Tag Archives: cornell

Diagnosis: hip dysplasia. Now what?

I promise even though I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write, I have felt the inspiration and have been roughing a few out in my head.

First off I am such a bad puppy parent to not fully celebrate Klaus’ second birthday which was Jan 3. But let’s be honest, the little shit got a great gift this year- a new hip and a new lease on life. So that’s that. Here are some baby Klaus pics that are still some of my favorite!





It got me thinking about the lengths some owners will go through in hopes of prolonging or bettering their pets lives. That’s not to discredit those who aren’t able to- whether financially or emotionally. But lets face it, whether or not good ol Uncle Sam recognizes them as true tax write offable offspring, they are our children and just as time consuming and money draining as “real” kids are.

So when an owner squares off with the diagnosis “your dog has hd” (or any other terrible condition), its devastating to say the least and is just as difficult to deal with if you were hearing the same thing about any of your loved ones.

In response to an awful lot of sad news I’ve seen via Klaus’ instagram followers- I want to really focus on our diagnosis, journey and experience in hopes of shedding some light, and well, hope really.

Our end result is so very close. We are two weeks shy of Klaus having total freedom again. January 20 is our “all systems go” day.

It has been tough, and not one Im looking forward to doing again. His left hip’s arthritis has progressed noticabley since his last radiographs. It is my hope that he will continue to use his bionic hip more and therefore lessen the stress on the left. But I suppose we will get there when (and if) we get there.

Afterall, our decision to do a total hip replacement was in fact a salvage surgery for the left in repairing of the right. It was one of the main reasons why we went with the “cadillac” of hip surgeries.

1.In the beginning………. In the beginning we had our concerns. Concerns we swayed with online diagnosis underlined with naivete and hope. Large breed dogs are known to go through rather painful growth spurts and subsequently growing pains aka panosteitis and we had ourselves convinced that the lameness and bunny hopping and super sleepy days were the result of pano. Around this time we were doing agility and everyone I spoke with, the trainers and other dog owners who experienced the same, all said “he’ll be ok. he’ll grow out of it. you’ll see”. Except what we saw was a detirioration in his gait- lots of swishing and swaying and total reluctance to sit. His stance was anything but square, rather crooked and he’d push his bad hip out when he sat. He’d slip and yelp out in pain and lay there for a moment.

2. Diagnosis………. I don’t understand gut feelings but I think it’s important to really listen to your intuition, you know “better safe than sorry”. Despite all the reassurrances we knew something wasn’t right. We couldn’t wait and see any longer. We had to know. Our vet took raidiographs and our suspicions were confirmed but could not be 100% verified until we met with the orthopedic surgeon.

3. Hindsight and the blame game………. Hindsight is great to have after the fact (and is only available after the fact). Had we tried to not convince ourselves otherwise, we might have been able to get him into an earlier procedure, a Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (TPO). But it’s important not to dawdle or dwell but rather trudge forward with the task at hand. When we got the diagnosis, and after I completely broke down into a fit of swearing and tears I began to play the blame game. Why did we wait to get him diagnosed? Did we switch his food up too fast and therefore encouraged growth too fast? Did we let him play and run too much as a pup? Did we not look hard enough into his lines? In the end shit sometimes happens. I won’t say I didn’t continue to struggle with blame and guilt along the way, because I did. But I know our decision to not turn our back on our family member was a justifiable one- and one I still continue to have to justify to this day. * You won’t believe the nastiness I still combat with because Klaus is from a breeder!

4. Research………. Anytime someone is faced with a super hard surgical decision, it seems obvious that knowledge is power. In our case it was utterly and exhaustingly overwhelming- though very much necessary. I took this project head on and on a daily basis. It felt like a part time job. I began looking into any and all options, including some not so conventional ones. I sent away for brochures and literature. I signed up for message boards. I desperately sought out any and all tidbits of information that would help me make this decision. And ultimately only you can make this decision- something many times I wished someone else would for me. I asked the vets if Klaus was their dog what they would do- with mixed opinions.

5. Second opinions………. Get at least one other opinion. Though our second opinion was spot on with the first, we discovered a much better fit financially with Cornell, a teaching school and subsequently a much better fit bed-side manner wise. Our first surgeon quoted us at $7-9k and was rather gruff about everything. Cornell quoted us $4-6k with our final cost around $5k. I recommend really seeking out a teaching college. But regardless of where you go you must feel comfortable.

6. Brainstorm………. I don’t know about you but my husband and I live paycheck to paycheck. He owns his own business and I was faced with having to make a tough transition of full time employment with benefits to self employment and freelance- a transition that even on the best day is fleeting and not consistent in pay! Being a crafty person by nature and a designer at heart I set to work creating items I would sell in hopes of raising the funds. At the pressing of friends and family and even perfect strangers, we were encouraged to create a donation page. Consider creating a blog- not only as a way for people to get to know you and your pet, but I know in the end it was integral to my sanity.  Have a garage sale- or two- or three. I did a lot of research on grants for vet bills. It is a permanent page on my blog that can be found here: aid for vet bills. Although sadly a lot of these organizations are tapped out financially it doesn’t hurt to try and apply. You won’t know if you qualify until you do.

7. CareCredit………. If you haven’t already at this time applied for CareCredit, you should definitely do so. Most places won’t even consider your application or plea for help until you do so. It can be used for many other health care related issues, not just for pets but for humans as well! Makes me think I should probably consider a trip to the dentist with it 🙂

8. In the meantime………. In preparation for Klaus’ surgery we were tasked with the almost impossible need to keep him restrained to prevent his hip from popping out. How can someone restrict a puppy?! Remember Klaus was diagnosed around 8 months old. It broke our heart to prevent him from being a puppy but we had to. He was leashed at all times. Puppy play dates were essentially canceled- at least the free roaming ones. We began physical therapy, increased his supplements, massage and stretching. Depending on your diagnosis, you may be lucky enough to find that putting them on supplements and adding a swimming regiment is just enough. We kept Klaus trim and lean and switched out his treats for ones with added MSM and Glucosamine.We prepared our home for Klaus’ 8 weeks of confinement. We moved our bed downstairs. We created a penned area for him with extra padding. Consolidated his beds into one fluffy pile.

9. Be flexible………. Despite all the preparation we did it was important for us to be able to adapt and be flexible. Things we originally thought would help us- a larger penned area, one in the living room and one in the office- did not work a week after his surgery. He was anxious all the time and attempted to get out. The crate, though it broke our heart, was our best friend. What also worked better than I thought was leaving him crated in the living room while I did work in the office- out of sight.

10. Set aside alone time……….Whether that means straight up “me” time or making it a point for you and your significant other to get out of the house and not think about your troubles at home. There were plenty of times I just needed to go driving. My husband would come home and find me sitting on the kitchen floor, hands over my ears to drown out the barking, streams of tears running down my face. Though we didn’t have a lot of extra cash, my husband and I attempted date nights still. It was important and necessary as a way to destress. I imagine it works the same in any sort of stressful scenario- sometimes normalcy, even if it’s just pretending, is just what you need to feel grounded again. I know it helped to snap me out of the shit storm.

In the end would we do it again? YES! Given our particular scenario we would. And every owner and their pet is different. Klaus has what we hope is a long life ahead of him. We weighed the risks and outcomes of the surgeries and took a gamble financially that seemingly has paid off in the end. We have a dog who is ready and waiting for the go ahead to run and play again. *Though ask us this question again should we be faced with a THR on the left (I am leaning towards an FHO should the need arise).

The only advice I can give other pet owners is arm yourself with as much information as possible and really talk it out. Make a list of pros and cons. If you pray, pray. This decision as difficult as it is, is yours alone to make. All you can do is keep the love for your pet in mind, and everything else should fall into place. I hope other pet owners find solace in that.


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My apologies a million times over! Where the eff have the weeks gone!? Would you believe we surpassed the 8 week post op mark and I didn’t even commemorate it with a blog post?!

I am terribly behind on everything it seems. The thing is, time got away from me. It was Thanksgiving and then I was flung into the holidays- my most favoritest (yes I said favoritest) time of the year- so the focus turned to the tree.

Which last year I didn’t bother putting up. I was so tired from Klaus’ antics I don’t know if I could bear to keep a constant vigil on the tree while he was still teething and up to no good. But! This year considering he has had to be crated I said ‘to hell with you Klaus’- I am putting this tree up.

You know what? I did and he barked the whole freaking time but he will learn to love and leave the tree alone. I don’t have many moments of joy in my life, what with his incessant barking (yes he is still on lock down but we will get to that shortly), so being able to look over and see the tree all aglow, has had a considerable calming effect on my psyche. Check this glorious sight out!

I put this beast up all by myself. I dragged the bag up from the basement and put it together and decorated it therefore my “stupid jester hat” tree topper will continue to remain the supreme leader in tree topping decorations, or until my husband wants to lend a hand and have a go with his boring star topper! Ps- did I mention he is stupidly allergic to pine so I have had to resort to a fake one? No matter, it means I can leave it up longer without worrying about watering it.


Following the raising of the tree I discovered Klaus had what I could only assume was ring worm. I tried to best capture it in photo form but it was in his ear and he was such a a baby about me touching it.


It’s hard to see, very faint in this picture but you can see the bottom half of the “ring” right where his ear tattoo is. At first I thought I had rubbed his ear a bit too hard after cleaning it one day, the ring looked like an irritated vein. However the next day it was obvious- or so I thought, that what I was looking at was ringworm. All I could think was how in the sam hell did this happen?! He had been crated for weeks. But then I thought well maybe he picked it up on the walk? In my self diagnosis research I learned picking it up from outside is rather rare.

Because Klaus has an implant that can never be attacked by any sort of infection we nabbed a saturday appointment with the vet and she was just as perplexed. It looked like a duck but it didn’t quack like a duck- meaning it didn’t fluoresce under black light like ringworm usually does. They took a swab and sent us home with some meds and I cursed Klaus for continuing to surprise and perplex everyone- at the expense to our dwindling bank account. In the end it wasn’t ringworm thank god because I went into total grossed out panic mode. Washing everything. Wiping everything down. Hand washing the floors with a diluted bleach solution. Which is good in preventing it from spreading, but my intention was to prevent myself from picking it up! In hind sight if it was the worm (which is misleading as it really isn’t a worm but rather a bacteria, but still gross!) we all would have gotten it!

After that debacle was a weekend of two craft shows I was tabling at. One was a total success actually my best one yet. The second one, not so much. Here is a picture of my table from the first day.


Just a taste of the handicrafts my busy little hands have been working on. I am trying to broaden my scope and reach with more markets as I want this to no longer just be a way so supplement my freelance work- but rather a viable and fantastic way to make some money!

I still feel a little light headed from the last two weeks and I am trying to remember if there was anything else that had my head in a whirl spin! Oh yes, one of my larger design clients had soooo many things for me to do to get ready for the new year. Everytime I checked something off the list I looked to see 3 more were added. Things are slowing down now, at least for the next two weeks but soon after that we are launching a new look which means all the packaging- think 30 years plus of products, need to be updated and photographed. Honestly though I am looking forward to this!

Anyways, KLAUS. Yes let’s talk about Klaus for a moment since this in fact his blog. He will be 9 weeks post op this Thursday. Friday he will have his radiograph recheck and I am almost positive he will be in the all clear. Things mellowed out for a little while when we started allowing him to chill with us on the floor. We stopped one of the anti-anxiety meds because they were having the complete opposite effect on him.

His poor crate! I will take some pics I promise. We tried to reinforce it with clasps that he has stretched out. He has the bars bent in a few places. Last night he freaked out so badly he broke open again! I come home to find the crate has moved 3 feet from the wall! I can not wait to get the all clear so we can start working him again.

He is sitting more square than I have EVER seen him, even leaning on his operated hip to lift his leg. I don’t see him in any pain really though I tend to give him a pain pill if we had a walk during a cold day as the temp seems to affect him. The only true concern I have is his muscle atrophy. I know it will be some time to build it back up, but if only you could truly see and feel how lumpy his leg is- between the bone and implant, it’s just gross feeling.

We didn’t get him into rehab. We just didn’t have the extra money sadly, so I worked on what I remembered- stretching, massage, exercises etc. The walks I think are helping immensely.

Here are some pics of the brat….20121208_001808

He’s been super cuddly lately which I love! I have never had a dog be so independent- he feels like a cat sometimes- “no pet me only right this second”.


And just because I can and because this is what I see more than I would like to, I thought I’d share this gem. Klaus will be neutered as soon as we can financially do it and most definitely when he gets the all clear from the surgeons on his hip. Fingers crossed he chills out, though I have heard mixed things about their temperament after a castration.

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Three weeks!

That’s right folks, it’s been three weeks since the surgery and you can color me surprised by how fast Klaus has been healing.

Yes he was walking the day of surgery but aside from the shaved fur you’d never know he had surgery! He’s so full of energy. Here’s a pic of his fur pants growing in. The incision looks great.


It’s all so exciting but terrifying all at once! He is back to barking and freaking out at the neighbors. He is pulling super hard on the leash. His tantrums haven’t subsided.

The other night Klaus broke out of his crate! Thank goodness we were home. But I hope that paints a better picture of the type of energy we are dealing with and trying to contain.

We have reinforced his crate and thank goodness Cornell sent us new meds to try. We are unable to increase the dose on the trazadone so we have another rx in our arsenal.

Next week we can start rehab. Though we can’t afford it right now we are going in for one appointment so we can get a refresher course on the types of exercises we should be doing. Also we can begin three short walks a day.

Which I have to say I’m super excited about. The other day all I wanted was to take Klaus for a walk. I wonder if any of my neighbors would let me walk their dogs?

He’s sitting straighter in the hip and even stood on his right leg to pee! Pretty mundane to most but a big deal for us. I look forward to next spring when we can get back to puppy play dates and back on track with his training!

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Klaus! You’ve given us no other choice!

Since Klaus has been so excited to show off his new hip by utilizing the extra space in his pen to romp about and rattle the sides- even jumping and pushing up against it, he will now be spending the majority of his time in his crate.

Sorry pal, but you have pressed your luck, when really there is no luck to press! We can not and will not risk you hurting yourself. If you fracture that implant, so help me I will have a heart attack.

A fractured implant equals emergency FHO surgery which is merely a salvage procedure and wouldn’t allow Klaus the kind of life a THR would.

He is not taking to being crated. Even with an increase in his sedatives. It’s a pretty stressful time for everyone. Imagine a two year old throwing a tantrum, all day long with only 20-60 minute breaks in between when they pass out from exhaustion!

I was happy to have access to the car today even if it was just to drive around for awhile! Like writing in this blog, driving serves its purpose as a form of therapy for me.

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Well that was short lived

I know Klaus would start feeling better sooner than his leg had time to heal. But three days after!? He is back to acting like his insolent bratty self!

Damn son! I thought at least a few more days. It started with him standing at attention and barking with intent- way too early this morning. Just like he used to do to let us know “hey humans! It is time I awoke to greet the day!”.

We have moved our bed downstairs into the living room to avoid all our stairs. It sucks because I am awake as soon as the sun is up. So Klaus? I would appreciate at least two more hours.


That is our bed- hastily made so it looks presentable and not so crazy should people stop by? Yeah I’ll just keep pretending too.

He then proceeded to lock his jaw up when I gave him his first round of meds- which is a liquid slurry injected into the mouth with a syringe. Mind you he has gladly taken it the other days.

Then as my husband walked by his pen he jumped up as if to greet him!

Jeezy creezy dog! Take it down a notch. Please? I am suffering horribly from anxiety/heartburn/palpitations already with this nonsense.

Oh and I pulled out another grey hair yesterday- thank you very much Klaus!

I wish I knew how to cope better. I am sure I am being paranoid about most everything I am worrying about. But this is such a big franken deal. Last night I noticed the inside of his leg was looking particularly “bulbous”.


I thought maybe it just looked so severe because he was shaved. Maybe it was just his muscle? The other side didn’t feel like it so turn on the worry wort button.

I emailed the picture to the surgeon who I assumed would get back to me Monday. I got a reply this morning! Thank you thank you thank you!

It’s edema or fluid build up. Should go away within a week. I noticed it looking much smaller today.

Yes we are paranoid parents! But what do you want? We just spent $5k on our dog. If something were to happen with the implant it would be a serious deal!

We have two weeks before the ecollar comes off. Once it’s off he will be able to chew on his bones which will help keep him occupied. Until then I will pretend his incessant whining are birds chirping in the background as I swing and relax in a hammock on my own secluded tropical island.

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Shit just got real

Klaus is home! That exclamation point isn’t necessarily of excitement but rather more of an indication of the sheer terror I am feeling. I got so worked up earlier I threw up! And I HATE throwing up. I can usually think through it.

His surgery went well. I wished I had made this post yesterday when I had time and wasn’t feeling so clouded in the head. We dropped him off Wednesday night. Because he was so nervous when they took him away for his initial exam, they gave him dexmedetomidine before we left so we could day goodbye without him losing his mind. I had to laugh at just how instant it took effect. We were told 20 minutes. It took 5! I’m the same damn way so apparently he truly is my fur child!

His surgery was Thursday morning at ten and I was told no news is good news. I got a call around three with an update. Like I said, surgery went well but he had a complication involving regurgitation. They cleaned out his mouth and nose as best they could but he was essentially suffering from rhinitis because the stomach contents burned the nasal passages. There was/is cause for concern with developing pneumonia should he regurgitate again and it gets in his lungs. His medicine tract includes meds to help with this.

The plan was to walk, yes walk! and feed him around 8. I received a call with concern for how groggy he still was. I explained he tends to act like that for 8-10 hours after anesthesia! His body temp was also really low still so they pushed his dinner time and walk to ten.

We were anticipating having to bring him home today as the surgeons felt it best because of his anxiety. I admit I wanted him kept longer because I am terribly concerned about him hurting himself. My husband had to work in preparation for an event tomorrow so I went to get him by myself. I checked in and went over the bill. The grand total with our hospital grant discount was $4,899.64. Phew! Even with all the fundraising it’s still a tough bill to swallow.

Going over all the discharge papers was super tough. We have to be firm and diligent in his rehabilitation. Also for the rest of his life we are on infection watch. Any infection he develops could ultimately go to the implant and cause it to break down. They showed me the femoral head they removed. In radiographs it doesn’t look so bad but check this out….

You can’t tell from this angle but it is half the size (height) it should be. That red worn spot is from where the cartilage broke down. That little piece is a bone spur! Poor boy. He received a hybrid implant which means the long part of the implant was cemented into the femur. The acetebellum (sp) is cementless.

It took three people to get him into the car. He became anxious and tried to rush the car. At this point I was so scared. I felt bad crating him with the e-collar because it was such a tight spot. But I just couldn’t risk him getting too crazy. He did fine on the ride home. Only whining and fidgeting a few times.

Getting him into the house was pretty gnarly. The meds he received at 4 had set in and he was super wobbly. I have concerns about bringing him in and out of the house to go to the bathroom by myself because it was terrible with two people and a sling! He is currently resting. Sometimes snoring. Obviously uncomfortable and unsure of his footing.



Sorry for such a long post! It’s been awhile and there was so much to write about. Keep us in your thoughts. Thank you everyone for your kindness and support so far. Thank you so much to the surgical team at Cornell.

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October 19, 2012 · 8:52 pm

I promise

I am so very sorry for the lack of posts. I took a break for my own sanity to separate myself from what I have deemed the “Klaus mental takeover”. I promise promise promise with my little human heart, that I will sit down and write a proper post very soon (maybe tonight).

Klaus had his surgery today and it has been an utter and total whirlwind of stress and anxiety. I have barely had a chance to call and notify everyone of his status.

Stay tuned lovelies!


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