Monday, April 21, 2014

A Nasty Surprise

I recently learned some pretty rotten news about Ein.  When his limp did not improve after a week of anti inflammatory meds, the vet decided that we should do some x-rays of his legs.  We x-rayed his shoulders and elbows and his hips and knees.  What we discovered shook me to my core.

Ein has terrible, terrible dysplasia in both hips.  He has probably had it his entire life.  The right hip is the worst, it is arthritic and the femoral head is not even sitting in the "joint" (probably because, there is no joint.)  The left hip is agonizingly arthritic and jagged.  I did a Google search for arthritic hip dysplasia.  I had a hard time finding a set of hips worse than Ein's hips.

The top hips are a set of healthy hips.  The bottom x-ray is Ein's x-ray.
How could this be?  He has been like this for a long, long time - and I had no idea.  It is hard not to feel guilty and as though I have been totally clueless and insensitive.  We have hiked literal hundreds of miles together over rocks, up steep mountains, into caves.  He has swam rivers, lakes, creeks.  He has probably clocked just as many hours chasing a ball, hard and fast as many border collies might.  I have always been so proud of his long legs, his reasonably fit little body, his muscles.  He has always kept up with the big dogs, and never batted an eye.  And in the past few years, he has been running agility and doing jumps on Rally-O courses.  He just keeps on going.

So, looking back, when Ein preferred to sleep under the desk instead of going hiking with me?  I can only guess he was in too much pain and just felt like taking a nap instead.  When the girldogs ran into him and hurt his right foreleg two weeks ago, he was out a third leg to support his weight on.  And that is what made me finally notice.  He truly hid the hip pain well.  Just in 2012 he did a total of 50 backpacking miles in two trips without batting an eye.

So where do we go from here?

I scratched his entry in the AKC Agility trial.  I scratched his RAE entry in the Rally-O trial.  He is and has been on strict rest.  I am restarting him on Glucosamine and I am going to be faithful about giving it to him.  Since I am dramatic, and neurotic, I feel like the dog my dog has always been has been taken from me.  Our fun and active life together is now over.  It said Goodbye and I was not listening.  What was the last great hike that we took?  It wasn't great enough to have been our last.

I am taking Ein to a Rehab Vet Hospital tomorrow to have his foreleg evaluated more thoroughly, and to form a plan regarding his hips.  I want to know our Options.  I want to do the best things for him, and I want to possibly see him be able to continue gentle hikes and to play some ball, and to be able to enjoy some of the things that were business as usual when he was younger.  I don't know if he will be able to play agility anymore.  I don't know about Rally-O (Besides Veterans class.)  At this point, I just want his foreleg to get better so that he has at least one set of legs that aren't falling apart (his forelegs have some arthritis, but nothing dramatic.)  I want us to just be able to go for walks together without him being in pain.  But mostly, I just want him to be comfortable and happy.

"Miles to go before I sleep..."


  1. Hey now. I have a dog who had bad hips from birth. You just have to do activities smartly. Avoid things that would stress the joints overly much. That does not mean Ein can have no fun ever again. Giving up and making him sit around being a couch potato is even worse for him. Ensuring he is not too fat is a good help.

    He can do rally just fine. Agility can be done in CPE as well, just avoid the A-frame and weaves. Swimming is very highly recommended.

    Get a few of the orthopedic beds, firm thick egg crate foam mats and not ones with stuffing. Try a heated dog bed.

    Use good supplements. Dasuquin with MSM is talked about the most. There are also Adequan injections, as well as Rimadyl orally.

    Surgery is also an option, FHO on both hips, done one at a time, if you want to go that far, though he may be too old by now.

  2. Oof, I know, I know. I am just so gutted by this...and a lot because I absolutely had no idea. :(

    I am really hoping to get him back to agility - I am really glad to hear you agree, it means a lot. And I think gentle low impact hiking without a lot of elevation will be really enjoyable for him too. I cannot wait until these supplements kick in and he starts to feel better.

    I was looking at those heated dog beds, but his bed is right by the pellet stove and he gets SO hot as it is. He spends a whole lot of time laying on the floor ... though I notice he goes back to his dog bed more and more often as he gets older. He LIKES the floor, and it seems like he lays on it as long as he can before returning to comfort. I just got him an ortho dog bed but he keeps going to his old bed or the floor. He's picky like that, but I did notice he is starting to give the new bed some of his time starting yesterday.

    Yeah I do think he is too old for the surgical route. I'm down with management, strengthening and increasing comfort. Considering accupuncture strongly.

    I do feel like there is a lot of hope for his future, I'm just still feeling a little low :)