Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Second Opinion for Hip Dysplasia - part II

Subject: A Second Opinion for Hip Dysplasia - 7 month old Yellow Lab - part II.

From: Tara (USA)

Labrador Retriever's Name: Bailey

Reader's E-mail - Tara Writes:


Thank you for getting back with me.

Bailey will be 7 months old on August 28th. I do like my vet but I felt like he was more interested in scolding me rather then talking to me about what may be wrong with Bailey. He just acted like I had a lazy dog. He just kept repeating that I need to walk Bailey so he doesn't become overweight, which I don't think he is because you can see his ribs when he walks.

As far as the symptoms:

He doesn't really have trouble getting up and down the stairs but he will sit at the top of the stairs like he doesn't want to come down and so you will have to open the door before he will come down the stairs. The only other symptom he has is he really prefers to sit rather then stand. He has been that way since I got him.

I walk Bailey on several types of surfaces: dirt, concrete, running trail, and gravel.

The other forms of exercise are: swimming - he LOVES to swim, in fact, I am battling his second ear infection right now (on a side note: is it safe to use swimmers ear on Bailey? It is hard to keep him out of the water because he has free access to a swimming pool and so the ear infections just won't go away).
Continue Reading...

Bailey also gets to play with Buster or another little friend his age for several hours each week. I don't want him becoming aggressive with other dogs so I have exposed him to other dogs since he was 12 weeks old. He loves play time and when I mention Buster's name he runs to the door :-)

I do not give Bailey any supplements. I feed him a mixture of Science Diet Nature's Best for Puppy and Nutro Natural Choice Large Breed Puppy food with growth control formula. Is there something else that I need to be giving him?

I got Bailey from a breeder. I had been looking for months for a puppy and I came across this one lady north of where I lived. She wasn't very knowledgeable when I asked her about whether her dogs were OFA certified. But I had asked her if I could come look at the mother and father and the puppies, which she let me do. When I got there I checked both the mother's and father's hips (just to see if they were sensitive to touch) and they didn't seem to mind at all. I just figured that this breeder was kinda "backwoods" and she just happened to have two beautiful dogs that mated. I asked how many litters had come from the female and she said this was her third litter in 4 years.

Fay, I hope I have not rambled on too much. I tend to talk a little too much about my puppy (just cause he is my baby). If you need anything else please feel free to ask. THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the answers you have already given me. I REALLY appreciate all your help so far. Thanks again!


All About Labradors Blog Answer:

Hi Tara,

The information given here is to help you learn more about your Labrador Retriever and not to replace your veterinarian's advice. Disclaimer

Thank you for the replies to my questions.

In regards to Hip Dysplasia and weight, our Labradors love to eat, and we have to make sure that Labrador Retriever puppies be kept lean, as a Lab puppy that carries around too much weight will aggravate any deterioration of the joint. Diets that are too high in protein and calcium can also aggravate the condition. The reason I asked about supplements was because an over supplementation of calcium has been shown to be a factor in the development of skeletal diseases in puppies. Feeding a very high-calorie diet to a growing Labrador can aggravate a predisposition to hip dysplasia, because the rapid weight gain places increased stress on the hips.

Here is a good chart in helping you evaluate your Labrador Retrievers weight:

Body Condition System - http://www.purina.com.sg/caredog_bodycondition.html

Exercise is another risk factor. Moderate exercise for your Lab pup and the development of muscle mass is essential for good health. Sometimes Labrador Retriever owners over exercise young puppies or give them the wrong type of exercise. Exercises such as jumping, standing on the back legs, and exercising on hard surfaces should be discouraged in young Labrador puppies, as it extra stress on the joints.

Swimming is an excellent form of exercise which builds up the muscles without putting stress on the joints!

There are many conditions that can mimic the signs of hip dysplasia - spinal problems, bone diseases, metabolic diseases (hypothyroidism), and joint diseases, among others.

Here's a website with much more information on Hip Dysplasia that may be helpful for you (be advised not all the links on this page work):

Canine Hip and Elbow Dysplasia Resources -


This one shows some x-rays of hip dysplasia and has more information for you -


Here is an interesting article, Ester-C: Miracle Cure for Hip Dysplasia??? -


As for Bailey's ear problems:

For post swimming I would continue to use the swimmers ear astringent to help evaporate the water out of the ear canal.

The best preventive measure against ear infections is performing regular ear inspections. Both your eyes and your nose can help detect a problem. Bailey's ears should have a clean, light pinkish color and should have no foul smell to them. Puss like substance discharges, waxy discharges and foul smell to ears are signs of a problem in your Labs ears. Your veterinarian will be able to show you what to look for in potential problems.

As far as a successful regimen of treatment, cleaning of Bailey's ears regularly is your best bet. Frequency of cleaning will vary, especially in the warmer months and after swimming or bathing.

Here is the recipe for the "Blue Power Ear Treatment", which is what I use with my Labrador girls.

"Blue Power Ear Treatment" Ingredients:

16 Oz. Isopropyl Alcohol (Witch Hazel)
4 Tablespoons Boric Acid Powder
16 Drops Gentian Violet Solution 1%

Mix together in alcohol bottle and shake well. You will also need to shake solution every time you use it to disperse the Boric Acid Powder. An eye dropper can be used to fill the ear.

TREATMENT: Evaluate condition of ears before treating and if very inflamed and sore do not attempt to pull hair or clean out ear at all. Wait until inflammation has subsided which will be about 2 days.

Shake the bottle each time before using. Flood the ear with solution (gently squirt bottle), massage gently for approximately a minute, and then wipe with a cloth or tissue. Flood again a second time, and wipe again without massaging in. The dog will shake out the excess, which you can wipe with a cotton ball (never clean with a cotton swab, as debris can be pushed further into the ear canal). Be advised, the Gentian Violet does stain.

The SCHEDULE of treatment is as follows:

Treat 2 xs per day for the first week to two weeks depending upon severity of ears

Treat 1x per day for the next 1-2 weeks

Treat 1x per month (or even less frequently, depending on the dog)

All of these ingredients should be available at your local pharmacy. I like to use witch hazel instead of alcohol, as if any scratches are in the ear, the alcohol can cause burning. The Boric Acid Powder soothes the ear and the Gentian Violet Solution is an ant-infection agent. The solution appears to work well on many ear problems. I also like to warm my solution slightly, under warm water, to prevent the cold water "shock", but you can use it either way. There is also a commercial version of this solution called Gentian Ear Treatment.

I was also told about a vitamin E based ear infection tonic used by one of the readers of this blog, who stated this tonic worked wonders for their Labrador Retriever's ears. I had never heard about it before, but they swear by it. To learn more visit:


As for your original question in regards to a second opinion, as I stated before it's totally up to you. I can not observe Bailey, and only go by what you tell me. You were not happy with the first diagnosis from your veterinarian, so what I would recommend is to read the information provided here and the other links provided, and then make your decision. If it were my Labrador girls, and I was not happy with the initial diagnosis, I would definitely take them for a second opinion.

Tara, I hope I was able to help you in some way. Please keep me updated with Bailey's condition and with whatever you do decided to do, be it visiting the veterinarian or not.

Take care of yourself and Bailey,





Vet Med Small Anim Clin. 1968 Mar;63(3):238-45. New observations on the diagnosis and cause of hip dysplasia. Bardens JW, Hardwick H.

Evaluation of risk factors for degenerative joint disease associated with hip dysplasia in dogs. Smith GK, Popovitch CA, Gregor TP, Shofer FS. ...

References of Interest - http://stason.org/TULARC/animals/dogs/medical-information/32-Hip-Dysplasia-References-of-Interest.html

This is part two of a two part e-mail. To read part one visit: A Second Opinion for Hip Dysplasia - part I

Visit Bailey... with special guest Buster 04/29/08 to see Bailey and Buster.

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