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2044 Views 11 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Snowco Labradors
Hi All- I'm new to this forum, and have concerns regarding my 9 month old yellow lab. My husband and I bought a yellow lab in August of 2009- she was 4 months old when we got her. We researched the breeder, made sure to ask many questions, etc.

I always had labs growing up, and this is our first "big" dog as a couple. Everything has gone wonderful with her this far. She's been spayed, examined, etc. About a week ago we noticed she's having issues going from the down position to the standing position. Clearly it's in her rear legs. I took her into the vet yesterday, and they can't find anything wrong from looking at her and completing the exam (checked legs, hips, spine, etc). They agree something is wrong with her in the rear- she's not walking correctly either. She also stands with her back legs straight (can't recall the term). Other than watching her struggle to stand up, she shows no other indication of pain.

She's on an inflammatory pill until Friday with hope whatever is going on with her will go away.Otherwise they will need to knock her out to do the x-rays and we can go from there.

Has anyone ever had anything like this happen in a lab at such a young age? She's only 9 months old....I'm so scared she's going to need surgery, etc. Any help is appreciated :)
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I did know someone who had a severely dysplastic GSD under a year old - but it was very obvious that it was HD.

Did they check her for Lyme? Not sure where you are and if Lyme is an issue there, but my Shepherd's first symptoms were achiness and pain in her joints.

ETA - I sure hope she is better soon!
Hip dysplasia will usually show up as a "slinking gait" where the dog keeps the legs straight as they swing them to trot or run.

It could be a number of things going on. A cartilage disorder called osteochondritis dessicans (OCD) shows up as stiffness/arthritis in varying joints. Hip dysplasia is on the list as well as any tick borne diseases that can cause joint pain.

Also a cruciate tear can cause stiffness in the rear - this is a ligament that holds the knee in place. If this tears the dog will require surgery to correct it but it is repairable.

I agree on the x-rays - it should give you a diagnosis.

Remember that joint conditions are more obvious from 4 - 12 months and once the growth plates are fused some scarring can take place and the pup is more sound for a number of years until senior years hit.

Good luck.
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It could also be a spinal problem or injury. I definitely would have her x-rayed to try and get a diagnosis so that you can treat the problem.
I also wanted to post, even if you end up with a bad (problem diagnosis) don't despair, there are many many treatment options today. My vet runs agility with me. Her golden retrieve had bi-lateral hip surgery when he was 9 months old. He has steel plates in his hips and he competes (and has titled) in agility. We realize he won't have a long competitive career, but he's having a heck of a good time and so is she.

Hang in there!
Where do you live?

Often you'll get better diagnostic help at a School or College of VetMed. (And they're often less expensive.) About half those in the USA allow you to self-refer, about half require referral through a vet.

I'll ETA a link that shows their locations and contact info. (Clicking on the red dots doesn't work for me -- just scroll down and click on their unversity URLs)

VETNET: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vetnet.html

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BobPR, all I have to say is your recommendation of looking for a Veterinary university is a good one.
It was you that convinced me to take Riley to Thessaloniki Veterinary University, a long, 800km, trip, but the peace of mind I got was worth its weight in gold. She had soooooo many tests/xrays I couldn't believe it. Though expensive in terms of what I could afford it was very good value for money and they were so thorough.
Mind you they struck gold for the students as its not often they get one dog with so many problems! Allergies, chronic arthritis with hip displasia, and leishmaniasis.

I recommend you follow BobPr's recommendation if you can, especially for such a young dog.

Good luck.
Castaway -- thank you, very much, for your "seconding" and describing your experience; I'm very glad it worked out so well for you and your Lab and thankful my suggestions were helpful.

I've described the reasons for my preferences before but will do so again (below).

I discovered using a university's SVM/CVM with my first Lab, Bess.

I had great confidence in the vet we were then using until I became aware he was missing diagnoses. His great "bedside manner" (greeting my wife & I, nuzzling with, praising Bess to Char & me) deceived me.

In the final one of several eye openers, a child psychiatrist friend and his wife were at our home having dinner with us. Bess had been having continuing problems with bleeding toenails for months and our vet, on multiple visits, kept giving her shots of penicillin, saying it was caused by Bess digging in the backyard.

Bess was a real "schmoozer," especially buttering up any company and she did that to my friend, Dave. I told him her difficulty with toenails -- he lifted up one of her paws, looked at it, smelled it, and said she had a fungal infection.

I told that to our vet, he changed treatments, and Bess was finally cured.

That was the final straw.

When a child psychiatrist could make a correct diagnosis in a few seconds that our "great" vet did not make in multiple trips to his clinic, the spell of trusting him was broken.

A little later, our vet said Bess had cancer of her breasts and he wanted to operate.

I chose to take Bess to Kansas State's CollVetMed Teaching Hospital. They found the cancer had also metastasized to her lymph. They did a radical mastectomy PLUS a partial lymphectomy.

Bess was 7 years old at the time and she lived within a few months of another 7 wonderful years.

Had I let our local vet operate, I would have lost her within the year.

Following that experience, Bess did all of our vet care at KSU's CVM.

And so has Puff.

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Bob - I love the passion you always express for using a teaching hospital for your dogs .. and 99% of the time you are bang on .. however there have been occasions when students or young new vets haven't realized they needed more support in diagnosis then they think and there have been errors there too

people are human- they make errors .. just the way it is ...
Bob - I love the passion you always express for using a teaching hospital for your dogs .. and 99% of the time you are bang on .. however there have been occasions when students or young new vets haven't realized they needed more support in diagnosis then they think and there have been errors there too
You're giving them a little bit better odds than I would -- I'd say 93-98 out of 100!

But hey! 93-99/100 odds are far better than you'd get from choosing any other option for successful dog diagnosis & treatment, isn't it?! :D

But do YOU have some personal experience to support your opinions?

At which SVM/CVM?

NONE of the students we've EVER seen makes a diagnosis -- or performs treatments.

EVERY thing they do is repeated and confirmed by a very experienced DVM who is their mentor and supervisor.

When we enter KSU's CVM TH, we are met by a 4th yr student (senior, in their last semester before graduation as DVMs) who escorts us to a clinical exam room, takes vital signs, gets the daily activities, diet, presenting problem, etc. Then brings in their DVM clinical supervisor/professor who repeats ALL the vitals, verifies everything previously said, and corrects any discrepancies.

Diagnosis and treatment, by law, must always be done by a licensed DVM, NEVER by a (unlicensed) student.

It is ALWAYS by a DVM -- and, in my many experiences at KSU, by a very experienced and knowledgable one who has the most current diagnostic and treatment options available. What SVM/CVM would ever have a junior, inexperienced DVM mentoring 4th year students? That would/should NEVER occur in any valid university program I've ever seen dealing with diagnosis & treatment (medical schools, clinical psychology programs, VetMed programs),

Have you personally had some different experience?

As far as I'm aware -- or have ever heard -- my experience is the norm at all university SVM/CVMs.

While I'm well pleased with KSU's CVM-TH services (with the exception of some minor bumps they've corrected after my bitching), I'm aware that some others (e.g., UPenn, Cornell, Tufts, esp.) are considered world-class and would have presumably even higher standards

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Bob I so agree, its so easy to be convinced by your vet. It isn't until you catch them out on one mis diagnosis that suspicion sets in.
Here in Corfu I have had to learn to be my own vet and check everything, sadly even then they can let you down, after all they are the professional and it isn't always easy to find out if they were indeed wrong, or by what degree.
My list of mis diagnosis is long but the worst was the cavalier administering of a type of chemotherapy, vincristine, to my little mutt , Spitha. They didn't bother to weigh her or work out her body surface area, as I found out they should have done after the event, so they overdosed her. That shortened her life to a matter of months. Of course I cant prove it!

In any case I cant afford to alienate myself from the local vets on such a small island, and in an emergency I would have no where else to turn.

Agree its the professors who are the diagnosticians, they involve the students to help them learn, but the students in my experience were the gofers, they participated but were not in charge. They performed some of the tests; always under the eye of the prof.
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OP, I pray you find the diagnosis and no surgery is needed. Is the dog limping at all? Or just trouble getting up? If limping has the vet considered the possibility of Pano? I have never heard of a case of Pano with no lameness and just trouble getting up or standing improperly, but who knows.

I would suggest you call the breeder and get their input.
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