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JDM

Hip Displaysia?

14 posts in this topic

Has anyone had experience with hip dysplasia? In the past, I have never owned a dog with it.

My 6.5 year old lab has a problem. While pheasant hunting in warmer weather, without access to swimming water, he seems to overheat very quickly and his back legs get wobbly. It has happened three times now. After water, rest, and a little nurtrition, he snaps back and is fine. I do have to be careful in weather over 60 degrees and in areas without swimable water. It happened Saturday in SD in a slough that was only about 150 yards long. It was also the first hunt of the day (and of the trip). My feeling is that it was a body temperature regulation issue because I have hunted him in similiar temps with access to water (last weekend in ND) and it has never been a problem. It has also never happened in colder, late season weather, or in his first four years on this planet. One of my hunting partners, who is a very experienced dog person, thinks it is hip displaysia. We talked to a vet friend of his on the phone and he agreed. The vet suggested that as the dog gets older, it will get worse and more frequent and thinks that the dog is in pain. This is a VERY athletic, completely in shape 74 lb black lab male. Other than the episodes, he has never shown any physical limitations in running, jumping, climbing hills, or swimming.

I am going to get him x-rayed to see if there is an issue. The vet I spoke said that if he is displastic, that they can replace the hips. Has anyone ever done this to a field dog was the dog ever the same? Has anyone else ever experience a similiar issue. I am pretty sure this is not malignant hypothermia because I have seen that before and this is definitely not that condition. I am sick about this and before I start spending money, I wanted to know what experiences other people may have had with this issue. I appreciate the help.

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JDM,

Your dogs symptoms sound to me like Exercised Induced Collapse or EIC. I frequent a lot of hunting dog sites and this topic comes up a lot. If you do a search for EIC you should get a lot of results. From my understanding it is a fairly new condition that is getting to be very common in field trial bred dogs. I just read this morning that the results of a University of MN study conducted by Katie Minor determined that in their sample 30%-40% of the 500 labs they took information on are carriers of it. There are no known tests for it I believe, but they are working on it. I have never seen it in person, but your description sounds exactly like an episode of it. My uncle's last lab had hip displaysia and that was nothing like you described. The displaysia was more of a long term stiffness and at her initial stages would be able to hunt a day and then wouldn't be able to walk very well for a couple of days. Later on in her life she walked with a constant stiffness/limp.

Here is a description of EIC from the Labrador Retrievers Club website:

WHO GETS IT?

The syndrome of exercise intolerance and collapse (EIC) is being observed with increasing frequency in young adult Labrador Retrievers. Most, but not all, affected dogs have been from field-trial breedings. Black, yellow and chocolate Labradors of both sexes can be affected. Signs become apparent in young dogs as they encounter heavy training or strenuous activity - usually between 7 months and 2 years of age.(average 14 months). In dogs used for field trials, this usually coincides with the age at which they enter heavy training. Dogs of either sex and any color can be affected. Littermates and other related dogs are commonly affected , but depending on their temperament and lifestyle they may or may not manifest symptoms. Affected dogs are usually described as being extremely fit, muscular, prime athletic specimens of their breed with an excitable temperament and lots of drive.

DESCRIPTION OF COLLAPSE

Affected dogs can tolerate mild to moderate exercise, but 5 to 20 minutes of strenuous exercise induces weakness and then collapse. Severely affected dogs may collapse whenever they are exercised to this extent - other dogs only exhibit collapse sporadically and the factors important in inducing an episode have not yet been well established.

The first thing noted is usually a rocking or forced gait. The rear limbs then become weak and unable to support weight. Many affected dogs will continue to run while dragging their back legs. In some dogs this progresses to forelimb weakness and occasionally to a total inability to move. Some of the dogs appear to be incoordinated and have a loss of balance, particularly as they recover. Most collapsed dogs are totally conscious and alert, still trying to retrieve. Others will appear stunned or disoriented during the episode.

It is common for the symptoms to worsen for 3 to 5 minutes even after exercise has been terminated. NOTE: A few affected dogs have died during exercise or while resting immediately after an episode of exercise-induced collapse so the dog's exercise should ALWAYS be stopped at the first hint of incoordination or wobbliness.

Most dogs recover quickly and are usually normal within 5 to 25 minutes with no residual weakness or stiffness.

Body Temperature

Body temperature is normal at rest in dogs with EIC but is almost always dramatically increased at the time of collapse (temperature >41.5C, >107.6F). We have shown experimentally, however, that clinically normal Labrador Retrievers doing this type of exercise for 10 minutes routinely had similar dramatic elevations in body temperature yet exhibited no signs of weakness or collapse. Dogs with EIC will pant hard during the time of collapse, in an attempt to cool off, but this is similar to normal dogs exercised in the same manner. The time it takes for dogs with EIC to return to their resting temperature after exercise is not different from normal dogs. Although temperature may play some role in EIC, and may contribute to the death of some affected dogs, inability to properly regulate temperature does not appear to be the underlying problem in dogs with EIC.

FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO COLLAPSE IN DOGS WITH EIC

Ambient Temperature. Actual ambient temperature does not seem to be a critical factor contributing to collapse, but if the temperature is much warmer or the humidity is much higher than what the dog is accustomed to, collapse may be more likely. Affected dogs are less likely to collapse while swimming than when being exercised on land. There are dogs, however, who have exhibited collapse while breaking ice retrieving waterfowl in frigid temperatures and there are dogs who have drowned when experiencing EIC-related collapse in the water.

Excitement. Dogs that exhibit the symptoms of EIC are most likely to have intense, excitable personalities, and it is apparent that their level of excitement plays a role in inducing the collapse. There are some severely affected dogs who, if they are very excited, do not require much exercise to induce the collapse. Dogs with EIC are most likely to collapse when engaging in activities that they find very exciting or stressful. This can include retrieving of live birds, participation in field trials, training drills with electric collar pressure and quartering for upland game.

Type of Exercise. Routine exercise like jogging, hiking, swimming , most waterfowl hunting and even agility or flyball training are not very likely to induce an episode in dogs with EIC. Activities with continuous intense exercise , particularly if accompanied by a high level of excitement or anxiety most commonly cause collapse. Activities commonly implicated include upland hunting, repetitive "happy retrieves", retrieving drills, and repetition of difficult marks or blinds where the dog is being corrected or anticipating correction.

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I've been pondering JDMs question. I found it somewhat funny that hip dysplasia is thought to be the prognosis... The only telling sign may be the wobbling legs which can indicate pain... but temps and or swimming shouldn't lessen the severity of the pain once it's onset. You should note it across the board whether warm or cold, during any moderate activity. Dysplasia in a nut shell is arthritis. It is caused by a mal-formed hip joint. Once the arthritic change is advanced enough, the dog will show signs of pain when it is using it's affected joint(s). A simple hip film will show if you are dealing with dysplasia. Are you willing to spend that kind of dough on hip replacements to get a couple more years out of hunting the dog? If I remember you will be looking at $4000 for replacements. A hip osteotomy will be half that, and you will still be able to hunt your dog, just not as hard or as long.... Not being a vet or viewing a film, I am leaning away from it being dysplasia.

So I thought about EIC... and I don't think his dog matches the profile of EIC either. I know JDM has run his dog in 'trial' type training (and trials?) and EIC would most certainly have shown up during these exercises and at an early stage in his life. It normally manifests itself at a much younger age... the oldest I've personally heard of a dog showing signs was 2.5 years old. From everything I've gathered on EIC, your dog goes down... not just wobbly legs. It is not necessarily a temperature orientated disorder. It is a metabolic disorder. While temps may exaserbate it, it would show under any extreme training or hunting situations. Not just during times of higher temps...

The only dog I've seen exibiting your dogs symptoms was a hypoglycemic dog. His blood sugars would crash and it really showed on warm - humid days. Ironically it showed up less on winter days when you'd feel he'd be burning the most calories... but that is when we would see it the least. He went down fully in Iowa on a warm opener once. Many times though, he would just get the 'wobbles' and we'd get him back to the truck, and a couple packs of honey or jelly (from the cafe that morning) and a good dose of water and an hours rest and he'd be good to go. We'd take it easy on him that day, do what it took to get him to eat that night and start agian the next day. I honestly feel it's because he was a poor eater on hunting trips and his body would crash looking for fuel when out running. It only showed on pheasant hunting trips. Never in training or duck hunting.

SOunds like a full physical is needed for the pooch. A film or two of the hip joints and a full blood profile to look for anything out of whack. Let us know what the doc finds...

Good Luck!

Ken

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JDM, as a good friend of a seasoned full time trainer... I would agree with bushwacker. You can come to my house after a hunt and hobble for a week with my yellow lab and then never quite get back to full form year to year. That is more syptomatic of Dysplaysia. You could with consult from your vet, try remadil (sp?) or even go to the local big chain pharmacy and get glucosamine for your dog if you really feel it is Dysplaysia, those do really help put a band aid on the issue.

As for the surgery... I have two fellow hunters I know who have had these procedures done on their dogs. Does it work... yes, do you lose your dog for one year... yes, is the therapy strenuous... yes.

Does your dog have a lot of hunting life left? That is the question you need to ask yourself.

A lot of what I have come to accept in my time of running well bred and professionally trained dogs over the last 6 years and being around those who have been doing it longer comes down to the family... yep, not so much the hunter, but their family. What is that dog worth to the family, opposed to the person who hunts it. I have two labs, one which is our house dog, sleeps with the girls in thier room, spent it's nights in the recliner with the wife and the weekends and afternoons in the field with me. He has a great nose, good marking, and easy to work with. But... he has displaysia, guess what, I couldn't get rid of him and get a dog more suited to my hunting wishes, because the family won! So I got dog #2, six months on the training truck, and now lives in the kennel, full time. Hunting MACHINE!!!!! will likely never be allowed in the house unless it is a monumental blizzard and then he will be in the basement! But he is full bore hunting phsyco!!! If he went down, my wife would say, oh, that's too bad. She has her baby, who is only half the dog, but when he comes home from hunting she makes those goofy baby talk voices to him and he melts... wussy dog! I love him, but I would have to make a very tough decision on wether I would sacrifice him with surgery or just let him be a dog in my living room????

Look at your dog, talk to your family, and make sure you weigh the options on what you expect from your dog, and also what your dog means to your family.

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Quote:

The only dog I've seen exibiting your dogs symptoms was a hypoglycemic dog. His blood sugars would crash and it really showed on warm - humid days. Ironically it showed up less on winter days when you'd feel he'd be burning the most calories... but that is when we would see it the least. He went down fully in Iowa on a warm opener once. Many times though, he would just get the 'wobbles' and we'd get him back to the truck, and a couple packs of honey or jelly (from the cafe that morning) and a good dose of water and an hours rest and he'd be good to go. We'd take it easy on him that day, do what it took to get him to eat that night and start agian the next day. I honestly feel it's because he was a poor eater on hunting trips and his body would crash looking for fuel when out running. It only showed on pheasant hunting trips. Never in training or duck hunting.


I never thought of that, but the symptoms seem to be right on. I definitely think it is something more to do with blood than the actual joints of the dog.

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Got to the vet... I had a husky with the same thing, it wasn't Dysplaysia.. wobbly legs doesn't say Dysplaysia per say, but it could mean pain tho, and the husky had blood sugar problems, since he feels better after a bit of rest and food or treats...Why would you even think it was hip Dysplaysia as your first guess?

I even seen a dog with a hole in his heart act this same way as you described..

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Thank you to all of you for your feedback. Based on all of your responses, I would guess that it may be a combination of EIC and hypoglycmia. There are definitely signs of both. I had suspected before that it may have been a blood sugar problem, so I have taken steps to make sure he eats. It still happened. As I said, it does not happen all the time, but I can definitely tell a difference in his performance on warmer days. This dog was trained in a trial fashion, but was never actually trialed. He is 100% hunting dog. $4000 for new hips will not happen. I would start over. This is my dog, not the family dog and I have started over before. It is a shame that one with talent has to have a condition. It looks like it is time for a physical. I did not agree with the hip displaysia suggestion, which is why I posted it on here. Again, thank you for taking the time to help me out. I will let you know what the vet says.

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You will know for sure what he has when you go to the vet..

good luck with him..

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JDM....as said EIC and hypoglycemia come to mind. To me it sounds like EIC. IMO (and I am NOT a vet!!) hip dysplasia does not sound like the issue here. You most likely would not see the sudden onset, especially at the beginning of a hunt like you described here. But it should still be ruled out by x-rays. I would also think that with HD you would notice the dog being stiffer after hunts more and more as he gets older.

As far as what Labs4me said...he is correct in that EIC will usually present itself before the age of two. However it would still be possible that your dog is not always subjected to the exact situations that cause a collapse...not matter what age. As the dogs get older they don't I believe they quite get as excited and calm down a little bit (or don't push them selves as hard), and I believe this is why more younger dogs show symptoms that older dogs. I have experience with EIC and would be happy to talk to you over the phone about what you saw. I have noticed that warmer weather combined with a HIGHLY EXCITABLE environment can cause this to happen. One example would be a game farm with a lot of scent, or a field that is loaded with pheasant scent while hunting. In my experience I have never seen it in any training days or most hunting situations. Some dogs can be more "affected" than others. One dog may show symptoms after 2-3 long retrieves during training, while a dog that is not as severely affected might show 3-4 collapses over a number of years and it's only certain environments that cause it (dog is highly excitable in these cases). I have seen it in a dog over 2.5 years old and the temp of this dog when it started to wobble (collapse) was about 106.9, however another lab (black) in the same field that does not have EIC was about the same temp (around 107) so there was nothing abnormal about the temps in this case. The temp during this time was high 50's/low 60's and sunny.

Another thing is you may see it more on your dogs initial outing in the field as that is when they are the most active and can push themselves harder if there is something that excites them. In my experience I have noticed that once the dog tires a bit a collapse is not usually as much of an issue. With EIC you will see your dogs rear end start to get wobbly and it will continue to get worse quickly if you don't stop your dog at that point. The dog does not usually just drop all at once. If the dog is not stopped it can progress to to all four limbs being affected and can cause death.

There is not "official" test out for EIC, but I have contact info that might offer you the chance to have your dog tested (with a small donation) as a part of the research study going on at the U of M.

Email me if you have a chance: zach****ej1 at hotmail (Contact Us Please) com

Remove the **** from my email address.

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My 11 month old yellow lab exhibited a similar experience a week ago Monday. She started to drag her legs after about an hour of pheasant hunting. After some rest she was fine that afternoon and the next day, and I also hunted her last Sunday. After reading these posts I called my cousin who is a vet. She leaned toward it being hypoglycemia since my dog had not eaten since the night before. She suggested I carry dog treats and feed them to her in the field along with water. She also suggested that I carry a thermometer and check the temperature if she does it again. In reading temperature does not necessarily lean toward EIC. It was quite scary to witness in an 11 month old dog and I hope I do not see it again.

A friend of mines dog was diagnosed with the Blastomycosis a few weeks ago. It sounds like a terrible disease and expensive to treat. So, I guess I am lucky my dog does not have that.

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Quote:

She leaned toward it being hypoglycemia since my dog had not eaten since the night before. She also suggested that I carry a thermometer and check the temperature if she does it again. In reading temperature does not necessarily lean toward EIC.


I ALWAYS carry a thermometer out in the field and would recommend it. No other way to tell when to stop cooling a dog without one. You can cool an overheated dog too much.

She is correct that temp alone would not automatically validate an EIC dog. Basically ruling everything else out and/or the U of MN test once it comes out is the only way at this point.

From what I have read it usually takes 12-16 hours for dogs to digest food so I don't see how an hour into things the dog could collapse...unless he did not eat a full meal the night before. Many people only feed their dogs the night before hunting and not in the morning....I personally do 2/3 the night before (with an extra helping in there) and 1/3 in the morning a feew hours before hunting.

But...again I am not a vet...so that is just my non-medically trained thoughts! I don't really know much about dogs that are hypoglycemic....but I do think you may be able to test blood sugars similar to a human.

I am really curious how many vets are really aware of EIC and just how many carrier and affected dogs could be out there. Soon we will know!!

Mods..please delete if this is not an acceptable link. It is a good video of what this disease looks like:

Video of lab with EIC

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That video was similar to what I saw in my dog. I hope mine was due to a lactic acid build up in the major muscle of the legs due to hypoglycemia. It may be wishful thinking but we always hope for the best. I will have her out again this weekend and will continue watching.

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That video was similar to what I saw in my dog. I hope mine was due to a lactic acid build up in the major muscle of the legs due to hypoglycemia. It may be wishful thinking but we always hope for the best. I will have her out again this weekend and will continue watching.


I have not read up much on hypoglycemia....is there testing to diagnose it? I will have to do a search when I have some time.

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I do not know of a validated test for hypoglycemia. As you know blood sugars can sway back and forth wildly in the course of a days activites. The giving doses of honey or Karo syrup has an immediate effect on the dog as it spikes their blood sugar back up. It is still the practice used in vet's offices for hypoglycemic dogs.

Good Luck!

Ken

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