Big trouble for my big dog

Well, this just sucks.

One of our beloved Newfoundlands, Angus (aka The Newf Who Rules The Universe With An Iron Paw) had to go to the vet yesterday for a skin condition- very common in these dogs (we have three currently, scattered throughout the family). It was no big deal, just a hot spot he’d been scratching, treatable with a skin spray and Keflex. While my husband was there, he mentioned to our vet that Angus’ hips were popping a bit more than usual (we know he has mild dysplasia). Doc suggests an x-ray, so we do.

The verdict? Not good news, that’s for sure. Both back knees- shot; left hip- ball is only 30% in the socket; right hip- ball is completely out of the socket. Only the arthritic changes in the joints are holding everything together, apparently.

God damn it.

A little background- Angus is big, even for a Newf, about 150-160 pounds, and he is almost 5 years old, which is middle-aged or older for a giant breed (on average). Hip dysplasia is depressingly common in Newfs, like about 75-95% of the breed will have at least mild dysplasia, so I don’t blame my breeder. But I am still upset.

Surgery is out of the question. It’s not the money (we can afford it), but the impact on the dog, as well as the chances of success and subsequent quality of life. Our sweet Tristan the Bionic Newfoundland has had four surgeries with tons of problems, and now doesn’t even HAVE a right hip anymore.

This sucks. We chose Angus for his fierce intelligence, undying loyalty, huge heart and loving soul (betcha thought you couldn’t tell all that about a 4 month-old dog, but you can!). He is perfect with our kids and the most amazing dog we have ever owned. And now? We guess that within 6 months, give or take, he could come up completely lame.

So what do we do? Love him, put him on a diet to try and lessen the load on his joints, give him a little excercise and tons of attention, and pray.


I, too, have a large dog with joint problems. Have you tried Glucosomine/Chondroitin for pain and/or joint repair? I realize at this point it may have progressed too much. Just hang in there and lots of love to you both from me and Patchasaurus! XOXO

My foster parents had a greyhound with somewhat similar problems. Just love him lots. He’ll appreciate it even if he can’t walk well. :slight_smile:

Lisa, he’s been on it most of his life, because we knew this was probably coming, just not so soon!

Unfortunately, once he is unable to get around, that will be it. One reason is that he is too big to be carried or to use a cart, as I have seen small breeds use. But the main reason is quality of life.

Rimadyl is a wonderful drug that should keep him pain-free. It’s hard to know how much pain he’s in, because Newfs don’t cry or complain (they are draft animals, basically). But you can see it in their eyes. I know that Rimadyl has side effects like liver damage as a result of long-term use, but this won’t be a long-term thing.

We really did plan for this a long time ago, so I guess it’s easier than something hitting out of the blue, like for Silver Fire and Sunny. But I still cried my eyes out in front of my kids last night…

I am so sorry. Your pets are really lucky to have you.

Big wet kisses. XX

My heart is breaking for you - I lost my beloved Newfie a couple of years ago.

Unfortunately Newfies are prone to a lot of major health problems, as are the other giant breeds. The amazing thing is that they manage to give so much love and joy during such a relatively short lifespan.

Angus is lucky to have you - as you have no doubt been lucky to have him share your lives.

I don’t have to tell you how gently Newfies live their lives I only ask you that if it becomes necessary, you’ll gently let him go.

That said, my Newfies mum is a crochety totally arthritic 12 year old who needs to be lifted in and out of cars these days and she’s doing just fine. Newfies mightn’t cry, but you can usually tell when they are in distress. Let your heart guide you on this one.

My heart goes out to you in massive volume. My beloved Bitz (Lab and Rott mix) is a 3 YO, 94 lb. sweetheart with all the same personality traits you described in your Angus. I don’t know what I would do if I were to suddenly discover she was in such serious shape.

Give him all the love he can soak up for as long as he can handle it, and give him a belly rub for me. My thoughts are with you.

I have used a product called ArthaFlex. It has glucosamine chrondite. It made a HUGE difference with my dog. It took about 5 weeks but I saw a huge improvement. I hope it works for you and your hound.

God, I love you guys.

Angus is crashed out by the front door, waiting for my hsband to come home. He had a good dinner, some lovin’, and more medication! If only we were all so lucky!

When the time comes, we will let him go. We’ll save our tears for later, and give him the loving support he needs. I will not have a dog living in chronic pain, or living a life that doesn’t make him happy. I could never keep an animal alive just to make myself feel better, or less sad.

If only every dog could have a companion like you!


Angus just jumped up to steal a chew toy from Holly (the Newf who replcaed Brendan in our home, but not in our hearts!), and his hindquaters made some really gross popping noises that were clearly audible ACROSS THE ROOM!

God, this is gonna be hard…

I just had to chime in and say that I love Newfs.

I took my son out to a farm when he was about 4. They had a Newf (named, somewhat unoriginally, "Newf’) who made it his personal obligation to shepherd my son as he wandered around the place. It was so cool watching this huge dog watch over this little kid as he explored.

My son returned with copious amounts of dog slobber on him, but he didn’t mind, because he could hug Newf. (All of the other family dogs were way too small to give a decent hug to.)

Newfs are cool. I wish yours the best.

I wish Angus the best. Seriously.

I love big dogs, but these joint problems are so damn common. Ugh.