Author Topic: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!  (Read 477 times)

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Offline Ariel

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MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« on: November 19, 2017, 08:25:39 PM »
TL;DR: I was told Jubilee had hip AND elbow dysplasia, she's actually fine and her career as a service dog and secondarily as a sport dog will not be impacted at all.



I've barely breathed for a month now. I've been terrified to. A month ago I took Jubilee to get xrays done of her hips and elbows for OFA because she turned 2 (earliest it can get done officially) in September. It isn't required by her breeder because she's not being bred, but as a mobility dog I want to make sure the dog I'm working is orthopedically sound to do all I need from her. She is a sport dog who does several high impact sports also and making sure she has no major orthopedic concerns is important as well.

I read good reviews online about OFA xrays from the vet practice I use with my dogs. I dropped Jubilee off at 7:45am and was told she'd be ready for pick up before 4:00pm. I called at 1:00pm to ask how she was doing and was told she was awake, happy and bouncing around, and to hang on for a minute. The vet then gets on the phone and tells me she thinks Jubilee has a dysplastic right elbow and moderate hip dysplasia and wants to talk to me about "options to keep her comfortable". I managed to thank her and tell her I'd talk to her breeder first before hanging up and bursting into hysterical tears.

I get there with my horribly blotchy face and had multiple people ask me if I was ok. They bring out Jubi, I pay, and take the CD I asked them to make for me with the images to show her breeder. I broke down on the phone driving home absolutely hysterical because GWPs as a breed do not generally have issues with hip dysplasia and Jubi's breeder hasn't produced any dysplasia that she knows of (in any dogs graded by OFA or with obvious symptomatic hip issues) and all dogs she's bred that have been tested in the last 20+ years have gotten passing grades from OFA on hips and elbows.

I checked the images when I got home and the positioning was terrible on both the hip and elbow films, but it was obvious that there were severe looking issues with the hips, left in particular. I sent them to her breeder who suggested I call and ask for a redo or refund because there was no way to tell what her hips looked like with her pelvis so tilted. I did, and the vet clinic supervisor agreed with me. Apparently they had it in the system that Jubilee was just getting a basic scan to look for arthritis (despite me specifically mentioning OFA) and the person who scheduled me wasn't an employee any more because of "mix ups" like that.

So I got to wake up at the butt crack of dawn the next day to bring Jubi into the clinic again. I'm so glad this dog loves the world (and the vet office) because I asked them to try and get her redos unsedated because I didn't want her sedated twice in a 24 hour period. They sent those off to OFA after the vet approved them, but didn't tell me what she thought. I was sent home with another CD. I showed her breeder, and her breeder said she didn't think there was anything wrong with the elbows that she could see but with hips it was really questionable, she hoped OFA would grade them fair, but that the left hip looked still as if it had a bit of mild subluxation even though it looked worlds better than the first xray.

She told me she couldn't stop me from freaking out, but not to change anything with Jubi for the time being because she wasn't in pain and had never shown pain and she would rather me get a consult from her vet if OFA did not grade the hips to pass. So I've been barely breathing. Then I got the OFA grades: Normal elbows (not dysplastic!) but that left hip did come back with having Unilateral Mild Dysplasia due to subluxation. Same day set up an appointment with her breeder's vet. Friday (two days ago) I got the xrays of her hips redone at her breeder's vet.

Jubilee's breeder has been using the same vet for more I think 15 years. He is not an orthopedic specialist, but he has a great deal of orthopedic experience, more than the average vet. He thought Jubi's hip xray was different enough from the previous that was sent and graded Mild by OFA to be worth getting sent in for another grading. He thinks it will get Fair, which is a passing grade. He said almost verbatim "Regardless of whatever OFA says, it's an educated opinion, but one based on the single image alone. I've had my hands on this dog, she has normal hips. I see normal hips when I look at those xrays. I do not foresee any reason why she will have any pain or arthritic changes before about 10 years of age, if ever. Do as much as you enjoy for as long as it's enjoyable."

I've started her on a hip and joint supplement because at the very least it can't hurt her and she thinks it tastes awesome. I'm so relieved, so grateful to the universe, so thankful to everyone here at SDC who sent a little warmth in our direction. I am grateful my partner does not have dysplasia and I'm not having to make hard choices about what tasks I need and if/when to retire her early. I am beyond thrilled not to think about puppies, because I don't like them, and even more, at this stage in Jubilee's life with her current physical and mental exercise requirements, I could not fairly meet her needs and do justice by a puppy both in terms of attention and training. The most painful part about that, is that if Jubi needed to retire early, I'd be in the same situation I was with Saxon.

I told people (and it's still true) that I didn't replace Saxon with Jubilee, I never could, but that Saxon's job now had an opening that needed filling. Because I can't get a puppy with two older dogs and Jubi, and I've learned I'm so much more functional with a service dog, if at this point I needed to start looking again, I'd almost certainly need to find Jubi a new home and the thought breaks my heart to type it out even though it won't need to happen. Blessedly, there is no reason to think Jubilee is unhealthy or incapable of being my partner for many, many more years to come. Breathing feels so, so good.
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Offline Ariel

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Re: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2017, 08:30:35 PM »
Here are pics of Jubi's xrays.
https://imgur.com/a/4YO8w

They include the one taken at 17 weeks when she slipped on the teeny patch of hardwood floor in front of my door at my old apartment. I think I actually posted about that like two years ago almost when it happened. The red circles I've drawn is showing how much of the femoral heads are in the acetabula. Anything less than 50% of the femoral head covered by the acetabulum is considered dysplastic. The greater the degree of coverage, the better the grade would be. In the most recent xray both hips appear to show greater than 50% coverage, which would likely warrant an OFA Fair grading. OFA Excellent hips will have nicely rounded femoral heads that sit tightly in the acetabula and are almost completely covered.

The lines on top of the hips, at the knees, and at the ischial tuberosity (the pointed part of the pelvic bone) should ideally be straight across, which would show they are on the same plane. I've also drawn a line up the spine, because the spine should be straight and centered. I've drawn circles around the obturator foramen (circular holes in the pelvic bone) because those should be the same size and distance from the spine, and on the same plane in an ideally positioned hip xray.

The femurs ideally should be straight and on the same plane (shown by knees being aligned) with the knees rotated inward, but not over-rotated. In the newest xray which will likely get graded OFA Fair, it is a very good positioning but the left knee is slightly over-rotated. You can tell this because the left femur is not dropping a straight line parallel to the right femur. This over-rotation is confirmed when looking at her knees. The left leg was pulled slightly harder than the right and slightly more inwardly rotated, and this shows up as the knees not being on the same plane.

Hip dysplasia is rated as Mild, Moderate, or Severe. Dysplasia can be either bilateral (both hips) or unilateral (one hip, as was thought to be the case for Jubi). Passing scores are Fair, Good, and Excellent. I've spent way too many hours this past month learning all about it, and I figured there are a few who enjoy learning but hopefully without the scary experience prompting the knowledge consumption. I figure some of you will get OFA and/or PennHIP xrays or minimally xrays for orthopedic structural evaluation for service work for your service dog, or may have already gotten them but don't know how to read them. So, yeah, with my scary month of no breathing, I've learned quite a bit!


« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 08:32:49 PM by Ariel »
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Re: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2017, 09:00:09 PM »
What a relief!  Dysplasia is a scary thing!

Offline missythewriter

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Re: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2017, 09:09:06 PM »
Oh Ariel, I am SO glad to hear everything is okay with Jubi! She is such a spunky dog who lives and breathes working for you, and I know it sould break both of your hearts to have to retire her. You have been through enough with short-lived working lives of service dogs. About time you have a service dog that can actually help you for a number of years!

At least with this scare, you've been able to learn quite a bit about hip dysplasie. That will certainly be helpful in your future as a dog handler and owner.

Offline Kirsten

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Re: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2017, 09:38:28 PM »
Hon, I wish you'd talked to me about this at the time.

1.  Regular vets are generally not great at reading these films.
2.  I'll take the word of a vet who does a lot of OFA films and has been in practice a long time (to see how his interpretations turn out) over the OFA score, which can be a little flexible.

Positioning is extremely important.

Also, Ruby has a mildly displastic hip, which is why she was spayed.  At 12 she's finally showing a little bit of a hitch in her gait over it.  Her OFA good mother and OFA excellent father both showed some signs of arthritis and general old age at 12 as well.  So even if she was mildly displastic it's not a guarantee of problems to come.  You take common sense precautions and carry on.  Being active and trim will do more than anything else to secure good hip health for life.

Don't you think you owe that girl a congratulatory burger or ice cream for the sedation and having to watch you worry all this time?

:congratulations:
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Offline Azariah

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Re: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2017, 10:06:54 PM »
I am so sorry you have gone through all this stress.

Casper was my first working dog and he had patella luxation (luxating elbows). Working him actually locked in his knee as muscle was built around it. We Had a non sedating scan done every 2 years to monitor. Never a hint of arthritis.

Rio actually has moderate hip dysphasia. She was in pain when we retired her at eight. We unretired her till this year and her pain went away. Weight loss and gentle exercise helped her a ton.

My friend has a dog where the entire litter got hip displaysia. The whole litter also has the Mach title in agility. Mom was spayed but did not slow down the offspring.

So not a death sentence. The supplements did help Casper and do help Rio. Particularly in the winter.
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Offline Arrowcom

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Re: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2017, 11:19:07 PM »
Oh my. Just reading your post I got tense and then relived! So SO happy everything turned out okay. You deserve a break my friend.
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Offline Moonsong

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Re: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2017, 11:38:33 PM »
That's great news, Ariel! I'm glad that Jubi is okay.
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Offline Ariel

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Re: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2017, 03:00:10 AM »
Thank you all. Kirsten, I wish I'd thought to send you a PM. Honestly, I kind of dug myself into a bit of a secrecy hole. After I opted to have Saxon euthanized and posted to let people following know she wouldn't be coming home or have any more testing strangers from the Facebook SD community jumped out of the woodwork to testify as expert witnesses in various crimes I'd committed including (but not limited to): abusing Saxon, poisoning her so she'd get sick so I could have attention, euthanizing a healthy dog because I was a sociopath, getting bored of her and getting rid of her to get a new puppy. Strangers from the SD community PMed close friends and family members to demand to know what really happened to Saxon.

I had consulted several highly experienced GWP people, including a breeder that is a DVM with a dog with moderate hip dysplasia that went HiT in Obedience at our Nationals. I was unanimously told to keep doing everything with her because keeping her lean and fit would be the best thing for her if she was not experiencing any pain or lameness (as she never has). Had Jubi's hips in the xray from Friday not come back looking like that left hip would pass I probably would have taken the advice of Jubi's breeder and the people I trusted to seek the opinions of but lived in fear for the day someone got nosy and decided to search Jubi's registered name in the OFA database. Then I'm sure I'd get all sorts of hell all over again.

Every few months someone kicks Saxon's name back up again, the last thing I need is to have a dirty ethically questionable secret in hiding. Of course, it would be damned if I do, damned if I don't if I ever had to find Jubi a new home to prematurely accommodate a new service dog trainee puppy. That would just "confirm" that I get rid of dogs when I get bored and want to get a newer model. I'm just grateful my dog is ok, and secondarily that I'm not in an ethical crunch where I'd have to live in terror of convincing random entitled strangers that I know my own dog, I watch her, I listen to her, and out of absolute respect for her comfort, safety, and health, will do nothing but what I think is right by her.

Seriously, it just keeps rocking me over and over with hope that maybe Jubi will see the third birthday Saxon wasn't lucky enough to. As stupid as it sounds, it's like maybe a spell will be broken and maybe I'll get to have a service dog that can work for many years and gracefully retire to being a couch-warming, spoiled senior citizen. I have so much love and respect for this dog who currently is upside down on her back next to me with her paw draped over my arm. I will always do what's right by her and do everything in my power to make sure all my decisions about her are informed and thoughtful. Wow, nearly 4:00am thoughts that got all deep and sad. Yeah, just rambles. Thanks for sympathetic sighs of relief.
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Re: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2017, 04:19:26 AM »
Wow Ariel.  What horrible thing to have gone through.  People are horrible sometimes!

It's clear that you love your dogs.  Jubi is an amazing dog and I'm so glad that she's going to be able to continue to do dog sports with you and her epic beard!

Offline BillBRNC

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Re: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2017, 03:44:40 PM »
Ariel, I read you first message and then read to end of all replies and such. What a horrible experience. What Kirsten said is absolute right. My doc, Doc, got checked for this when I got him. The program told me to have it done, but they had had it done a while earlier and all was ok. My local vet called and told me that Doc had significant hip and something else dysplasia, and also some type of heart problem I don't remember. Well the program owner/director went totally crazy, and breeder go a plane and flew half way across the country, and we all went to a specialist in the town where the program is located. Everyone agreed, including the local vet, that the guy who was going to take the pictures and read them is the best in the country. Now I doubt that, but they sure think he is the big cheese. First, I told them no anesthesia as Doc was loopy from the first one. All this happedended in like 48 hours or something fast. Everyone said crazy not to have him put to sleep for the test. My program director/owner, guranteed that Doc would stay perfectly still through the entire process, so they went on and did the stuff. To most everyone's surprise, but my program and me, Doc was perfect throughout. Well, it turns out his hips and such were actually close to textbook perfect. Turns out two things. First, the local vet really didn't know how to read the films, and they positioned Doc wrong for the test and Doc was asleep so he didn't do it. Same for the heart issue. Doc had a perfect heart. The breeder was happy, but mad that I had used of local vet. The program lady, who I liked and she personally came to my home to deliver Doc (far away from her home) and then work with me, she asked me why in the world I took Doc to a local vet, and by the way why did I even undertake to do it in the first place. My response was simple: Debbie, you told me to, so that's what I did. I told her I thought it was crazy to let me just go out and pick someone to do it, but I didn't want to question her as she is the expert. Debbie then said something to the effect, oh my I must have had my brain turned off, as in her brain. We all knew that my brain was usually turned off because of the reason why I was getting Doc in the first place. So, long reply, but I truly know how you felt. I was going pure crazy, because I had been around and with Doc a lot by then when he was at the program place, and I just could not see dumping him on the trash heap for a new dog. Doc is right next to me now, and I will now give him a big hug. Glad for your outcome. Bill.
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Offline mommagrizzly

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Re: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2017, 04:52:20 PM »
YAY!! That is great news.
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Offline Sheenar

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Re: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2017, 07:26:37 PM »
That is wonderful news!! : D
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Offline KaeBee

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Re: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2017, 07:28:38 PM »
I'm crying tears of happiness and relief for you.

Offline Ariel

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Re: MY DOG IS NOT DYSPLASTIC!
« Reply #14 on: November 21, 2017, 09:06:36 PM »
Thank you all. I really love Jubi and am very satisfied with her as a partner.
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