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.