Femoral Head Ostectomy and Hip Dysplasia in Sentry

Baymule

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I try to include him in what I am doing, but there are limits. I can't turn him loose, to keep him from running, so I keep him on a leash. I can hook it over a T-post if I need to, but for the most part he is right next to me. It's been 2 weeks, I think I'll move the gate out on his 6x6 pen to give him more room. Not far enough to run, but a little more room.
 

YourRabbitGirl

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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.
The topic I don't wanna talk about. Hip dysplasia is an irregular type of a hip socket that can ultimately cause debilitating lameness and painful joint arthritis in its more serious form. My dog is suffering too.
 

Baymule

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Wednesday will be 4 weeks post surgery. Sentry continues to get better and better. Might seem like a small thing, but now, not every time, but I have seen him stand on his surgery leg and hike his other leg to pee. That is HUGE. He wants to run and play so bad, I don’t dare let him go! I snapped this picture yesterday of him and Carson playing, on what I allow to be on Sentry’s terms.

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That is true friendship. Carson geared it down to what Sentry can do.

I didn’t move the gate out on Sentry’s pen. Thinking about this week. Maybe. Just worried about him running up and down and hurting himself. We’ll see. Right now he is a dog rug in the living room floor. LOL
 

Baymule

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It’s a drizzly day. I had 2 rows ready in the garden for planting English peas. I left BJ, Sentry and Carson in the house, ran out and got my English peas planted. These dogs have it rough.

Carson always sleeps in the weirdest positions.

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Sentry clearly thinks the lights are too bright. Turn off the lamp!

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Baymule

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How's Sentry doing?
He healed up and is able to go hang out with the other dogs and guard sheep. He runs, plays, but is definitely crippled. He rests the leg when standing and it just sorta dangles. His other hip joint is bad too, but I'm thinking that if we have it operated on, he won't have a good leg to stand on. We didn't have his shoulders x-rayed, but I think they are also compromised. Just watching his gait, the way he stands and the way he struggles to stand from laying down, this poor dog truly is a train wreck.

In the meantime, he loves me with all his heart and then some. He follows me, keeps me in his line of sight and lays at my feet at night in the living room. He watches the sheep, he runs the front fence with the other dogs, chasing off garbage trucks, kids on bikes, truck and trailers, motorcycles and other monsters that threaten the Dog Kingdom. He is a happy dog.

I have been observing him closely. In my opinion, his skeletal structure is so bad, that no amount of "fixing it" will ever make him right. The operation he had bought him some time. Literally it bought time for him and for us to love him. I would do the same thing in a heartbeat. I will not put him through another surgery.

He spends the night on a dog bed on the screened in porch, it is where he chooses to be. He and Carson eat in the kitchen, BJ feeds the dogs. By evening, he is exhausted. Living life at full speed takes a lot out of a compromised dog, but I won't take that away from him. He is sleeping on the porch now, waiting on me to go outside and do chores. I don't allow the dogs in with the horses, mainly because Prince likes to play and would probably hurt them. Prince is such a butt...… If he were to kick Sentry, it would more than likely be life ending. Sentry, true to his name, waits patiently at the gate until I come back out. I've been letting Joe and Pearl graze the yard and Sentry follows them, guarding them, especially Joe.

I passionately love this dog and it is slowly tearing me apart to have to come to the decision to not "save" him, but quietly and lovingly let him go when the time comes. I will not prolong his agony. I watch him go about his daily life, being a dog and living his life to the fullest. I do not regret the first surgery, but there will not be another one.
 

Mini Horses

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It is hard to watch. You are doing what you need to keep him comfortable & happy. In time the healing may be sufficient to help offset the other side stress. But, I agree with you on more operations We know their time with us is limited and never know how limited.

The important thing is the love you can both share. :hugs It's a good thing to have a "porch guard"!! Plus a willing walk-along for chores. He will adjust to the problems. Some herbal pain/joint relief may help in the future.
 

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