Femoral Head Ostectomy and Hip Dysplasia in Sentry

Baymule

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Hip Dysplasia. Words and diagnosis that strike fear and grief in any dog owner. That's the words we got February 12, 2020. Our vet said he has never seen hips so bad in a dog so young and called him a train wreck.

We sure started out in a different place when we got Sentry. So full of happiness and hopes for the future.


Sentry started limping a couple of weeks ago and his hind leg was swollen. I figured that the other dogs and he had been playing too rough and penned him up to prevent him from re-injuring his leg. After all, scarcely a couple of weeks earlier, 200+ pounds of playing dogs slammed into the back of my knee and I went down screaming in pain. I am still slightly limping from that. The swelling went down, but we had another problem, it looked like Sentry's hip was out of joint. So we made an appointment and took him to the vet.

X-ray and a diagnosis hit us like a ton of bricks. I've had dogs all my life and have never had anything even remotely like this happen. The ball and socket joints had no socket. They were flat and already starting arthritis. The vet said there is a surgical procedure called Femoral Head Ostectomy, or FHO. He explained that there is a 97% success rate and that his own Golden Retriever had had the same surgery and was now 14 years old and has had a good life. The surgery involves cutting off the ball joint, over time, as it heals, scar tissue forms and acts as a cushion between the bones. The ligaments, muscles and sinews hold the leg in place. With Sentry's young age, 9 months, he stood a greater chance of a full recovery. We have taken a lot higher risks for a lot stupider reasons, so we scheduled surgery for the next day.

We got home and discussed euthanasia, that made us cry, we had to give him a chance. If he recovers like the vet thinks he will, we will have to do the other hip. If he makes it through all that and turns out to be a yard ornament, that is fine with us.

Some of you may think we are total idiots. Maybe we are. I'm pretty sure we are. Oh well. He has a chance at a pain free life. If he can't be a guardian, so be it, he can be a pet. Feel free to voice your opinion, whether you agree or not. This forum is for open discussion, we all learn from it, both the good and the bad. We learn from success and abject failures. I am posting this so that everyone might benefit from my success or failure. If you think I am stupid, go for it.

We picked him up Thursday. They brought him to us with a sling around his middle, to help him walk and take the pressure off his hip. When we got home, I cut a shopping bag down the sides and I used that for a sling. We put him in a large dog crate in the living room, he must stay confined for quite awhile. I take him out on a leash for potty breaks and I can increase his walks a little at a time. I have a 2 page post op instructions, with 4 phases, up through and beyond 60 days after surgery. He is on pain meds and antibiotics.

This is going to be a very intensive recovery, much the same as BJ's knee replacement surgery. Only this is a dog, a dog that doesn't understand that he should not have ever been born. He doesn't understand why he is and was in pain. He doesn't understand that he was doomed from birth and he doesn't understand that he has to suffer some more pain and misery in order to have a chance at a better life. He just looks at me with adoring eyes.

I will try to find a link for FHO post op instructions, if I can't , I will type in the whole thing. I want this, however it turns out, to be a learning experience for not just me, but for my many friends here and for people who might be faced with the same thing.

And THIS is why smarter people than myself caution to ALWAYS buy a puppy from an OFA certified breeder. OFA is Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.

By the time we go through all this surgery, rehab, pain and misery with Sentry, we will able to have purchased the finest, registered, puppy from OFA certified parents, in the whole damned country. We might end up with a pet. We may end up with a failure and an euthanized puppy. But that is a risk we are willing to take.

I have pictures on my phone and will have to switch to it. Sentry needs to take a walk, I'll be back.
 

Baymule

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This is his after surgery X-ray. Note the absence of a socket. It is flat, there is nothing to hold the femur ball in place. On the other side, the ball is now gone and you can see the staples from his surgery.

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First things first. When we got him home, he had to greet his friends. There was a whole lot of tail wagging going on.

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This is the sling I use to help him take the pressure off his hip. He is now walking fairly well without it but I still use it to go up and down the steps.

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His incision.

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thistlebloom

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:hugsHow could we criticize you for a decision that is only yours and BJ's to make? Whichever way you decided only you know what you all are willing to go through for an animal you have a bond with. I would support your decision no matter which direction you took, because I know that you have the smarts and tenacity to do what you know needs to be done and you are a compassionate, capable and knowledgeable farmer.

Now Sentry has no clue why he hurts, but I don't think dogs lay awake at night pondering the trajectory of their lives.
Fortunately for him, he was blessed to fall into the hands of a family that can make decisions based on his potential well being. All he knows is that he is happy being with you and your family and he is appreciated back.
God has created life with such an amazing capacity to heal. And your vet sounds skilled and knowledgeable in this area, so it's not something experimental.
I appreciate you sharing Sentry's story, I know this chapter is a stressful one.
 

Baymule

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Thanks for the kind words and encouragement. I said from the very start that Sentry was meant to be our dog. Indeed, we both feel that even more strongly now. What would happen to him had he fallen into the hands of someone who could not or would not give him a chance?
 

thistlebloom

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I said from the very start that Sentry was meant to be our dog. Indeed, we both feel that even more strongly now. What would happen to him had he fallen into the hands of someone who could not or would not give him a chance?
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Not to derail, but I know where you're coming from. I feel the same way about my Syringa.
 
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