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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I usually post in Mike and Blinky's Trainer thread up top but this isn't so much of an "ask the trainer" as it is a vent session.

Last night was my 2nd night with my 3 month old GSD puppy attending puppy obedience class (or more accurately, puppy socialization class). After class concluded, I was walking out of my neighborhood PetCo and we see a beautiful black female GSD that was a spot on match to what my puppy, McBain, looks like. All the way down to the 6 white hairs on their chest, they were a carbon copy. The female is 9 months old. The trainer for our class had been telling me about this other GSD for a bit now, she just knew they were related. Well, I talked with the other owner and sure enough they came from the same breeder, just 6 months apart.

The crummy part of it all is, his female (McBain's sister) has hip dysplasia really bad. It came on around 3 months and has gotten worse. When I picked up my puppy I specifically asked about the health of the parents, to which the breeder said "they are great. hips are great but I dont have them certified becuase its really expensive." I then asked "has there been any history of hip dysplasia or other genetic issues in their litters to you knowledge?" the breeder flat out told me no, nothing they've ever heard of. But they'd gladly take the puppy back and give me a nother one if something cropped up. Telling this to the owner of the female GSD got him really mad because he called them when his pup was 6 months (around the time of birth for my puppy) and said that his dog has hip dysplacia and they offered to trade out the dog for a new puppy from this litter. The owner declined and said he just wanted to make sure he knew so that he would stop breeding this dam and sire.

This breeder has been running a puppy mill, every 6 months the trainer at PetCo says she gets an all black GSD puppy in her class with a tuft of white fur on their chest. The breeder said he is retiring McBain's mother after his litter so hopefully that stops. But people don't realize these animals aren't just a capitalistic way to make their mortgage. They are living things and don't deserve to be pumped out as fast as the mom can possibly pump them out. Surely that can't be healthy for the mom either. I do take partial blame for buying the puppy from this breeder, if they didn't have buyers they wouldn't have motive to be a breeder. Live and learn I guess.

My dog is a great dog, has one of the best personalities I have ever seen and is extremely intelligent to boot. If he gets hip dysplacia I'm not going to take him back to the breeder, but it chaps my hide that they lied to me about it at the interview. They knowingly are breeding dogs with this genetic defect in their blood lines.

It also seems to me that I should get my dog fixed now to aid in getting this genetic defect out of the GSD blood lines. I wasnt planning on studding him out, but it was an option I was keeping open for sure. Unless I had a reason to fix him, I had plans to keep him intact. But if his puppies are going to be predisposed to hip dysplasia then he needs not have puppies or even the option of it.

/vent

Does anybody know what the chance is that my dog will have it if his sister has it? I have spoken with my vet about CHD and forgot to ask him the percentages. I figured I'd do some research on my own and hopefully remember to ask him at my next 3 week checkup.

Oh, and by the way, my pup is checking out great. No signs yet. He is still young but his sister was already showing signs at this age. So that is encouraging. I've been feeding him NutroMax Natural Balance Large Breed Growth Control which allows him to grow a little slower and gives his bones and muscles a chance to devleope in hopes that it will prolong the onset of CHD. Does anybody know anything else I can do? My vet said that I should control jumping as much as possible (frisbee, up and down off of the couch, out of the vehicle, etc) and be very careful not to overfeed him.

Thanks for letting me vent.
 

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I do think a lot of these problems are environmental... Caused by running & jumping the dog before they're 18 mos. to 2 yrs old.

I like your dog food choice. I remember when Eukanuba's old formula was thought to be causing these problems.

Those shots that we are supposed to give our puppies... I don't know what it is, but something about them makes me nervous.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I do think a lot of these problems are environmental... Caused by running & jumping the dog before they're 18 mos. to 2 yrs old.

I like your dog food choice. I remember when Eukanuba's old formula was thought to be causing these problems.

Those shots that we are supposed to give our puppies... I don't know what it is, but something about them makes me nervous.
I'd really like to agree with you. And I would if I had more experience, but this is all kind of new to me so I dont want to be that new guy who all of a sudden is an expert. From what I have been reading online, even if it is genetic CHD, it can be controlled and managed by environmental factors just as it can be aggrevated or even created by environmental factors. This website says that running could be good for them. Just no jumping.
 

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Hip dysplasia is genetic, if the ball and socket are shallow then the muscles have to work harder to keep things together. If the ball and socket are shallower, then there is less bearing surface between the ball and socket so the wear is quicker.

Missy strained her knee playing several weeks ago. The vet wanted to take x-rays to check the knee out and said he would do a 2 for 1 shot of both hind knees getting the hips in the shot too. Upshot was that the knee was fine but she did have hip dyspasia. His advise was to give her a Glucosamine/Chondroitin tablet every day and to restrict her activities to avoid stressing the hip joints while keeping her active in terms of walking and running to build up the muscles.

He said most HD damage is caused during the developing years because the body is still growing and stretching so it is unable to keep up with the damage caused through straining the hip joints, ie. once it is damaged it takes time for it to heal, but the dog is too active too soon so the joint never fully heals. So keep the rough play to a minimum and let her body grow into its final size while strengthening the muscles as much as possible. This will reduce the impact of the HD as she gets older.

I am feeding Missy Blue Buffalo Large Breed Puppy now. I was feeding her Nutro Large Breed Puppy up until just a week before she hurt her knee. After making the change her weight dropped about 4 lbs until I got the amount right. Now she is putting on about 1 lb a week. Vet agreed that she will grow to whatever final size she is meant to be, but if I control the diet as much as possible to keep her on the light side until her body finishes growing it will keep much of the strain off the hip joints.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What would be good ways to strengthen my pup's muscles that also reduces impact? Is running with him ok?
 

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Some light running should not create a problem. The damaging part to HD is side impact / flexing. Making sudden turns, slides or other movements that require the hip to deal with lateral stresses. We still see a bit of it with Missy if she makes a sudden turn to go after one of the cats or spies a rabbit off to the side and makes a lunge sideways. If I slow her down and give her time to walk it off, she is usually pretty good. Her major damage came while playing with some other dogs and she got bowled over sideways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Her major damage came while playing with some other dogs and she got bowled over sideways.
Thanks for the tip. McBain loves playing with my sister's labs. I'll have to keep a close eye on them when they play. I shoudl probably be careful working with him to heel and changing directions on him. I could see that being an issue. I'd rather him have good hips then have a perfect heel position.
 

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Think of it in human terms. Turning at a walking pace does not stress you. Trying to make the same turn at high speed puts a lot more pressure on your joints. If your foot slips on something or catches on something you feel that stress instantly sometimes causing major damage to yourself. It is the same thing for your puppy.
 

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I specifically asked about the health of the parents, to which the breeder said "they are great. hips are great but I dont have them certified becuase its really expensive."
That should have been your first clue. It isn't.

It also seems to me that I should get my dog fixed now to aid in getting this genetic defect out of the GSD blood lines....Does anybody know what the chance is that my dog will have it if his sister has it?
The short answer is yes, you should have him neutered. Hip dysplasia is at least partially genetic, but no one knows how much.

Oh, and by the way, my pup is checking out great. No signs yet. He is still young but his sister was already showing signs at this age. So that is encouraging. I've been feeding him NutroMax Natural Balance Large Breed Growth Control which allows him to grow a little slower and gives his bones and muscles a chance to devleope in hopes that it will prolong the onset of CHD. Does anybody know anything else I can do?
Hip dysplasia and hip pain are not the same thing. You probably can't do anything about the dysplasia (certainly not about the genetic component), but you can delay the signs. Studies done by Purina on Labadors showed that keeping the dogs a bit thin tremendously decreased the severity of SIGNS of hip dysplasia. There was also research in greyhounds that suggested increasing muscle mass on the rear legs also delayed development of signs, but that was never (to my knowledge) completed or published. Swimming is probably a good exercise. I have heard that every-other day exercise is good, but I don't think there's any actual research behind that recommendation.

There are also of course a number of surgeries, but hip replacement is the only one with good long-term results in a dog the size of a shepherd. It's expensive, but it works great.

Keep in mind that even radiographically confirmed dysplasia may not be clinically important. I had a Malamute with one hip OFA certified crappy, but she never developed serious issues and died at 12 of a brain tumor.
 

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Absolutely positively get him neutered. It doesn't matter if he never limps a day in his life - his bloodlines have already proven to be predisposed to hip dysplasia and should under no circumstances even be considered for reproduction purposes. If you have any doubt about the availability of pet quality GSD's go to petfinder.com and look around. You will see thousands of them looking for homes. All ages, all bloodlines, all sizes, all colors, all temperaments, all locations nationwide.

That food isn't going to make any difference either. In fact, most working line GSD breeders that I know recommend against puppy food period for large breed dogs such as shepherds. Just food for thought (no pun intended).
 
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