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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I have just joined today. I have 22 month old Black lab retriever, Harvey. We got him (at 8 weeks old) from an accreditted breeder and my mother in law has his brother, call Seth. Harvey was diagnosed with Elbow dysplacia on Monday, and tomorrow he will have surgery on both elbows.

Has anyone else experienced this in a young pup? Any advise would be gratefully recieved, particularly around diet. I have been told that he will need a diet that is high in glucosamine, omega 3 and Chonroitin, whilst being low in fat. The vets has prescribed a particular brand of food that we have to get on prescription. It is very expensive and he doesnt really like it, i am not over worried about the cost, but i want him to eat the stuff!!. Does anyone know of other foods that can be bought from the shops that will give him everything he needs?

Thanks!!
 

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I can't help with the diet issue, sorry. I would think you could add in the glucosamine and condroitin though in pill form to any low fat diet, and possibly the omega 3 through salmon oil. We give our dogs human grade Cosamin DS that we buy at Costco.

There is a golden retriever that comes to our dog park that has elbow dysplasia. I know they have her swimming a lot for exercise, and she is not allowed to play fetch.

Hope that helps a little.
 

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I haven't had experience in elbow dysplaysia, but can offer some suggestions for over all joint well being. First, make sure to keep his weight in check, a few pounds underis better than over. As far as foods with Gluc/Chond goes- I haven't heard of one yet that really has enough of either in it to really do any good. You're better off supplementing the Gluc/Chon. It can be right from the human supplement shelf, too. Swimming is great excercise- no stress on the joints.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for the feedback. I am currently giving him the food prescribed by the vet (when he eats it..) along with a dental stick every day that has 500mg of the Gluc and chond. I didnt realise that we could give him human grade supplements, i will try that out. We are surrounded by lakes so swimming will be high on the list once he recovers from the op. As for getting the weight down, that is going to be difficult as now he cant exercise as much. We normally walk for an hour a day twice a day, but after the surgery, for the first 6 months i understand that will be cut down significantly. it is going to have to be a case of tough love i think. Treats have been stopped already.

BTW, love the pics of your pups!
 

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I have both of my girls on gluc/chond. supplements and a fish oil. Both are human grade and if you watch sales you can get some good buys. Hope all goes well with Harvey's surgery. Be sure to let us know how he does. I guess I'm surprised that they would do both elbows at once but I don't have a clear understanding of the ailment itself.
 

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Thanks Rushpuppy. They decided to do both at the same time as it is less stressful for him and means only one round of recuperation time. They estimate that it will be 6 months after surgery before he can have 'vigorous' exercise. From what i understand, Elbow dysplasia is quite different to Hip dysplasia; it covers 5 different 'diseases'. Harvey has 2 for sure and possibly three, It is often difficult to detect as the dogs can carry on without showing symptoms. Harvey started limping, x-rays showed his Ulna bone was fragmenting and there are shards of bone floating around in both elbow joints. In addition he has OCD, not obsessive compulsive disorder! OCD is related to the cartilage damage. The third is something called EI, Elbow incongruity. The surgery is to remove the bone fragments, and repair (slow down, i assume) damage caused by the OCD. The EI has not yet been confirmed.

Despite going through a good breeder he has got this. The surgeon has advised that it could be hereditary or just 'one of those things'. They will be keeping him in for 24 - 48 hrs which just about breaks my heart, i want to be with him if he is feeling rough, but i know it is the best thing, that is what i keep telling myself.

My mother in law got another boy from the same litter, he is showing no signs at the moment but we will be keeping a close eye on him. The boys walk together twice a day and are such great buddies; it is going to be hard to keep them apart while Harvey gets better. It is going to be even harder to stop harvey climbing the stairs and jumping on my bed....
 

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My Indy had both front legs done when he was a year old. He did AMAZINGLY well and really has had no problems. He's 12, old and arthritic now, but if he had not had the surgeries, I know he wouldnt have lasted this long.
 

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I wouldn't use the diet the vet recommends. I'd just cut back on his regular food and then add glucosimine and chondrointin pills to his food. Have you talked to his breeder? Did you get a second opinion?
 

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Yelloweyz, i cant begin to tell you how reassuring your post is. You give me so much hope for harvey. he had the op today. His left elbow had a large shard of bone that they had to remove and a few smaller ones. In his right elbow there were lots of little shards embedded in the sensitive tissue around the joint so they got all those out. In addition, there were a few shards that where still attached to the bone but they took them off as well. He also had cartilage damage in this joint, so the bad stuff has been cut out and hopefully new stuff will grow back. He is currently having morphine and has not yet woken up from surgery, But the surgeon is hopeful that he will make a full recovery. He is to stay on medication for 10 days, then come off everything. The surgeon will see him again in 4 weeks and wants him to be clear of all pain relief so that he can assess him more accurately, then we go from there. They don’t know yet if he will be home tomorrow, we need to wait and see how he goes tonight. I am so relieved we got that bit over with….. I miss him so much. I have been really worried about his life expectancy, I hope he does as well as Indy, may Indy have many more happy years.
 

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Hi Dani, I found some 'joint sticks' in the pet store and have started to give him those, along with some food. I dont think i will be sticking with the vets diet as he really doesnt like it. When we took him into the vets today for surgery he got weighed and has lost 3.5kgs in a week...wish i could do that :) we did get a second opinion, and the surgeon he was treated by is not attached to the vets fulltime, they just get him in when needed. I also seen the x-rays myself, and you could see very clearly he had a few problems going on.

I will be speakig to the breeder, but i want to wait a while, i am so angry about ti all right now i dont want to take it out on her as it really isnt her fault, if they made elbow dysplacia testing mandatory for Sires and dams it would really help.
 

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I'm pleased Harvey came through his surgery ok Bernie and that the surgeon thinks he has removed all the offending shards of bone and debris, he'll have lots of love and cuddles now to help him make a full recovery. Give him a big hug from us here
 

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I will be speakig to the breeder, but i want to wait a while, i am so angry about ti all right now i dont want to take it out on her as it really isnt her fault, if they made elbow dysplacia testing mandatory for Sires and dams it would really help.
Oh please be careful about your dog dropping 7lbs in a week, thats way too much and is unhealthy for him.

As a breeder, call yours right away, before any surgery. Not only can they help you out with a second opinion but if you don't tell them before the surgery you may obliterate any warranty you might have (I hate that word).

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but elbow dysplasia, its mostly environmental. Was your dog run hard heavy, overfed/overweight, climbing stairs early, over exercised etc.

While a line of dogs can be genetically predisposed to elbow dysplasia, clearances on the sire and dam aren't the be all and end all. Dogs from cleared parents still get elbow dysplasia, dogs from dysplastic parents are often clear. If your breeder is as reputable as you say, they probably did clearances.

Its a buyer beware situation, if you didn't ask for elbow clearances, you probably didn't get them. But I am sorry that this is happening to you.
 

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Most food doesn't have enough glucosamine/chondroitin to do any good. I would monitor the levels, and feed a food that your dog likes with a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement.
 

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Homer had both elbows done a year ago. His right arm is perfect but he sometimes limps on his left arm a bit. They are not supposed to run or play fetch, but of course try explaining it to a hyper playful 2 yr old dog... He had surgery at 18 months, should have done it before but I didn´t realize he was that bad because he started limping very late and that´s why his left arm didn´t heal as good as the right arm.

The glucosamine/chondroitin supplements are OK, but there really isn´t any scientific study that proves that they work (injected formulas are much better than pills or food). Find some chewable ones and feed them as treats.

Even after surgery the dog is not supposed to put much stress on the limb for the rest of his life, so you should never force him to run, allow him to jump down from the car or furniture (I hold his weight to avoid the stress). I do let him play normally with Misha, fetch for 5 minutes a couple times a week, go for daily walks, etc. I decided to let him enjoy his life as much as he can, and I´m aware that I won´t have him for as many years. Unfortunately the surgery is only a temporary solution as the arthritis they develop in the joint will eventually leave him lame. My brownie had bilateral HD and lived to 12 years old, but ED seems to be harder on Homer
 

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Luvmydog2much, Thanks for your response. It certainly wasn't the plan to have him lose so much weight so quick, but he ended up with a tummy upset, probably due to all the drugs he had last week following the x-rays etc. I do agree, i think his dysplacia is most likely caused by the boisterous play with his brother when he was younger, he was also a bit of a dare devil and would try to jump up on things and then back off them. His brother (from the same litter) is showing no signs of it.

In the UK, they dont currently have to test for Elbow Dysplacia, i did phone the kennel club to get the information. However, it looks like it may become mandatory soon. I will be contacting the breeder, just to make her aware of the situation, so that she can then decide whether to get harveys mum checked, she will also have the contact information for his dad.

Rhys and Ruby are a handsome pair!
 

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blackandyellow, thanks for sharing your story about Homer. Harvey is 22 month and only started to show signs of lameness a couple of weeks ago. He had the surgery on both joints yesterday. He came home today and have been given strict instructions on the dos and donts for the next four weeks, then we go and see the surgeon again to decide the plan for the future.
I have bought him some treats with the gluc/chond in them and will be feeding them to him along with some food. I did manage to find a food that he likes which also contains gluc/chond.

I wish Homer a long and healthy life, they are never with us long enough...
 

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Hi Justine, he always had Purina Beta and loved it. Now he is on Hills Low Calorie JD as perscribed by the vets, but given all the feedback i ahve recieved here, i am going to put him back on the old stuff and just add the supplements into his diet in treat form.
 

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Yelloweyz, i cant begin to tell you how reassuring your post is. You give me so much hope for harvey. he had the op today. His left elbow had a large shard of bone that they had to remove and a few smaller ones. In his right elbow there were lots of little shards embedded in the sensitive tissue around the joint so they got all those out. In addition, there were a few shards that where still attached to the bone but they took them off as well. He also had cartilage damage in this joint, so the bad stuff has been cut out and hopefully new stuff will grow back. He is currently having morphine and has not yet woken up from surgery, But the surgeon is hopeful that he will make a full recovery. He is to stay on medication for 10 days, then come off everything. The surgeon will see him again in 4 weeks and wants him to be clear of all pain relief so that he can assess him more accurately, then we go from there. They don’t know yet if he will be home tomorrow, we need to wait and see how he goes tonight. I am so relieved we got that bit over with….. I miss him so much. I have been really worried about his life expectancy, I hope he does as well as Indy, may Indy have many more happy years.
We had some dime-sized pieces removed from Indy's elbows...The best piece of advice I can give is if they offer water therapy, DO IT!!! If not, do it on your own.. Water therapy has a low resistance and they have almost painless mobility in water (think swimming with a life vest)...we had each elbow done separately with water therapy in between...Another thing that helped, we were told to keep him mobile, so after he was cleared, every day we would walk at least a mile to keep him limber and light. To this day, I see no problems in his front legs at all (its his bad knee that has the arthritis the most)...

I'm so glad he did well, I wish you all the best of luck. Thank you for doing this for him, you will not regret it.
 
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