Thursday, July 19, 2012

We Develop a Plan

Yesterday I met with an orthopedic surgeon. He spent 90 minutes with me, showing me the x-rays, examining Chou Chou, and I asked a lot of questions! 

He reassured me that I didn't do anything wrong; it is inherited.

I am willing to do whatever it takes to make Chou most comfortable. He recommended against surgery, because her hip dysplasia is not severe and she is young. He also said that hip replacement surgery has a high rate of infection and mechanical failure. He told me that I should manage her condition, until (if ever) it gets much worse and then consider surgery. 

He said the only surgeon in this area who does hip replacement surgery -- the only type of surgery Chou could have, based on her age and weight -- is at U.C. Davis vet school; I made a consultation appointment with that surgeon, for Aug 13. He recommended I keep that appointment and get further information.

Her hip bones will not improve in shape, but if the bones don't shift and grind together, she will not be in pain; strong muscles can hold the bones steady, and joint lubrication can be improved. He emphasized that he believes in "treating the dog, not the x-rays." If she is doing well with supplements, lots of exercise, Adequan injections, etc., then she won't need surgery. 

It is most important to keep her thin, he said, so there is less strain on her joints. Good thing I've had her on a diet since April. He told me her weight is good now (61 lbs.). 

Chou Chou plays hard -- pawing and wrestling with the other puppies each night at the schoolyard. The doctor said this was good for her muscles, so I should continue to let her do that, letting her pace herself. 

I will begin giving Chou Chou omega 3 fish oil, which he said was very important. He ordered the Adequan, so she will begin the injections next week, and he encouraged lots of walking. That will be good for me, too.

Today I had my second consultation, a doctor with a different approach; this veterinarian has a practice that includes physical therapies. Her opinion was the same as the orthopedic surgeon: x-rays show moderate HD; no surgery for now; try adequan injections and omega 3.

She also recommended a supplement, Dasuquin, so I purchased that today, and the physical therapies underwater treadmill and lasers. 

Tonight I talked with Chou's regular vet, and now we have a plan. I am much more hopeful. I will keep the third consultation with the renowned surgeon at U.C. Davis next month, but it seems probable that Chou will not have surgery. She will start the adequan injections, twice a week at first, on Monday, and underwater treadmill Wednesday. I started the omega 3 and Dasuquin. 

If I do all of this, I may be able to keep her pain-free. That's the goal.

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