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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 02:00 PM Thread Starter
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Joint issues?

This is long, sorry....

How prone are Havs to hip problems as they age? I had a German Shepard with hip displaysia years ago, but I thought those types of things were basically limited to larger breeds.

Tango is 13(ish) and started acting like her back legs were bothering her last winter (about 1.5 yrs ago). No injuries, nothing unusual happened to her, it was almost like arthritis in that the weather changed and that seemed to impact her. She's timid about jumping up onto furniture (sudden change), she's grumpy with the other dogs (sudden change), and she doesn't run around near as much as she used to.

Took her to the vet last winter when this started. They did not take x-rays, as they determined it was unnecessary at the time. Ruled out a lot of things - luxating patellas, any type of break/fracture, etc. Said it was most likely a form of arthritis. Gave me the option of treating the symptoms and keeping an eye on her, or going ahead with x-rays and blood work.

At that point, we had just completed blood work about 2 months prior (for her normal exam), so I opted to just treat the symptoms. She's been on joint supplement ever since, and we have metacam on-hand for "bad" days. And there are DEFINITELY bad days vs. good days.

Took her in 6 months ago for her normal appointment, and there had basically been no change. She had VERY good days, the majority of time she was OK, and occasionally she had a bad day, where she was grumpy and wouldn't let anyone but me near her. Those days I treated her with metacam, and within about an hour she would be OK again. Bad days are VERY sparse - we filled a prescription of 12 doses of metacam and actually had to throw some out and go back for a new prescription, as we was remaining had expired.

Last couple of days have been overcast and rainy here. This morning, she was definitely uncomfortable. She is moving around just fine, but won't jump on furniture, not even "her" spot on the sofa. She keeps pulling one back leg up, then the other. Like she doesn't want to put any weight on her back end. I gave her some metacam and set an appointment to have her x-rayed and full bloodwork in the morning.

Just wondering if anyone else with older Havs has experienced anything like this? Could it be hip displaysia? Arthritis? What would that mean as far as quality of life, longevity, etc? I would just like to have some basis for a discussion with the vet before we get there in the morning.

Thanks everyone!
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 03:52 PM
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I would probably take her to get her hips done so you know and have peace of mind. I know a Hav with LCP so there are definitely hip issues in the breed. I think with little dogs, we don't notice them as much. She is older so I would keep her on joint supplement (I have my maltese on it and she is a lot younger)

ETA- the dog I know is middle age and seems happy. She had surgery but she can't walk as long but will stop and make you carry her when she gets tired. But I think she still has a good quality of life.

The things you mentioned also could be associated with her vision, just something to consider as well.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 04:47 PM
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I have no info but just wanted to offer support. It is so hard to see things go wrong with our furkids. They try to communicate but it would so much easier if they could talk.




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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, it breaks my heart to watch her. She's SOOOO sweet and has overcome so much in her fluffy little life.

Her vision is starting to fade, but she is definitely in pain sometimes in her back end. It really is hard to see her try to walk, and limp first on one foot then the other.

I'm definitely getting the x-rays tomorrow, and a full exam. Hopefully it's something that can be cured, or at least treated. I just can't stand to see her uncomfortable.

Thanks for your warm thoughts and support. I'll let you know what the vet says tomorrow.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-10-2010, 06:54 PM
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Tango will definitely be in my thoughts tomorrow. I hope the vet has some encouraging news for you after her exam.

As far as quality of life, longevity, etc., only you and Tango can make that call. I think you will know when it's her time. If it is arthritis, focus on keeping her as comfortable as possible. Supplements might help.

We're going through the same thing with my sister's 12-1/2 year old Akita. His back end is giving out and he's showing signs of Canine Cognitive Disorder. Still, he enjoys his favorite pastimes and trying to sneak food off the table. As long as his good days outnumber the bad, we're behind him 100%. For his hips we're giving him GlycoFlex III, which I order online via KV Vet. It has helped to keep him mobile. There are a ton of joint supplements out there, so you should be able to find something that works for Tango.

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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 07:32 AM
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I'm sorry to hear Tango is having trouble like this. The only other thing I wanted to mention is that if you live in an area where Lyme is endemic, and she hasn't been tested for it, you should ask the vet to do do so. Lyme also causes lameness in all sorts of places.

It can be treated with antibiotics, and that will stop further joint deterioration, and often make the animal (or person!) more comfortable. However, if they've had it long enough, the joint problems can become chronic.


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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-11-2010, 10:59 AM Thread Starter
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So I'm home from the vet. Yes, just me. Tango had to stay for the day. Remember when I said she feel about 1.5 years ago? Well, it likely caused a small tear in her ACL on her left hind leg.

Now that it's gone so long, her ACL is completely ruptured. She has massive swelling, and the vet was shocked that she was able to walk at all.

I feel SOOOOOO bad. How could I not have noticed this for over a year?!?

Well, actually I did notice. She's been limping off and on the whole time. I just couldn't bear to see it anymore.

The only things I can find comfort in are that she's been to the vet 3 times now since the fall (for regular checkups and to have her teeth cleaned) and this wasn't discovered. So obviously it's gotten worse recently, or it would have been diagnosed sooner.

And the second thing is the vet was actually in shock at how well Tango was behaving. Vet was manipulating her back leg, and Tango just lay there. No flinching, no sound, not even a tiny wiggle. The vet said that she's never been able to do that unless a dog was under sedation. Apparently it's incredibly painful.

So Tango has been in probably extreme pain for months now, and just never even let me know.

I did give her Metacam on the really bad days....which meant she didn't want to jump onto her "spot" on the sofa, or that she was limping a little after breakfast. The rest of the time things seemed OK.

But I can't even begin to describe how horrible I feel.

They are keeping her to do x-rays. They need to determine if surgery is even an option at this point. It might be so bad that surgery won't even fix it anymore. I'm not really sure what our options would be at that point. But I should have her back home today, so I'll keep you all posted.

My poor baby Tango!!!
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 05:59 PM
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Poor Tango, and poor you!!! But don't beat yourself up over it... it sounds like she hid her symptoms very well. From what you posted before, I would have thought it was just an ageing issue too.

We'll be keeping fingers and toes crossed for both of you!


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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-12-2010, 06:06 PM
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Tango and family

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-13-2010, 11:06 AM
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Sending hugs to you and Tango.
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