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

  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 (14 year old kitten)
    (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), Diego RB 04/12/21

  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
    Sep 2002
    Cincinnati, Ohio USA
    I am so sorry, Kate. For Kirk, for you. You will do what you think is best with the breeder. Maybe a letter would be best?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Northern California
    Oh nooo :'< I'm so sorry, what a horrible thing for you & Kirk to have to go through SO incredibly early on.

    I cannot imagine how hard that must be for you & your little boy! I know, that keeping my 5 month-old quiet after his neuter is an immense pain, for 1 week... much less semi-permanently. I'm really really hoping that it will improve with growth, and his surgeries will be successful. Poor little guy! It's a shock that a pup with parents who are good & excellent rated could develop HD right away... wow. You should definitely call the breeder and inquire about previous pups and littermates, that is not in any way rude! If I was his breeder, I would absolutely want to know, and she will probably be willing to help you out. Is there a guarantee on his genetic health?

    My advice (and I'm sure your Vets advice) is to get him swimming/doing low-impact exercise and building up lots of muscle, as often as possible. My Flyball trainers Staffy also had 2 bad hips at a young age, and what kept her relatively pain-free until surgery was all of the muscle in her hindquarters, from swimming and exercise.

    <3 Erica, Fozz n' Gonz

  9. #9
    Kate and Kirk my heart goes out to you both {{Hugs}}. I am sending lots of positives vibes your way. I cannot offer any advice but want you to know you will be in my thoughts.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Never has the Last word.
    I've been replying to you in LJ - just posting here to show my support and for any updates!
    Keegan 9/28/2001 to June 9, 2012
    Kylie (June 2000 to 5/19/2012)
    "we as American's have forgotten we can agree to disagree"
    Kylie the Queen, Keegan the Princess, entertained by Kloe the court Jester
    Godspeed Phred and Gini you will be missed more than you ever know..

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Upstate NY
    I am so sorry, that is devestating news.

    Don't let your co-workers bother you. I know it's hard but remember you are an excellent dog owner and you know that, that is all that matters hon.

    If you are not at all comfortable talking to your breeder perhaps a letter or email would be better? I have to say, this post is very well written. A phone call is more personal, and you will be able to resolve more that way, and faster too. Be honest with her, tell her what you told us, that you are not sure where to start. After that maybe say something along the lines like, Kirk is an excellent dog, he's really working out for us (IF he is & if you are willing to keep him despite this disease) but we've been noticing some problems.. (explain the symptoms you've been seeing) a trip to the vet confirmed what I have thought.... (give the details of the exam, x-rays, etc..) he has severe

    Yous will be in my thoughts. {{{hugs}}} Good luck sweetie.
    Soar high & free my sweet fur angels. I love you Nanook & Raustyk... forever & ever.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Northern Colorado
    Thanks so much for all the thoughtful and helpful replies. I am going to try to respond to some of your great ideas and questions.

    Queen of Poop - He is quite a chewer! The slow & steady type. I am stocked up on a rawhide type chew which is twisted around a chicken jerky core - he loves them! I also throw in bully sticks now and then. However, he is teething right now. I guess most of the baby teeth are gone, but he has a lot of teeth still growing in, so he has eased up on the chewies and been more interested in frozen kongs. Maybe they feel better on a sore mouth, like a teething ring? I should probably look for some more chewie types to keep him interested, but so many of them are made of such crappy by-product ingredients.
    I found this site of recoup activity suggestions: and will be on the lookout for more ideas/sites.

    My Peanuts - I am trying to see that silver lining. The fact that a TPO might be an option should be regarded as a blessing in disguise. Now I just have to hope that he has adequate depth of the hip sockets to make this a viable option. Please pray for him, PTers! I did see the x-rays, but it hard for me to compare them based only on my memory and taking into account my lack of experience with such diagnostics. Yes, it was shallow, but how shallow is too shallow and how does it compare with whatever rads I find online.... These are not questions I can answer, so I am trying to be patient and wait to hear what the surgeon tells Dr. A.

    Giselle – I work at a vet clinic, so these co-workers are vet techs (I don't think that was clear). I am probably being too sensitive about their comments, but I cannot believe how much flak I am getting compared to how little support they are offering. I guess they treat clients better than they a friend and co-worker. I was hoping for at least the same courtesy. *sigh*
    Thank you for your tips regarding communication with the breeder. I did call her tonight and will summarize that at the end of the post. Hopefully that will address your questions.

    Bckrazy - Thanks for bringing up rehab. I meant to address that in my first post, but I did not want to get completely ahead of myself since I have yet to even speak with the surgeon. Anyway, assuming we go ahead with the surgery, I definitely want to do everything I can to make his recovery as productive as possible in terms of healing and maintaining muscle, range of motion, etc. We are exercising him fairly cautiously right now, and I have watched his muscles visibly atrophy in his hind legs over the last month. I hate to see it happen, but he is in (increasing) pain and we cannot risk popping his hip(s) out. I would loooooooove to do acupuncture on him ASAP post-op, but he may not have the personality for it. Some dogs tolerate it, and some don't. Even though I try to do a hands-on physical with him every night at home, he is still a bit of a terror at the vet's when we do the physical exam- even when Dr. A has me do it!! If he can't handle that, then I don't think he'll likely tolerate take the needles. It is a rare young dog that tolerates acupuncture, to be honest. (For those who don't know or remember – I work part-time (tech/kennels) in a 3-doctor vet clinic. I primarily work with a vet who practices both Eastern and Western medicine - specifically she is an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist.) There are other options of course, like hydrotherapy, massage, acupressure, t-touch, etc. I still have lots of research to do regarding post-op care & physical therapy. Thankfully I have an amazing resource in Dr. A!

    I just came across some more things to add to my worry list. Apparently the sciatic nerve can be nicked during the plate drilling process, and this can result in paralysis of the leg. Additionally a double TPO causes a narrowing of the pelvis, which can result in difficulties with elimination and gas. The hardware can also loosen, mainly the screws. However, after the bone has completely healed this rarely happens. It is probably good that I am finding out about these possible risks now. This way I can ask the surgeon how often she has encountered such results.

    The phone call. Well, Kirk's breeder was very surprised and honestly saddened and concerned by the news. She confirmed that the Dad was OFA tested and Speedy's (bitch) grandmother was too, since she bred her. Well, that is not exactly what she told me. She said the parents were tested. They were tested once (as far as I could tell) and were rated "good". I did not ever see the papers. This probably looks really manipulative, but there is also a lot of context here.


    Hawaii is a small place, and ethical breeder is a highly relative term. There is one BC breeder who I would consider ethical by ANY standards, not just Hawaii standards, but she is not breeding now or anytime in the near future as far as I can tell. She is a friend and we asked her what she thought of this breeder, and she didn’t have anything negative to say. Anyway, this is not a decision I need to defend at this point. If you read my introductory thread you will see that getting this dog was my father's choice and he did it his way. I am not going to beat myself up over this, but I will learn from it and I am starting to realize that maybe this is just fate at work anyway. We honestly considered getting a dog from NZ (my parents visited breeders when they were over there), but the cost of the shipping arrangements and stress on the animal (especially a young one) seem unwarranted. Along the same lines we considered getting a dog from a California or west coast rescue since breed rescue hardly exists here. Same issues.

    There were no reported hip problems in Speedy's first litter, nor has she heard anything from owners of Kirk's littermates. However, she is only able to directly contact two of the other littermate owners. I guess they all have her contact information, but she did not insist on getting theirs. She assured me that she would contact them ASAP, and also would get back to me if she hears about any HD or other problems with the littermates. She was just as surprised as you and I that such a bad case of HD could come out of the pairing. She said she would not breed to Kirk's Dad again, but didn't explicitly say she would never breed Speedy again.

    She offered to take him back , refund half or all of the purchasing cost, and even offered to help pay for the surgery. I told her that I was not seeking compensation, simply wanting to update her and inform her. Well, she insisted that I get back to her about the cost of the surgeries and his progress. Perhaps I will let her refund some of his purchase price, in light of the fact that the bill for the surgeries might be much more than I am anticipating. She reiterated her thanks for letting her know and continued to apologize to the moment before we hung up.

    I don't really know what else to say about the phone call. I think I fulfilled my reasons for calling. I am…. exhausted. Emotionally drained. Too exhausted to completely sort out my feelings and logic in regards to all of this.


    P.S. Pics soon! I don't think I've taken any in over a month!

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

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    I am very sorry to hear about Kirks hips.
    I am glad you let the breeder know.
    In all fairness to you, the surgery probably will not be cheap.
    In my humble opinion I think the breeder should at least
    refund the full purchase price of Kirk or pay for part of
    his surgery. (and keeping Kirk of course)

    Hugs and don't pay attention to your co-workers.


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    indianapolis,indiana usa

    It is so heartbreaking to hear sad news about Kirk. I am so sorry that
    you both have to deal with this at all.My RB Buddy had very bad hips as well,
    and he was not a purebred dog.When I first discovered his problems as a pup
    of just a few months old, I felt like someone had kicked me in the stomach.

    This is so terribly sad for the animal that has to suffer so much because of
    some careless people.So unfair to see a active dog who can never understand why they can't run & play like any other dog. Why they have so
    much pain doing normal dog things. I hope & pray that Kirk can be helped
    with surgery.He might never be the althlete you hoped for, but I hope it is
    possible to help him have a fairly normal life.I wish you both the very best
    outcome possible. (((HUGS))) Liz.
    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

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Northern California
    That was a very comforting response from your breeder, I must admit! I'm glad you informed her and I hope things improve for you and Kirk. Get well, Kirk!!! We're all rooting for you.

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