Monday, September 04, 2006

Bad elbows - the other dysplasia.

Most people know what hip dysplasia is, but elbow dysplasia is also quite common, although often asymptomatic. Many dogs compensate for the structural fault in the joints by developing good musculature. This is one reason it's really important to keep dogs (and people) lean and well exercised. In some dogs, ED can be crippling and without corrective surgery they probably should be put down if it's severe.
If you look at the photo above, you will see that Cooper's front feet turn out a little. He has elbow dysplasia - UAP in both, FCP in the left elbow. Slightly rotated feet are a common indicator of unsound elbows.
This is the most comprehensive and clear article I have ever found on ED.

Cooper started limping at about 9 months of age. The ED was diagnosed by my vet a couple of months later (at first we thought it was a sprain; ED can be tricky to detect.) We were referred to an ortho specialist, and finally to MSU vet school for further exams and to discuss surgery. Yikes!
Well, this whole process took several months, and by the time he was 14 months old the limping had all but stopped. ED doesn't "cure" itself - the joint will always be somewhat deformed - but many factors (including probably luck) can determine
He wasn't overweight, but I slimmed him down even more. Under all that fur he is really very lean and muscular.
He has been on glucosamine/chrondritin/MSM since the initial diagnosis. He also gets fish oil; among many benefits it's highly touted as being good for joint health.
He gets lots of exercise and I get him into water as much as possible.
Considering his speed and athleticism in agility, at 5 years and 9 months old, he is doing awfully well!

One other thing that may contribute, especially in male dogs:
Later neutering, or not neutering at all. Male hormones play a large part in development of strong bones and dogs neutered early (before long bone growth has stopped between 12-18 months old) may have significantly higher rates of bone cancer and joint problems. The down-side of early neutering is not generally discussed, of course because advocates are more concerned with stemming the tide of unwanted animals, and quite rightly so. However if I have any say in the matter, future dogs of mine will be neutered late, or not at all. Cooper was neutered at 17 months old, and the late neutering may well have played a role in the improvement.

Cooper says water exercise is just the best!!


Blogger yellowdog granny said...

that is not only a great looking dog..that is a great picture...sigh* i miss not having a dog...that's why i have been so doggie to love me more than anything in the world....sigh*

4:21 PM  
Anonymous threecollie said...

Wonderful photo! He is a really lovely dog.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Is Cooper a Nuf? Sure looks like one!!

Our last dog was a Nuf mix...great dog! He lived to be almost 16. And, Davison Vet Hospital was our vet, also!! :-)

5:05 PM  
Anonymous jan said...

Thanks for passing the idea of late neutering along. I hadn't heard that but it does make sense.

The picture on the water should be captured in oil paints. Lovely!!

5:14 PM  
Blogger Carina said...

Jackiesue, Daphne and Cooper both love you! Daphne would crawl in your lap and do her best impression of a 70lb lap dog....

Thanks threecollie! I think so too. :)

Karen - he looks like he could be - no, he is 100% Rottweiler but with a "fault" coat. Recessive genes - he comes from an excellent breeding but this could not be predicted.

Jan thanks, a friend fixed the crooked horizon line for me, I replaced the photo and now it's little. Oh well! I took these photos this morning at Bluebell Beach (Karen knows where that is, I'm sure!)

6:45 PM  
Blogger jill bryant said...

What an incredible pup! (I just looked at both posts).

I did want to ask you if you ever checked out the Orthodogs group on Yahoo! Since he's doing so well, you don't need the advice but you might want to share info...(yes - in your "spare" time). Anyway, that's where I learned about the early neutering/spaying (they say female hormones are involved, too)problems. It is a dilemma but I feel lucky I didn't fix my pup earlier than a year because she was a rescue. If I'd had her as a puppy, I probably would've spayed her earlier...

1:43 AM  
Blogger Carina said...

Jill - thanks for visiting and Honey is a beaut!
Ha. I belong to about a zillion yahoogroups but don't have the time to follow most of them - maybe I'll join orthodogs, just as reference. Thanks!
Yah - there's quite a few down-sides to early speutering; I haven't blogged about it much, for several reasons...if I have a say in the matter, future dogs of mine will remain intact, at least until full adulthood.

5:49 AM  

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