How do you handle play with other dogs? As I mentioned in another post recently Dee has one speed as far as play goes....full throttle! Her hips aren't great and rough play isn't the best plan, thus she doesn't get a lot of play with other dogs. I have friends with smaller dogs, but I'm not sure how the little guys would fair with the rowdy Lab play and not sure if she would adjust her intensity down to suit their size. She's not very big, but she's solid. Anyway, I feel badly for her because she is always desperate to play and more often than not I have to say no. I had every intention of getting another dog (I'd hoped another Lab) when she was 3 or 4 years old, but now I wonder if it would be a good idea....knowing how they would likely play and that it could damage her hips. I hope to avoid her having to have surgery down the line...or at least put it off for as long as possible. From what I read it sounds like it is often unsuccessful. I know the majority of you have multiple dogs... and for those who have dogs with even moderate hip problems/dysplasia I wonder how you handle it. Thanks.
I allow Rider to play and compete as he feels up to it. My vet encourages exercise and especially swimming...and keeping at a nice weight.
You really need to talk to you vet. Is she showing any signs of pain?
Dani, Rider & Rookie
SHR Watson's Safari Rider, JH, WC, CL1-R, RA, CGC, TDI
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Axl has hip dysplasia and now a torn cruciate ligament. Before his last injury he would play once or twice a week with his best friend Burton who is a daisy dog (bichon,shitzu, poodle mix). They would wrestle and chase but when he got tired he would just take a break and lay down. Usually Burton gave in before him. Now he is desperately wanting to play with Burton who came to the door to get him yesterday and it broke my heart to say no. These two love each other and Axl just whimpered for about a half hour venting his disappointment.
The only thing I intervene in is when other dogs hump Gabby at the dog park- that's just too much strain on hips with HD. Plus, it's just terrible doggy manners.
Honestly, the way I see is this: the more I let her play around other dogs, the less wound up she's going to be when she does. Therefore, because she's less wound up, she's going to be less likely to hurt herself when she does get to.
I think the dog should be a dog. If it's experiencing any discomfort they know it. Exercise is far better than being a couch potato. Swimming is great for HD.
We let Annie do what she felt like. However, she loved playing and rough-housing with other dogs (mostly at day care) so much that she would come home and lie there on her bed literally crying and whimpering for hours and hours. It was pitiful.
So we finally go to the point where we just couldn't let her go to daycare. THAT was pitiful also. Because when we would leave her, they would have to take her back in one of the runs and that made her cry.
But at daycare, they knew her problem and why she wasn't allowed to play with the other dogs, so they gave her lots of extra attention.
Another activity that made her come home and cry with pain was going to the lake. We knew swimming was good for her, though. So we finally go to where we would let her swim only and not do so much running and romping on the beach.
Annie had sever....very sever HD, however.
I'd say let him play all he wants to, but if he's showing signs of pain, then curtail it. And be sure to watch his weight. That is a huge factor with HD. Our orthopedic surgeon told us he wanted Annie to be the skinniest healthy lab possible.
But I know how you feel. It's tough to have to stop them from doing something you know they love so much.
How bad are her hips? Have you seen the xrays by chance??? If she has mild or even moderate HD, she may have deep enough sockets to be just fine. The more you can keep her exercised (and muscled and lean), the better she'll be. I had a dog w/ HD (moderate) who lived a pretty full life w/o surgery. She swam and took long walks regularly. Her only supplementation was glucosamine sulfate and MSM. The MSM, btw, did WONDERS for her. If you haven't tried it, do so... I'd recommend starting her at 1000mg am and pm, then after a week, just once a day is fine. It's cheap, and you can also buy it in granule form at a feed store (~1/4 level teas = 1000mg). MSM is just a sulfur source (dog food is deficient in sulfur). VERY safe. Any extra is excreted in the urine like Vit C. I take it myself for Lupus and bad back (broken-- arthritis now!) and it is also amazing for my spring allergy issues. I give it to all my dogs too.
I agree w/ the others that allow the dog to make the calls on exercise. -Anne
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
Thanks to those who have replied so far.
Dani - My vet (who I talk to regularly) also encourages swimming and other appropriate exercise. We walk for about an hour every day. Fortunately we live close to a couple of lakes and when the weather/water is warm enough we take her pretty much every day. We also watch her weight closely and she is trim and well muscled. My Vet really emphasized keeping her lean. He also said that rough play with other dogs wasn't a great idea. Re signs of pain: She is mildly lame on one side at the moment, but I really don't think she is in pain....maybe just a bit sore. She's always had a bit of a weird/exaggerated gait, but hasn't been lame for ages. I think she may have strained a muscle when she was running the other night, but it's almost okay now.
Alpenalab - I hope that Axl can play soon. It's nice that he's had a smaller friend to play with. Dee plays hard when she plays so I've been hesitant to let her play with much smaller dogs than herself. She's good natured, but I'd feel terrible if the little guys got bumped around too much or accidentally injured. I'm not sure that she'd adjust her play to suit a small dog. She's still very puppy in many ways...though she's going on three now. It's hard to tell them no sometimes when they are so desperate to play, but I try to balance things as best as possible. :-\
gabbys mom - Yes, my Vet said that that is the worst thing.....another dog jumping on their hips. Makes sense of course. I'd definitely not allow that. You could be right about them being less wound up if they get to play more. I don't want to be "too" over protective, but at the same time if being cautious can save her hips from major problems :-\.....I'm not sure where to draw the line.
cinderbaylabs - Believe me, she is not a couch potato. I know the importance of keeping her fit. I know she needs to have some play with other dogs, but I'm trying find the right balance. I don't want to allow anything that is unneccessarily hard on her hips and hastens arthritis setting in.
snowflake - That must have been really hard. Poor Annie. :'( Fortunately Dee is not that bad. Re keeping them thin....my Vet and the Ortho said the same thing.
birdbrainz - My Vet prefers doing a PennHip type exam/x-ray because it measures laxity whereas I don't thing that OFA does. It is also a better predictor of future problems. (for sure she wouldn't pass either anyway) I did see the x-rays but I'm no expert on reading x-rays....mainly went by his explanation. Per the Vet/Ortho the sockets aren't as deep as they should be (I could see that) and the ligament that holds the ball is place is far looser than it should be. He said she may never have an extreme problem...or then again she may need surgery at some point down the road. :-\ Time will tell. I'm trying to strike a balance. It's not normal "not" to let them play and of course they need the socialization...so I'm just careful not to let her over do it, but she is a real dynamo....VERY excitable when it comes to other dogs. My Vet said no "rough" play (that puts downward pressure on her hips). At the same time I think she DOES need to be a dog and do doggy things....a balance. She is on a green-lipped mussel product and has been since we found out her hips weren't great. I'm not sure how beneficial it is because she really hasn't had any "major" problems. If she had been really crippled up and improved I'd know it was working, but at this point things have remained fairly mild. She has always had an exaggerated sway to her gait...not sure how much of this is down to her hips. I want to do what is "all-around" best for her. Thanks for the tip re MSM. I have heard that it's good. Maybe I should try it myself. I also have some a/i issues and arthritis in my back.
I don't want to be over protective, but I think if I don't restrict her play to a point she may end up with far worse problems than she has right now. I think she would keep playing even if she was in pain.
I so wish there was a genetic test for this because it is FAR too common still, and I'm puzzled as to why people don't chose PennHip over regular x-rays. It sounds like the way to go.
Pennhip is very expensive for vets to be cert'd for (I'm in WA state). A vet has to do alot of breeding clearances to make the travel back to Penn for the training all feasible. My feeling is that if I had a dog that came back OFA Fair, I'd do P-H. But with all my breeding stock so far coming back w/ solid goods and excellents under full anesthesia and very good positioning (both of which will give you the worst case scenario), I haven't worried too much. I pay OFA to send me back my films so I can keep them on file here for future reference. I also study the OFA database, verticle pedigree and progeny at length on any stud I am considering to use. I wish P-H HAD an online database to help w/ that decision making!!!!
I worry far more about elbows anymore than Hips... mainly because it's almost impossible for the lay person (and many general vets) to read elbow films. And then there are so many other factors to consider..... sometimes you wonder if there is a perfect lab out there. -Anne
WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014
birdbrainz/Anne - Yes I guess OFA is easier if you can't find a Vet that does PennHipp in your area. I thought that I had recently read on another Lab site that PennHipp "does" have a database now. ??? Maybe it was on the Wiscoy site....I occasionally glance there. I'm not a breeder, but if I was I would do the same as you and get as much info as possible before breeding. I doubt I would consider using a dog with Fair hips....especially if the x-rays were done at 2 years old. Fair at 2 may not pass at 4 or 5 if there is laxity in the hips....which OFA to my understanding doesn't measure. I guess if a dog is excellent at 2, chances are there isn't much laxity or there would already be signs on the x-rays. Good idea that you would PennHip any Fairs for sure.
It's sad that joint problems are still so prevalent. I doubt there IS a perfect Lab out there, but it just seems that if this system worked well there would be far less joint problems around at this point.