Following up on yesterday's post on why Juno will be riding in rather than pulling a sleigh, this week, we found out that Juno has hip dysplasia. On a scale of 1-10, it's a 6. This of course is independent of the illness she had last month with an unexplained fever. You see, when the doctors explained what they thought that illness and fever may be, they explained the symptoms of autoimmune arthritis, I had got to thinking, "Gee, she's always been a little like that." Never having had a Sibe, nor a dog with hip issues, I didn't really know what to look for. She was always unstable on the stairs, but then again we have wood stairs. When Loki play attacked her she'd either cower or kick his ass. I never "bought" her "cower" as a lack of confidence. Something told me it was more. I've been watching her in the year and a half that I've had her and there are so many subtle behaviors that she displays that shows me she's a confident, non fearful dog and Loki always bowed to her desires in the house. So when I'd see her "cower" from his play attacks one minute and the next minute out-run him or kick his butt, things just didn't add up. I also noticed she loves being pet, but whenever my hands were on her hips she'd immediately start licking them. She also sat to one side all the time and we joked about her "low cal platz" where she slide from a sit into a down, being sure to never really expend too many calories in the act of laying down.
I had scheduled a visit with her infection specialist for a follow up and she included a consult with an ortho because they were concerned about her joints. But I couldn't wait that long for the consult. So, instead, this week, I scheduled an x-ray of her hips, knees, ankles and low spine with my personal vet, Dogtor Hilary. When we took her in, she was so sore they had to sedate her just to take her x-rays. Usually, Juno is very compliant when a doing any procedure and it was obvious to them she was too painful. While she was out, Loki got some accupuncture (seriously, but that's another post). The X-rays confirmed it. Juno's beautiful jodhpurs were dysplastic.
It's likely that the dysplasia is genetic. She is only 2 years old. At only 12 months of age (before she was mine) she did a weekend of running and pulling an ATV on a sled team of huskies. That type of exercise with hips pre-disposed to this would have likely made it quite worse since her bones were not finished growing. In addition, we have been doing agility with her which is not good for her either.
Her knee joints look relatively good, but there was still some mild inflamation in them, indicating who knows what. I doubt we'll ever really have a confirmed diagnosis of bacterial infection or autoimmune arthritis, since they're both quite similar in symptoms---her response to antibiotics could have been entirely coincidental. We go to visit her hospital infection specialist and the orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday. I'm glad I already ran the x-rays so we're ahead of the game in terms of timing. The sooner we know stuff the better. It's likely this will be a maintenance issue. Our regular vet, Dogtor Hilary, said they'll probably recommend what she'll want to do, which are cosequin injections, glucosomine and some other supplements to help keep the cushioning in the socket and hopefully help the head of the femurs remain round as they are now instead of grinding down to flat. But she definitely wanted a consult with an ortho before proceeding with any program for her.
Juno Belle shows us that hip dysplasia doesn't make jodhpurs any less sexy!
Exercise will be encouraged but rough playing will be kept to a minimum. Sorry Loki. Biting Juno's scruff will have to be at her descretion. Then again, it always has been! No changes there.
Likely they will recommend low impact exercise to build up hip muscles, and, get ready: swimming! Ever since I saw Honey the Great Dane swim, I've wanted to do it with my dogs too. Now's a great opportunity. Juno will likely hate it at first, but I'm very confident I can get her to like it. She's become the type of dog that really wants to work and "do" stuff. It's likely I'll need hot dogs and tri-tip the first few times but I'm pretty sure eventually enjoy it. I've seen evidence of some huskies who like to swim!
The worst part is I'll have to change my training tools from skillets and rolling pins to a wet noodle. One must always modify training tools for the disabled.
"What's that you said about swimming? You'd better make sure my gumdrop nose does not get wet or it will melt!"
This photo is for The Thundering Herd. Go ahead. Say something. I dare you.
"Where you talking about moi and my fur alterations?"
"Talk to the Jodhpurs, Herd."