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Hip displaysia in older dogs

Published on: February 12, 2024 • By: RVO · In Forum: Dogs
February 12, 2024 at 07:20pm
I have a 12 yr. old Maltese that is exhibiting signs of hip dysplasia, noticeable by the way she walks on her back two legs, in a hopping style.  She has severe arthritis in her right hip and had started a series of monthly Librela injections.  She doesn’t appear to be in any pain. At her age, and because of an enlarged heart I rule out surgery.  Would pain meds be my best course of action?
Liz Buchanan BVSc MRCVS
February 12, 2024 at 09:51pm
Hello - and excuse me for saying that your question is somewhat contradictory.   You tell me that your dogs is in no pain and then ask which pain releif is best.  Of course, a dog that isn't in pain would need no pain relief.  However, prior to that, you tell me that the dog has severe arthritis and is limping.  Of course, any dog that is limping due to arthritis is likely to be doing so because they are in pain ie because it hurts when they put their foot down, so they walk in an abnormal way (they limp) to try to avoid that.  Being twelve years old is no reason to avoid surgery on a dog - however the body system is older and may need eg a drip to maximise blood flow to the kidneys and tests beforehand to ensure that the body is likely to cope.  If the heart might be a problem (you don't mention what's wrong with the heart), the tests might include a cardiac ultrasound and having a specialist advise whether or not to go ahead.  I'm not sure whether investigations have gone this far or not, but in any case I hear that you don't wish to go ahead with surgery, in which case it's reasonable to decide against further research into the matter.  Finally, to the question about which pain meds; that is one for your vet.  There is never just one kind of pain releif that will work in a situation, but some kinds may be preferable to others due to all kinds of factors, from the method of giving (tablets, injections, oral liquid) to balancing the side effects against any prior illnesses that your pet might have, to how long the medications lasts, to how strong the pain releif.   Pain releif is very definitely best chosen by thd clinician who best understands the conditions and the needs of the pet.  This is certainly not me, so may be something to take their advice on.  "Which drug would be besf for my dog?  Which other drugs did yu consider / what is the reason you didn't choose drug X?' are very valid questions to ask your vet.  Wishing you all the best in getting to the bottom of this question.
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