A few months ago we noticed Mr. Boggs was favoring his right back leg. When he ran it was more of a bunny hop. We had seen this before…..our Golden Retriever, Durango, got two titanium hips at six months old. We went with Mr. Boggs to the doctor with an open mind nonetheless.
The doctor was quite certain the problem was Panosteitis, a condition where the bones actually become weak under the stress of a fast growing, large-breed dog. Over time the dog will outgrow the condition; it will correct itself and he will enjoy a complete recovery. Mr. Boggs did not outgrow the condition. He did not recover.
Mr. Boggs has hip dysplasia. Tears welled up in my eyes as I looked at the film with the light from behind revealing a perfect little body of bones…. save for one.
Hip Dysplasia is most common in large and giant breed dogs and researchers tend to agree it is genetic. Although primarily a disease of purebreds, it can happen in mixed breeds, like Mr. Boggs, particularly if it is a cross of two dogs that are prone to developing the disease. It is also possible, however, for puppies to injure themselves causing subluxation, separation of the two bones within the joint.
The remedy depends on age, severity and whether osteoarthritis has already set in. Of course, the cost of surgery may also be prohibitive and dictate medical management or what our doctor referred to as pain management. At the moment, we are in a position to correct this for Mr. Boggs and yesterday he had surgery.
The subluxation of Mr. Bogg’s hip-joint was severe but no joint damage was evident – arthritis had not set in – and he is younger than 10 months old making him a good candidate for Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO). This surgery is less invasive than total hip replacement and seems to have good results in cases such as Mr. Boggs’.
He came home today and begins his road to recovery. Initially, this means lots of rest and with the aid of a sheet wrapped under his stomach, I’ll give him extra support when he walks. Within 10 days or sooner, the doctor says he’ll be moving around pretty well using three legs not four. Hopefully within four weeks, he’ll start using his back leg again. If not, the doctor says we will help him to remember that leg is ok.
Durango was a very large Golden, about 110 pounds, and lived fourteen wonderful years, proving it is possible to live a long, happy life with substitute hips.
We expect Mr. Boggs will make a full recovery and return to his adorable, happy self in no time.
On the topic of running, this being a step-back week gives me extra time for being Mom. Coach Higdon’s schedule allowed for a half marathon race as the long Sunday run, but with no races in sight, my calendar simply includes two 4-mile runs, two 9-mile runs with one at race pace, and a long half-marathon run on Sunday.
And that spells one full step-back week for Mr. Boggs and I.
Additional reading on the subject of hip dysplasia in dogs: http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2+2084&aid=444