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My Toy Fox Terrier is about 14 months old and shows symptoms…

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My Toy Fox Terrier is...
My Toy Fox Terrier is about 14 months old and shows symptoms of hip dysplasia. He hops with his hind legs when running and going up and down stairs, rarely jumps, sits on his side, has an unusual gait and is very tired (sometimes for days) after exercise. He is not over weight, but hip dysplasia can be a concern with this breed. Is there any other injury or condition which should be considered? How urgent is it to get to my vet? He is playing and eating normally, and there hasn’t been any sudden change. Are there any supplements which would be worthwhile? It may well be unrelated, but he is missing hair on his hind paws, mites and fungus have been ruled out.
Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Dog Veterinary
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6/24/2010
Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Bob, Veterinarian replied 8 years ago
Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Veterinarian
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Satisfied Customers: 7,940
Experience: 35 years of veterinary practice in small animal medicine
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Hello, I'm Dr. Bob.
While the "Bunny hopping" gait you have described is a very common sigh of hip dysplasia, it is by no means the only possibility.
Panosteitis, osteochondrosis, femoral head fractures, hypertrophic osteodystrophy, cranial cruciate ligament injuries, lumbosacral injuries and disease, arthritis, and infectious disease like Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and various fungal diseases must all be considered.
Still, the most common cause by far, is hip dysplasia.
A radiograph of the pelvis will almost always diagnose this condition.
This is not an emergency situation, but your veterinarian can help you dog live a long normal life and should be consulted relatively soon to control the possible pain he may be experiencing.
In the meantime, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate available from pet stores, health food stores and online, can help manage the symptoms of many cases. Unfortunately it requires about six weeks to achieve its full effects. Aspirin, given at 10 -25 mg per kg with a bit of food can help a lot to manage the pain, if present, temporarily. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories like Rimadyl do a remarkable job of relieving mild to moderate pain, usually with less chance of stomach upset.
Surgery may be the ultimate answer to giving your dog a long comfortable life.
If you should have further questions, please let me know.
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Customer reply replied 8 years ago

What dosage range for glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate should I look for with an 8 pound dog? Is there any reason to stick with veterinary formulations or would the human version work just as well? Taste may be a factor, but I'd like to shop for a bargain if he will be taking this permanently.

We got Zeus at 8 weeks old, so major trauma is something that would have likely been apparent. His gait is like that of a Clydesdale, more of a trot or prance, and he has had it since we brought him home. Within a day of bringing Zeus home he started having diarrhea which turned out to be coccidia, and a couple of days later his brother Apollo came down with similar symptoms but unfortunately in that case it was parvo (our vet managed to keep him going for two weeks, but ultimately had experienced too much illness for a 3 pound dog). Though thankfully he seems to have had immunity to parvo, Zeus seemed to be sick often as a puppy, got pneumonia at least once, and continues to suffer with allergies and an occasional cough which sounds like he smokes a pack a day. The breeder, it turned out, was pretty bad so I wouldn’t be very surprised to learn hip dysplasia wasn’t something considered when breeding or if disease or some other preventable cause was responsible. Many of the specific conditions listed above would be pretty unusual in such a small dog; given his history what would you consider to be the most likely cause after hip dysplasia?

Any ideas on the missing hair on his feet? I’ve thought this might have been caused by an injury or poor sanitary conditions with the breeder. It is more of a curiosity than a concern at this point, but our vet has done several scrapings for mites and fungal cultures, so the usual culprits can probably be ruled out.

Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Bob, Veterinarian replied 8 years ago
Hello again.
The next most likely cause - strictly speaking statistically, would probably be the lumbosacral disease. Malformations in this area would cause the symptoms you've described.
The glucosamine products are fairly similar in labeling but some seem to be more effective than others. This is a very lightly regulated area of medicine -nutraceuticals- and controlled studies of the numerous versions of the product are lacking. The human product may very well be less expensive, but the effectiveness may not be as great.
Palatability of any of the various forms of this product doesn't seem to be an issue with most dogs.
As for the loss of fur on his feet, I suspect that he may be doing this to himself by licking. Referred pain from many of the possible conditions listed can be a powerful irritant, resulting in his licking his feet excessively. There are other conditions that may cause localized fur loss as well, but I've seen this particular scenario on many occasions.
Your veterinarian is following standard procedures in trying to identify the cause, but some of these conditions are extremely difficult to nail down.
If I may be of further assistance, please let me know.
Dr. Bob
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Dog Veterinarian: Dr. Bob, Veterinarian replied 8 years ago
I realized in my last post I didn't answer your question as to dosage.
The product I use is Cosequin as I've found it to most consistently work in these cases.
The dose would be one to two regular strength capsules per 24 hours.
You can hardly overdose this kind of product, but you can underdose or waste it.
I would recommend going with a known product like Cosequin first to see if you can get a noticeable response, then try one of the other less expensive products after a couple of months, to see if it makes a difference. Half of a human adult size tablet or capsule should be fine.
Dr. Bob
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