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Thread: Kirk's Hips =( **8/26 GOOD update!**"

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Northern Colorado

    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.

    TPO Explanation:
    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.

    Last edited by Kater; 08-27-2007 at 02:49 AM.

    Many thanks to Roxyluvsme13 & k9krazee for my great new siggy!!
    *click* Kirk's Recovery Thread *click*

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    I'm so sorry . I can't even begin to imagine what you (and Kirk) are going through, as I've never had a dog with HD. I would call the breeder though and let her know that Kirk does have HD, as it is important for her to know what sort of puppies her dogs are producing and it is also beneficial to the owners of Kirk's littermates. I don't know how I'd go about saying it, as I've never experienced this, but I strongly feel that she has to know. Good luck with your boy!

    Journey - 2yr old Australian Shepherd
    Ripley - 5 1/2yr old Doberman
    Dance RN CGN FM - 7 1/2yr old Toller

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    You post is very well written. I am so sorry that you and Kirk are having to go thru this. Perhaps you could phone the breeder and reiterate what you've written here - it's great. The breeder should be notified and in turn should notify the other puppies owners - that would be the responsible thing to do. Kirk sounds like he's in very capable hands and will be getting the very best of care - good for you girl!!! Take care of that sweet boy, I pray that his problems can be fixed and that he can live a happy, pain free life going forward. To help release some of his energy is he having at all the chew toys?
    Gayle - self proclaimed Queen of Poop
    Mommy to: Cali and Diego (nine year old kittens)
    (RB furbabies: Rascal RB 10/11/03 (ferret), Sami RB 24/02/04 (dog), Trouble RB 10/08/05 (ferret), Miko RB 20/01/06 (ferret) and Sebastian RB 12/12/06(ferret), Sasha RB 17/10/09 (border collie cross)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Glendale Heights, IL (near Chicago)
    I'm so sorry. Kirk is so young, poor guy. On the other hand his age may be the silver lining. He can heal faster after surgery and maybe they can help correct this.

    You should call the breeder. Maybe be nice about it to an extent, but in my opinion, those parents shouldn't be bred anymore. If the breeder is a good breeder they should agree. I’m not saying your breeder judgment is/was bad. I’ve referred people to what I thought were reputable breeders and once I found out that I was wrong. Sometimes they can be sneaky and misleading. Or maybe the breeder will do the right thing and get a new breeding pair.

    It is very nice and responsible of you to contact the other puppy owners. Their dogs may not be showing any signs of trouble, but maybe there are preventative things that can be done.

    Kirk and you are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Billy and Willy! (2 of my 4)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Northern California
    Oh dear. Poor Kirk My heart goes out to you. This must be terribly hard on you but you do have very tangible options to help Kirk.

    Don't worry about your co-workers. If their nonsense is really getting to you, you can inform them that your dog is undergoing some medical issues and it is not possible to exercise or train him like they are suggesting you to.

    Can I ask if you actually *saw* the OFA papers? How often were they tested? I'm not quite sure how you evaluated this breeder, but many "ethical" breeders claim to OFA their dogs but actually never did or the tests were outdated. You must must contact this lady as soon as possible. Since Kirk got such severe dysplasia in such a short time, chances are that his illness is genetic. However, the only person who can vouch for/against that theory is the breeder. Perhaps Kirk's parents did not show signs of HD but it is entirely possible that their parents or grandparents did. Tell your breeder that you are not blaming her for anything and that you do not seek monetary compensation. You are, however, interested in how this illness could have affected Kirk and if it is possible that his littermates might contract this same illness. If so, kindly advise her to contact the other families.

    Lastly, if this type of HD is indeed genetic, advise her to speuter her breeding pair and check into their pedigree (if she has not already). You may want to meet with her in person. Things can get a bit skewed on the phone/internet. Plus, she's less likely to kick you out of her house than hang up on you I hope Kirk does better!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Happy Valley, Utah
    Oh my, what awful news. Poor Kirk, I hope that he will be able to be helped with surgery. I'm sorry to hear that your co-workers are treating you badly. You can't expect a 5 month old pup of any breed to be perfectly behaved, let alone a high energy dog in pain!! Don't listen to them, I know you are a great dog owner and Kirk will turn out to be a very good boy, it just takes time. I definitely think you need to contact the breeder and that she should also contact the other pup's owners. I don't have any advice what to say really as I'm not so great at talking to people. Good luck!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Virginia US
    Today is friday- how did it go?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Northern Colorado
    Kirk did not end up having surgery on Thursday. Upon viewing the x-rays they discovered that he had bent his plate, thus narrowing his pelvis significantly. I can't say this came completely unexpectedly-- we did not follow post op instructions to the letter and I know that. However, I did not have complete control over that and what my father did; he did it with the best of intentions. But the surgeon told me he put in the LARGEST plate he could (thus the strongest) and he has had 60 lbs. dogs (twice Kirk's size) not bend this plate. This little dog has atrophied tiny back legs and is only 32 lbs, so I'm still not totally sure how the bending happened. Perhaps I should have expected as much from a border collie. I don't know...

    At any rate, the plate is bent and one screw is slightly loosened, however at this point, 6 weeks out, the bone has healed around this. Thankfully it is not something that should cause him pain (and there is no reason to go back in and 'fix' anything), but it does affect the likely success of operating on the second hip in the same way.

    The narrowing that has happened will leave only a TINY margin of error (for bending and thus greater narrowing) and this all GREATLY increases the chance for complications that could affect his ability to urinate/defecate in the future. This is a no-brainer for me; there is no reason to risk that IMO. They called me post x-rays and asked me to decide, TPO today or do we call it off (and maybe do a FHO later). I said wake him up, we're not doing the TPO! I felt some ambivalence just because I do not like to make decisions under time pressure, but after calling home and bawling to my Mom my reasoning kicked in and I realized that I made the right decision, no question.

    One sad thing was of course they had shaved him already. He looks soo pitiful and skinny. He has been licking his butt area as a result of a close shave and now has some hot spots back there, so I had to put the cone on him. Little dork!! I'm washing the area with Hibiclens twice a day, and I will ask the doctor today if there is any reason to bring him in or if I can continue treating at home.

    Well, there is GOOD news...
    He can start walking now and we have been doing 10 mins. of leash walking (on flat ground only) twice a day for this first week. Then we will increase the time by 5-10 minutes each week. This may sound extreme, but if you could see his completely atrophied back legs, you would understand. We want to build up the muscle slowly and carefully. Oh wow, he loves being back to his walkies again. I love to see him so happy!!

    Now if we can just get his butt healed and his poopies back to normal.... I have him on acidophilus and gave rice with his first couple meals home, but I may pick up some stronger antidiarrheals from the clinic. I would try pumpkin, but he has been picky about it in the past, finicky eater that he is...

    So, the long term plan? Build up muscle first. See how well he does with one 'good' hip. Consider an FHO for the left side in the future. This procedure is not age sensitive and so we are free of the 'deadlines' of the TPO at this point. Thankfully he is a small dog, so the FHO is a feasible option. I am not sure how I feel about it yet, because I really spent all my time researching the TPO. The descriptor "salvage procedure" attached to it is certainly an unattractive term. Again, thankfully, there is no time pressure to make the decision, except in the case that he were in pain that we could not control with other methods. This is not the case as he seems very happy and mostly pain-free at this point (as far as I can tell).

    I am trying to do my best to see the positive and not dwell on the negatives or the mistakes we may have made. We love him and we're doing the best we can by him.

    Sorry I took so long to update, it has been a crazy and emotional week for many reasons. Thank you for thinking of us!!


    Kate & lost-his-breeches Kirk
    Last edited by Kater; 10-30-2006 at 04:53 PM.

    Many thanks to Roxyluvsme13 & k9krazee for my great new siggy!!
    *click* Kirk's Recovery Thread *click*

  9. #9
    Poor little Kirky. You made the right decision! I hope his muscle and hair come back quickly.
    ~Kimmy, Chipper, Zam, Logan, Raptor, Nimrod, June, Mei, Jasper, Esme, Lucy Inara, & Morla
    RIP my sweet Kia

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio USA
    Praying for ALL of you guys.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    New Jersey
    Kate, I am sure that you are doing the best you can for Kirk, and I will continue to keep that little man and you in my prayers. {{{Hugs}}}

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    indianapolis,indiana usa
    I am so sorry to hear of the complications. Please give Kirk a big
    smooch from me. (((HUGS))) to you.
    I've Been Boo'd

    I've been Frosted

    Today is the oldest you've ever been, and the youngest you'll ever be again.

    Eleanor Roosevelt

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Seattle, WA
    just read the news on LJ- so glad to hear the sx went well and that he should be walking in just a couple weeks!! hopefully this will be the end of his repairs and he can enjoy a long life of running!!! ^__^ give him a kiss for me!
    R.I.P. Pidge, Oliver & Charlie <3

    Margaret (the biped)
    Sahkmet (the bunski)
    Brock, Alki & Royal (the beasts)
    Felix & Linus (the mewsons)

    Brock - Royal - Alki

    "A dog's mind is a terrible thing to waste."

    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." -Edward Hoagland

    Seattle Dogworks Training and Education Studio

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Northern Colorado


    It has been 3 weeks since Kirk's latest surgery. I'm sad to report that he has not bounced back as quickly as expected. He may have irritated or even torn some of the underlying muscle. We're going to continue supportive care and therapy before we take xrays or contemplate "going back in." I don't know why this puppy always has post-op complications. It's frustrating when we are trying our absolute best to follow post-op instructions and end up keeping the poor thing sedated for months at a time. *sigh*

    On the upside, tomorrow is his first appointment for hydrotherapy. It has been hard to schedule because the two women that do canine hydrotherapy locally are fairly booked up and both have had recent vacations. Anyway, we're finally gonna get him in the water!! Yay!! He really needs it; his poor little left leg is about as atrophied as it could possibly be. I'm going to try to take pictures to share.

    Otherwise he is as much of a love bug as ever. Even though I stress about him a lot (all the time!!), he is really quite the happy fellow. I just know he misses his walkies, his doggie friends, and all the normal puppy stuff he is missing out on....

    He makes 1 year next month. I pray that he is well on his final 'road to recovery' by that time…. And if he's doing well I want to have a big BBQ to celebrate. He would just love it if I brought over dozens of people to dote on him!!

    Thanks to those of you who continue to follow his progress. I appreciate the support.

    Trying to stay positive!!
    Kate & Kirkie

    Many thanks to Roxyluvsme13 & k9krazee for my great new siggy!!
    *click* Kirk's Recovery Thread *click*

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