My dad and I read your column frequently, and a while ago you did a piece on an elderly dog with hip dysplasia. I own a dog with a slightly different situation, but he also has hip dysplasia. I am a 21-year-old college student and, against my parents' wishes, I adopted an 8-week-old mixed breed about a year ago. At the age of about 6 months, he slid on the tile floor and dislocated his hip and, consequently, injured his patella. His hip was put back into place and we were informed of his hip dysplasia. A couple of months later, he had a medial patellar luxation repair on his knee and recovered quite quickly. We have been to several vets who have said that he is probably part husky, Lab or shepherd and that this is common in these breeds. I have added turmeric, ginger and advanced-strength glucosamine powder to his diet that seems to help with his inflammation, and he has fewer "stiff" days. He gets regular exercise on the beach and on soft paths and will be swimming in my pool in warm weather. The veterinarian I'm seeing has suggested that being proactive and repairing his hips before the age of 2 might allow him to lead a normal life. However, as I stated before, I am a college student and am working part-time to pay off his surgery. Is there any hope for my young pup leading a normal life without another surgery? Is there anything else I can do?
J.K., Jupiter, FL Jul 18, 2011
I would delay the surgery on his hip(s), especially if his condition is not severe. Swimming is excellent physical therapy, along with jogging, but no racing or chasing balls or discs. Many dogs with mild congenital joint problems naturally compensate by building supportive muscle and joint tissues, even additional supportive bone, which is an arthritic reaction but may not cause discomfort or impair normal physical activity. Massage therapy, as per my book "The Healing Touch for Dogs," and additional supplements such as fish oil, chondroitin and MSM, in addition to what you are already giving him, and anti-inflammatory canine resveratrol may prove beneficial. Visit Dr. Fox's website at www.DrFoxVet.com/info.
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