Kirk's Hips =( **8/26 GOOD update!**"
I don't really have much time, so I am just going to spill this all out. It is really upsetting to me, and to sit here and carefully craft a post will make me increasingly upset. Anyway, I just wanted to explain the frankness with which I am writing.....
Kirk has two severely dysplastic hips. X-rays reveal that they are both more than 50% out of the acetabulum (cup of the cup and ball analogy) and are honestly in danger of popping out. :( Not only that, but his acetabulum is quite shallow - which may have surgical implications i.e. limitations.
He is just 5 months old. I started seeing signs at 3 months...the occasional "bunny hop", which honestly screamed HD at me right away, but I waited...hoping it was growing pains. I started the switch to adult food at 4 months, hoping to slow down his growth rate. Although, I really don't think his growth rate has anything to do with his condition, I think it's purely genetic. By the time he was 4 months in my heart I honestly knew and was ready to admit it. The then doctors confirmed my fears about HD, and concluded that the knee laxity is probably secondary to the HD.
We have had him on an NSAID (Deramaxx) short-term (post rotation and rads) and have begun Adequan injections & Hyalun drops (both potent chondro-protective agents) for long-term management.
The rads have been sent to our (new) local board certified surgeon. I am awaiting her response, but she has said she will likely want another set of rads taken with some more views. It is likely that we will neuter him at the same time, since he needs to be sedated for the rads anyway. This may happen as early as next week. It feels like things are happening so fast!
Ideally we would like to perform two TPOs, if so advised by the surgeon, since this is probably the best option for a dog this age. Rads revealed that his growth plates are still open (a good thing), however, his candidacy for the TPOs will depend on multiple factors. The age ranges I found on various sites varied...and it really has more to do with growth plates and other factors that vary by breed and individual. So "7+ months" is just a guideline and the take home message is that this surgery is done in young dogs only, before any arthritic damage has occurred.
Triple Osteotomy of the Pelvis: This surgery is used on any dog that is over 7 months of age who has partial dislocation of at least one hip, with no signs of arthritis. This surgery is used to prevent the development of arthritis, which is the most painful part of hip dysplasia. By cutting the bone in three places, the surgeon is able to insert the femoral head into the socket. The bone is held together with a stainless steel plate and screws, or a combination of screws and wire. This hardware will remain in place for the lifetime of the dog. Unlike the femoral head excisions, the triple osteotomy of the pelvis surgery can only be preformed on one hip at a time. This surgery is the hardest and most difficult of all four surgical procedures. Because only screws are holding the pelvis together, the dog should not walk using the affected leg right away. The opposite leg is usually scheduled for surgery 6 weeks after the first. Recovery time is 6-9 weeks with strict exercise restriction (ie. no stairs, no running, no wrestling, no slippery floors – dogs should only go outside on a leash). Controlled walks are allowed 2-3 weeks after surgery. Success rates with this procedure are very high.
So now there is another big issue....the breeder. I need to call her, but I don't know how to do it. I am not a confrontational person, I avoid confrontation. Also I am just scared to call her because I am not completely comfortable talking on the phone in many situations. I need your help to decide how I will present this to her. If I have something written out, then I will feel more comfortable. I realize that it will be a conversation and inevitably take its own direction from whatever "speech" or notes I jot down, however, I just need help with a starting point, as ridiculous as that may seem. I would appreciate any advice about this very much. I know so many on PT are well-versed in this subject as well as powerful writers.
I am holding off on harsh judgment, because she did test the parents (good & excellent OFA ratings, I think). There is always a chance for HD in any litter; one radiographic evaluation is not some kind of guarantee. I know enough about genetics to know that this is true. The OFA lists BCs as 11% having excellent hips and 11% having HD (according to their evals). However, I also realize that I did not specifically ask if puppies from this bitch's first litter had any genetic problems. There are questions I regret not asking now...and I am beating myself up over it.
Also, I STRONGLY feel that she should call all the other owners who have pups from this litter and tell them about Kirk, as well as advise them to get the pup's hips examined by their vet. There are surgery options (TPO) that are available to the pups now (possibly) and will not be viable options later. If she will not do this, then I will truly question her ethics. This is the main focus of my call; I want the other owner’s to have this information. Of course, she needs to have this information as well, but I keep thinking about the other pups.
I don't have pictures to share. He is looking ridiculous and gangly at 27 lbs. of puppiness. I have been absolutely non-stop busy, and I have already spent too much time on this post. Actually we have Tigger (friend's BC) dogsitting duty this week, and so life has been extra hectic as we try to care for them both, keep Kirk quiet, and give poor Tigger a break from the freak once in a while.
Thanks for listening. I feel better now than when I started writing this post. I am trying to just take this one day at a time.