Tag Archives: THR

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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Give thanks

On this day (after)  of giving thanks, I can’t help but think of the obvious things I am thankful for…..family, friends, a roof over my head, a kitchen full of food- albeit frozen and mostly in need of preparing, etc.

You know, what everyone is thankful for. Usually.

I must interrupt this bout of obvious with a splash of sass.

I am coming off of a three day bender of Klaus’ tantrums- one lasting 8 hours- this occurring after I ran all over hell’s creation running last minute errands. All I wanted was a moments peace to sit and drink a blasted cup of tea! Alas there is no such thing as a moment’s peace in a house with a 5 weeks THR post op dog.

Couple that with his tantrums starting at 8 in the morning these last two days I’ve reached my stress level mental breakdown limit, to say the least. At this point in time, I am thankful to still be able to hold onto any shred of sanity. Here is a 25 second clip of one of his tantrums. I apologize for the darkness but it’s only the audio you should concern yourself with. This is also early on from his surgery so imagine this for 8 hours straight but louder and more intense. I will snap a photo of his crate that he has bent as well so you can hopefully appreciate the intensity of his freak outs some more!

Another thing I am thankful for? My hearing. I seem to be unable to shove my earplugs far enough into the canal to even take the edge off. The fact I can still hear, is a testament to the lack of damage I have done (and Klaus has done) thus far.

I am thankful I haven’t given in to the drink, because lord help me I have considered all the things that would take the edge off. And that my dears is just too reminiscent of my father’s alcoholic days – and in the end just really pitiful.

I am thankful we can begin short walks with him this week because I foresee them helping to tire him out. He has had two already and he has done great- though he wasn’t as tired as I had hoped after.

I am thankful my husband is now truly enlightened to Klaus’ over the top tantrums and is more understanding to why I am in such a terrible mood 12 plus hours out of the day.

One day at a time right? I am trying to stay realistic about the situation, it is really stupid all around- especially for Klaus- he is after all the one locked up on the crate. It’s just very hard when one- you can’t hear yourself think to talk yourself out of a total cloud of rage and two- there is no moment of peace or joy during my day except when my head hits that pillow at night. I would think 5 weeks in, his tantrums and fits would be more manageable and tolerable, and dare I say less frequent? How is it things have only increased in intensity and terrible-ness?

In the end I really do hope everyone had a moment’s peace to relax and enjoy their family and friend’s company. I am also very thankful for the opportunity to have left the house yesterday and shared such a beautiful meal with my in-laws!



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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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I’m trying VERY hard to remain even keeled…..

but I am just not able to find my “happy place”. During my father’s drinking years- and ultimate sobriety, his mantra was always, through everything good and bad,  “calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean….”. All I see are stormy ‘drowny’ waves and my limbs are so tired from treading water.

I saw this on Facebook today: Much of the pain in life comes from having a life plan that you’ve fallen in love with and when it doesn’t work out, you become angry that you now have to pursue a new life plan. If you want to tame your inner demons, you must not become attached to any particular life plan, and remain open to there being a better, happier life plan.

I needed to read this today but more than just reading it, I need to adopt this. It’s not that I am angry, I am just so very tired of hitting every bump in the road imaginable. But I apparently need a new perspective.

We noticed last night Klaus licking at one of his toes. So we checked and another one of his nails is infected. This happened on the front foot a few months back and set us back in regards to getting him neutered. The medicine they put him on has to be worked out of his system before any surgery- castration and THR alike. By the time it had worked itself out we were looking at his (original) THR date.

Now we are possibly looking at a delay in his surgery- yet again. I am currently waiting to hear back from Cornell about it.

Klaus’ nails are black which makes trimming them a nightmare. I can’t tell you how many horror movie instances we have had with trimming them. Blood. Lots of blood. We have learned to do lots of short trimmings and it is because of this his nails are left longer than I would like. This lends him to stubbing them or having the catch etc.

Our vet was so very kind to just write us a RX instead of having to bring him in. The last time this happened it was $200. They also gave us a cheaper medicine. Again, very much needed as we have been tapping his hip fund for his repeat in tests!

I have to admit I had a total melt down the other night. It’s not to say I hadn’t had one prior to all of this. But something snapped in my brain. I was overcome by an overwhelming feeling of regret. I hate to say it out loud but I wished we had waited to get Klaus. I wished we had inquired more about the hip and elbow certifications. I wished I had asked more about the health guarantee and what that entailed- because having to give a dog back you have raised and loved since he was 9 weeks old is just awful. I wished we had gotten the hip dysplasia rider on our insurance. I could go on and on.

The whole time I was feeling so guilty for wishing we didn’t have Klaus. Do I love Klaus because I feel an obligation to him- to see this whole shit storm through, because I don’t believe anyone else can or will? Or do I genuinely love him? It’s tough. I feel like it all overlaps. Is there a difference so does it even matter? He’s been a giant pain in our ass almost from the beginning.

I am doing everything I possibly can to make his life more enjoyable.  Unconditional you say? I’d have to agree.

Sorry for such a somber and melancholy post. I’d lighten the load with some pictures- if only Klaus didn’t eat my phone! Everything works except for the camera- the one thing I really wish worked right not, go figure. I wonder if my insurance covers dog nomming?

I was JUST talking about unconditional love right?


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Please can someone else make this decision!

What was supposed to be an appointment for radiographs with a drop off and over night hospital stay for surgery tomorrow has turned into a bigger ordeal than I seem to be able to handle. Which, is just par for the course for the past week is it not? We are coming off of hitting many many snags even in our plan b for our finances- and in short despite our amazing credit, because I made the switch to self employed, and although making more than when I was working for the man, based off of last year’s taxes no one will give us a loan!

But that is neither here nor there as our biggest concern is what to do with Klaus’ surgery!

His blood work came back iffy- with possible signs of infection so they needed to run a second work up. I just got the call from the attending and so far things look ok and they are waiting on the urinalysis. This puts us driving back to Cornell next week for surgery.

The biggest snag of them all however is the surgeon’s concern for Klaus’ rehabilitation. We do not have a chill lap dog who will lounge about and be ok with just resting. No no no. We have a dog who is so protective of the house that any sound outside, human or dog he is jolted to a standing position and if we don’t catch it in time, is in the window LOSING HIS MIND! It is no exaggeration folks. It was a concern we had brought up initially back in the first consult. But I don’t think they got the jist of it until today.

So here I sit, with a dog who is drugged up from anesthesia from the radiographs, unable to eat (hasn’t eaten anything since 11 last night), with a pen and paper in front of me listing the pros and cons of each option.

All I can think of is “SHITE! This is where we were months ago!”. We were explained about the FHO and were almost sold on it when we really sat down and discussed everything, we decided on THR. Now we are back at considering the FHO because of the down time is 10 DAYS! But he would probably have to have his other hip done. If we do the THR probably just one hip so it’s one time we have to deal with this mess.

Is this deja vu or what?! This is all the stuff I highlighted months ago. FHO- less down time, but probably both hips so the same cost essentially as a THR. THR is more expensive but considered the cadillac of surgeries but has way more risks- ie shepherds bones are thinner so hammering an implant into a thin bone can cause it to break. If shit hit the fan they would essentially have to take out the implant and do an emergency FHO.


*I just got off the phone with my mom who spoke to my uncle who used to raise shepherds and is currently the proud papa to a rescue who is a total shit like Klaus. His verdict? THR. Even though the attending said he’d do an FHO if Klaus was his, he did say they have some anxiety meds which would help with Klaus’ down time.

Am I leaning towards the THR again? It feels like it but I’m not ready to make this decision just yet. I am way too overwhelmed and tired.

I’m tired too bud but you gotta hang in there while we figure this stuff out. We just want what’s best. And I am not ashamed to admit I just don’t know at this point! I just don’t know.


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Ring around the living room…..

So this past weekend one of my best friends got married. It was a hectic few days as I was part of the bridal party. With the hoopla happening out of town it would have been impossible to tend to Klaus so we boarded him at Camille’s. We decided to extend his stay by one day so we could tend to the living room. His “jail” has been ordered. We have rearranged the living room pushing the bulk of the furniture towards the fire place and freeing up space closer to the door. We have to buy some carpets to put down, especially a runner for the space in between his pen and the outside door so he isn’t slipping walking to go out. Shit is getting real!

Also, as a surprise to Klaus (so SHHHH!) we picked him up some new toys to hopefully keep him a little more occupied, though we shall see. I don’t know about you but a 75 lb whiny ass dog, penned up in a 6’x6′ (give or take) pen for 6 weeks sounds like a really good time! I just know he is going to whine and bark if we’re around and he’s in there. He has always felt the need to BE RIGHT WHERE WE ARE, wherever that may be- bathroom included.

Looking forward to hearing from Cornell as what they recommend we do. I have read to feed him his meals in some sort of interactive mind encouraging toy. Maybe. I just don’t want a lot of rolling about and chasing happening.

Stay tuned for pics of when everything is set up properly!

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Raven, our kindred spirit

Awhile ago I was contacted by Mark who’s dog Raven was in the EXACT same predicament as Klaus. Looking at her x-rays even gave me the chills because I really thought I was looking at Klaus’ x-rays- except it was her left leg and his right! Tomorrow will be Raven’s 12 week mark with her new hip and boy has it been  a journey!

The surgery was in its own right a success but the surgeons were met with some complications concerning the implant seating correctly. It was explained to Mark that her muscles had atrophied (something I am definitely scared with Klaus) and they had to be stretched to make everything fit. However this ended up being a good scenario for preventing dislocation following the surgery. The other night I was looking at Klaus’ hip and it is so misshapen and smaller so I wonder if this will pose a problem?

Mark touched on just about everything I have concerns for. Raven is a high energy dog (like Klaus) but after the surgery, and realistically so, she just didn’t want to move around so much. For 6 weeks the dog has to be confined except to be taken out for bathroom breaks. It’s recommended the dog is fed within the confinement.

He had some scares with her after incorporating range of motion exercises and some lameness she was exhibiting and she was rushed off to his vet for x-rays but thankfully nothing had dislocated.

Raven had cement less implants and after the 6 week mark, x-rays showed some bone growth around them. At 8 weeks walks could be incorporated- short ones. Again with the lameness and again x-rays were clear. This is what I have concern for. By nature I am a worry wart. I feel as if we will be back at our vets on a weekly basis with such and such concern. I AM SCARED TO DEATH OF DISLOCATION. Even now it is a constant concern for me.

Mark was comforting in the fact if he had to do it all over again he would. Since the surgery, her right hip has not had a single problem, which was a concern as it was not perfect either. Our surgeon mentioned that Klaus could very easily not need his left hip fixed once the right one was! Fingers crossed he is part of the 80% category of dog with just one THR!

Mark has also allowed me to share some pics of Raven and her “jail”. His most helpful advice has been to start thinking about Klaus’ “confinement” now and get it all situated and set up. Six weeks is a very long time for a dog to be confined. We want to make this as comfortable and void of stress- for Klaus and everyone involved.

Look at her! Do you think a vet would write me a RX for some vallium? Not for Klaus, for me! This is going to be so rough. He started out with a smaller enclosure but extended the pen out for some more room. I need to get a pen and some carpets. We have hardwood floors. Definitely need a runner from the crate to the door outside. We will be rearranging our living room very soon to put his jail cell closer to the door and away from windows- he gets really stressed with noises outside. Radio will probably be on at all times- or something to distract him. Can I just say though- Jesse and I were joking the other night that we created a whiny little emo dog because anytime we’d leave we’d turn the iPod to Elliot Smith 🙂

The lattice on top is to prevent Raven from jumping out. Something I have concerns for with Klaus. I began looking at 4′ tall pens but Mark made a point that might encourage jumping. This is going to be an interesting time for everyone. I am considering perhaps getting only one pen and hooking it up to his crate. His crate is giant sized- like Great Dane sized. And he does love it. There might be some trial and error involved with creating the best set up possible!

I’m looking forward to hearing from Mark about what the doctor has to say in the next few weeks for Raven’s recovery. He is the closest thing to my own situation and it has been so helpful and encouraging to hear from him!

Good luck Raven!


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