WeCare Rottweiler Rescue, Inc and All God's Creatures.

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In Loving Memory of Taz  -  August 1994 - August 3, 2006

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Hip Dysplasia/Arthritis
                             Story of a Rottweiler with Hip Dysplasia and Arthritis Treated
                                                               The Natural Way

First, some history about Hip Dysplasia and Arthritis in a dog.

Hip Dysplasia
When canine hip dysplasia (CHD) was first described in the 1930s, it was thought to be a rare condition. Today we know it as the most common inherited joint problem of large breed dogs. Despite years of research and the combined effort of the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals and responsible dog breeders, it has been impossible to eliminate hip dysplasia from breeds of dogs like the Akita, German Shepherd Dog, Labrador and Golden retrievers, and the Rottweiler.
Diagnosis of CHD is based on breed, history, physical exam findings, and an x-ray of the dog's pelvis. The standard "hip-extended" view is taken with the dog on his back, his legs fully extended, and his knees inwardly rotated. The x-ray film is then evaluated for the general appearance of the hip joints as well as for signs of degenerative joint disease (DJD).
For 30 years, this same x-ray view has been used to subjectively grade hips as having excellent, good, or fair conformation and to try to predict which dogs are less likely to develop CHD.  Breeders hoped that breeding the best dogs and removing others from the breeding program would eliminate hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, there is still a 20-25 percent chance of producing a puppy with CHD even when using the OFA method of hip evaluation.  Clearly, a better diagnostic method is needed.

Literally, hip dysplasia (CHD), means "badly formed hip". In order to understand this complex problem it is first necessary to understand the anatomy of the canine hip. This ball and socket joint consists of two basic parts - the acetabulum and the femur. The femur, or thigh bone, consists of the head (the ball) and the neck (the part of the femur that joins the long shaft of the bone to the head). The acetabulum forms the socket part of the joint and it is into this socket that the head of the femur rests.
In unaffected dogs there is a good fit between ball and socket. An easy way to think about it is to imagine a tennis ball and a cup. If you put the ball into the cup there is a good fit. If you put the ball into a saucer, it will roll around loosely. This poor fit between femoral head and acetabulum is characteristic of dysplastic dogs. CHD can also be diagnosed if the femoral neck is shortened or if there is an improper angle between the femoral head and the long axis of the femoral neck
The hip joint is strengthened by a ligament going directly from the femoral head into and attaching to the acetabulum. The joint is surrounded by the joint capsule - a thick band of connective tissue. (Foster and Smith)
Dogs are not born with CHD. As puppies grow, laxity of the muscles and ligaments surrounding the joint and the poor fit between the bones produces excess movement of the acetabulum. The separation between the bones is called subluxation, and at its most severe it can become a total dislocation (the head of the femur leaves the acetabulum). The surfaces of the bones start out completely smooth, but with CHD there begin to be changes (remodeling). Bone rubbing against bone causes an irritation which results in irregular bone growth and wear on the articular surfaces. These irregular surfaces result in Osteoarthritis which can cause significant pain. As the bone of the acetabular rim is ground away, it becomes shallower and it is now more difficult to keep the head of the femur properly seated.
Outward signs of hip dysplasia can range from none to severe pain. Gait (movement) may or may not be affected. Some outward signs that MAY be seen in affected dogs are:

Difficulty getting up from a lying or sitting position or in climbing stairs.
  A bunny hop gait (moving both rear legs together).
  A painful reaction to extension of the rear legs.
  Pushing on the rump may cause the pelvis to drop.
  When rolled over, some affected dogs will resist having their legs spread into a frog-leg   position.
  A side to side sway of the croup
  Dogs may resist jumping
  Lameness may be seen especially after strenuous exercise.
It is very important to understand that the only way to accurately diagnose CHD is through X-rays. The above symptoms may also be seen in dogs with normal hips and affected dogs may display none of these symptoms at all.

As stated above, the only way to conclusively diagnose CHD is through x-rays of the hip joint. Positioning of the dog is very important if the films are to be read correctly. It is wise to find a practitioner who is experienced in correct positioning when seeking evaluation. The are currently two main methods for evaluating hips in use in the U.S. It is beyond the scope of this article to evaluate the merits and drawbacks of these methods, so only a brief description will be given.. Anyone planning to begin a breeding program, or wishing to improve hips in a current program, is encouraged to study both in more depth.
CHD is a inherited trait that is influenced by several genes (polygenic). It is not caused by any environmental factors, but environment can influence the expression of the disease (Corley, Willis, Cargill/Thorpe-Vargeson, Carricato). In other words, how you raise your puppy won't determine whether or not he is dysplastic, but it can affect when and perhaps if, he begins to develop symptoms. Some common factors which have been proposed to worsen, but not cause, CHD are:

Rough play, jumping, climbing stairs or slick floors.
excess weight gain or rapid growth.
calcium supplementation (may increase the bone remodeling).
Forced running for any distance, especially on tarmac, asphalt or other hard surfaces.
Therefore it makes sense to keep puppies lean, avoid any type of forced exercise or very rough play and provide surfaces that allow for good traction.
The OFA recommends the following guidelines to decrease the incidence of CHD in a breeding program:

1. Breed normal to normal
2. Breed normals with normal ancestry
3. Breed normals from litters with low incidence of CHD
4. Select sire that produces a low incidence of CHD

When deciding to breed or to purchase a puppy it is wise to look at the hip clearances of not only the parents, but the brothers and sisters, grandparents and other offspring of the parents. Having mostly OFA clear relatives on both sides is thought to increase the chances of the litter having clear hips.
Hip Dysplasia is characterized by a malformed "ball and joint" socket in your animal. As you might expect, this ill-fitting combination causes a series of complications. Here, chronic inflammation is common; calcium build-ups occur; there is muscle pain; and the tissue in the surrounding areas begin to break down.

Arthritis -
Osteoarthritis is a chronic, slowly progressing condition that is caused by the breakdown and destruction of your pet's cartilage. As that occurs, the bony structures begin to rub against one another causing pain and discomfort.  
Osteochondrosis is a condition where you are contending with a medical condition that results from poor breeding. Improper or inadequate diet can also cause this condition (both factors may be at play). It is characterized by cartilage deterioration and tissue is generally both inflamed and painful.
Degenerative Joint Disease involves some kind of a breakdown or destruction in portions of the joint, usually cartilage. Just as in the case of osteoarthritis, this condition does not necessarily mean that your pet is experiencing any inflammation.
Hypertrophic arthritis involves excessive bone growth and/or "spurs" on the joints themselves. In such situations, the pet is typically experiencing a lot of pain.

Our Rottweiler

We felt the need to give you some exciting news, information and hope for dogs who has either or both Hips Dysplasia and Arthritis. 
      Going against the advice of many veterinarians,  we choose not to sit back, see this Rottweiler live on Rimadyl, which is a deadly drug for many dogs.   We even had a few Rottweiler Rescues think we were a little far fetch, plus we were even thought to be a little crazy at our method.  We had the need to beat the odds, rather then watching this Rottweiler become crippled and live a life of pain.  
      We treated this Rottweiler with a natural method verses drugs.  The treatment consist of supplements, vitamins, natural pain relievers and we did a lot of research on dog foods to learn what was important for this Rottweiler as well as other Rottweilers. 
      Through our research we found a Company called  Diamond Dog Food who makes Premium Edge and Professional Dog Food.   The Premium Edge has no wheat, corn or by-products which was a real concern for our Rottweilers. 
      Find a dog food that has Glucosamine/Chondroitin Sulfate, proper Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratios, with controlled ash levels.   My concern with ash levels had to be a very low rate to prevent kidney disease.  Many of your supermarket/discount stores selling dog food has very high rates of ash, nor do they have  Glucosamine/Chondroitin Sulfate, proper Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratios in their food. 
      Pick up your dog food bag and read the ingredients.  Many companies will not list the ash levels in their dog food, nor will they have Glucosamine/Chondroitin Sulfate and the proper amount of Omega-6 to Omega-3.   Does the dog food your using tell you where the meat comes from or the by-products?
      You might ask, why is Glucosamine/Chondroitin Sulfate and the proper amount of Omega-6 to Omega-3 so important.   First, Glucosamine/Chondroitin is important for the Rottweiler breed, because Glucosamine Chondroitin is an all natural alternative to pain killers.  While pain killers may be beneficial, they only mask the pain, leaving the joint in the same condition as when your dog initially experienced the pain.
      Glucosamine and chondroitin provide the joints with the building blocks they need to repair damage caused by Hip Dysplasia, arthritis, over-exertion or injuries.
      Glucosamine and chondroitin are all natural compounds present in the body to help form cartilage. Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements help the body stimulate cells to build cartilage and repair damaged joints.   Allows freedom & relief from joint pain and the ability to enjoy pain free activities again.
      Omega-6 & Omega-3, The two major types of essential fatty acids include the omega 6 fatty acids and the omega 3 fatty acids. Since omega 6 fatty acids are more available in most plant oils.
      Omega 3 fatty acids beneficial to a healthy coat and skin, aid in prevention of arthritis, reduce blood pressure, essential for normal function of the brain and enhance the immune system. Sources for omega 3 fatty acids include cold fish oil, such as salmon, cod and mackerel and flax seed oil.  The word essential means that the body cannot make these oils, and they must be provided in food.
      I found these supplements to be vital in the recovery of this Rottweiler.   Other supplements were added to the Rottweilers food, such as Vitamin E, Ester C, as the Ester C was a large part in controling the Arthritis.  Vitamine B-12 as needed.
      Through a good quaility food, supplements and vitamins, you will be able to view the x-rays of this dog.   The x-rays are 17 months a part.   The results were amazing.
      This Rottweiler who was considered to be made comfortable with Rimadyl and not allowed to do much activities, now leads a normal live of running and playing in the yard to Obedience classes. 
      The veterinarians who once thought this was silly are now asking me for the formula. 
                        Please view the x-rays below to see for yourself.

For those who have your dog on Rimadyl (Carprofen) or are considering Rimadyl, please read the following link before making that decision.   Many Veterinarians do not give the dog owner the truth about side effects and deaths that have occurred in dogs due to this drug.  It is your right and responsibility to ask questions and request the warnings from the makers of  Pfizer.   The warning labels are on each Pfizer-Rimadyl bottle, however many dog owners never see the original bottle.  Pfizer was ordered to place the warning of deaths on their commercials or pull their ad.   The ad was pulled.  Always inquire about any medication that is prescibed for your dog.

The following x-rays were taken on a Rottweiler who has severe Hip Dysplasia and Arthritis.    Through a great deal of research, we found some real possible healing within this Rottweiler.

                   X-Rays Taken May 2001                                          X-Rays Taken October 2002
                     Weight was 135 lbs.                                                  Weight is 106 lbs now.

     This x-ray was taken on May 2001                                   This x-ray taken on October 2002
     Shows the right hip , which you will                                  shows the right hip has a define line in
     viewing on the left side of this photo.                                the socket, you will see the hip socket
     The socket is squared and pushed up                              is now rounded.  Half of the arthritis is
     against the hip bone.  You can see                                  gone and so are the spurs.  This x-ray
     spurs and arthritis in that area.                                        shows the dog is not in pain as the dog
                                                                                          was at the time of the first x-ray.

Did you know a fresh Pineapple has Bromelain in it, with Natural Anti-Inflammatory Proteolytic Enzyme, Vegetarian Bromelain is a protein digesting enzyme naturally present in pineapple sap and stem. Bromelain is classified as a proteolytic enzyme because of its ability to digest proteins. Bromelain affects protein turnover in the body including proteins found in joint tissue. This may account for Bromelain"s anti-inflammatory effect. Bromelain can enhance absorption of nutrients such as glucosamines, sulfur and bioflavonoids.
Did you know Yucca contains natural steroidal-like saponins that are effective anti-inflammatories and anti-spasmodics which are known to reduce pain associated with arthritis.
Ask you Veterinarian about Adequan injections.  Adequan is a "polysulfated glycosaminoglycan" which is also a cartilage component but instead of coming from sea mollusks, adequan is derived from the windpipe cartilage of cattle. Adequan has numerous beneficial effects for the arthritis patient including the inhibition of harmful enzymes involving joint cartilage destruction, stimulation of cartilage repair, and increasing joint lubrication.
This is a series of two injections into the hip area twice a week alternating each hip for 4 weeks, then one injection every 6 months or as recommended by your veterinarian.
Boswellic acids have an anti-inflammatory action much like the conventional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) used for inflammatory conditions. Boswellia inhibits pro-inflammatory mediators in the body, such as leukotrienes. As opposed to NSAIDs, long-term use of boswellia does not lead to irritation or ulceration of the stomach. Controlled, double blind studies have shown that boswellia extracts are very helpful for ulcerative colitis.
Green Lipped Mussel natural source of protein, chelated minerals and glycosaminoglycans which play a beneficial role in joint health and function. Relieving the symptoms of most forms of arthritis.

Evening primrose oil contains one of the highest concentrations of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) of any food substance. enhances pain relief, inflammation reduction, increased blood flow and decreased blood clotting.
Alfalfa is one of the richest mineral foods, and contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and all known vitamins. Attributes accredited to alfalfa include relief from pain of arthritis, healing of intestinal ulcers, gastritis, liver disorders, and good for better breath, cancer and help in lactating bitches. It also has some digestive enzymes, which help aid in proper digestion.
Arnica, this is a homeopathic medicine.  Do not touch the tiny pills. The oils and salt on your fingers will cause homeopathic medicines not to effective. Purchase at a health food store or online.
L-Glutamine helps build muscle in a dog.   L-Glutamine is an amino acid, just like protein. It is the most abundant free amino acid in muscle tissue, and it plays a principal role in protein metabolism, cell volumizing, and anti-catabolism. Yes, lots of big fancy words, however, "anti-catabolism" is the reason that I started to use it . Catabolism is the breaking down of the dog's muscles, which is something that you don't want to happen. When the dog is excerising it could have a catabolic effect on your muscles.   The dog's body needs something to burn for energy when he/she is excerising and sometimes the dog's body uses his/her own muscle for energy. This is where L-Glutamine comes in. Since it is an "Anti-catabolic" it will allow your dog to maintain as much muscle as possible and prevents muscle cell breakdown.   It is very important for a dog with Hip Dysplasia to keep the muscle strong in both from and back legs.  Exercise is also very important.

These are examples of natural supplements which can be used to releave pain.  While pain relief is beneficial, they only mask the pain, leaving the joint in the same condition as when your dog initially experienced the pain.  The important factor is to Heal the problem your dog is having.  The natural pain supplements will relieve the pain while your dog is healing.
I prefer to buy my supplements individually rather then a mixture of supplements in one pill that are not needed.  If my dog is not in pain, there is no need for Green Lipped Mussel, yucca or Bromelain for an example to be given.   Pain and inflammation supplements should only be given on as needed bases, unless the dog suffers every day without them. I like to buy the product tailored to its particular therapeutic needs.

If you would like more information, please feel free to contact me and ask me any questions, I would love to hear from you.  For further information on how you can naturally help your dog, please send us email.

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