'd be finding out where the closest orthopedic specialist is.
 

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Reading between the lines I am thinking that if there is any HD it is minor and will not seriously impact the dog as long as you keep the muscles around the hips well toned. Swimming 3 or 4 times a week for a minimum of 10 to 20 minutes will help that.
I would not run her on roads or pavements but try teaching her to retreive a ball and keep running to grassed paddocks and fields.
Switch the food to one that is for active dogs with added Glucosamine and Chondroitin - Earthborn Adult Vantage comes to mind.
I would use her for working until she tells you she can't - and she will eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks everyone for your replies. Sorry it takes me a while to get back on the forum. I've taken all your suggestions. Tomorrow we are seeing an orthopedic specialist. While surgery is out of the question I'd really like to know how advanced her dysplasia is and get my questions answered. Hopefully give me a bit of peace of mind. I currently have her on Earthborn meadow feast. I also currently have her on Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM. I'm thinking about switching her to Glyco-Flex as I've heard really good things about it. I also have her on fish oil and vitamin E. Since I've first posted I've seen a positive change in her running gait. She loves to work and play but still lays down to rest more often but she seems like a happy dog which is all I want.

Anymore advice is always appreciated.
 

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Hello, I'm sorry to hear about your dog's hip dysplasia, specially that he is very young :(. I'm not a professional but I can highly recommend a product called Chondropaw for hip dysplasia and joint issues. I have been giving it to my dog Dvorak for 6 months now and it has been such a blessing!. He had a serious hip dysplasia agravated by his age (10 years old), he couldn't get up from a down position, not to mention his efforts to walk, he was in such a pain. I didn't consider surgery because of his age and also the cost of it so I was giving him pain medication, but it didn't seem to work at all.
A friend told me about Chondropaw and I searched them online and I decided to give it a try, what did I have to lose? it is natural and not very expensive. Well..I'm so glad I did!. I saw changes in Dvorak within the first 10 days, and after 2 moths I even stopped the pain medication. He walks pretty well, he doesn't have pain anymore and he doesn't struggle with the two steps anymore. I don't know about your dog's situation but I'm pretty sure he is not as bad as my dog was; Here is their website in case you want to try it. Good luck! http://www.chondropaw.com:wink:
 
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