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Hip Dysplasia

Retriver Field Trial News - September 2004

Cal Cadmus DVM

Ed Note: Cal Cadmus DVM has been involved in Field Trials for more than 20 years and won the '86 National Amateur Championship with NAFC-FC Winsom Cargo. His office is located in Oakdale, California where he specializes in TPLO repair (cruciate injury).



Six months ago we purchased a female lab pups Both of her parents have good OFA ratings We recently took her to our veterinarian for a preliminary x-ray for hip dysplasia. We were shocked and disappointed to find out that our vet thinks that she has early signs of that condition. With normal parents how can this happen? We love her and want to keep her so what can we do for her?



Let me try to answer your question a part at a times The best explanation of the occurrence of hip dysplasia from two normal parents is to understand the difference between genotypic and phenotypic potential.


Genotypic potential is the actual genetic makeup of the individuals Phenotypic is the outward appearance of the individual. I think of it as dealing genetic cards; half up and half down.


The individual's appearance or radiographic appearance is its phenotype, the "up" cards. The genotypic makeup is the entire genetic potential, both the up and down cards. From this we can see how individuals can hold both "up" cards for normal hips and "down" cards for dysplastic hips. If the genes comes from the down cards, a dysplastic puppy could occurs As we become better at mapping the canine genome (DNA) we should be able to see both sides of the cards and truly eliminate the problems.

Now, to what treatments are available for your pup. We can divide them into medical and surgical treatments. Medical treatment involves the use of one of the many non-sterodial anti-inflammatory agents, or the use of what are called nutraceuticals or nutrients for the joint. Glucosamine and M.S.M. are good examples of these.Surgical solutions are far more popular because of the relatively permanent, or long lasting, results. Over the years, many operations have been offered, but in reality, only 4 surgeries have prevailed. The classic,especially for older dogs with CHD, is total hip replacement. Similar to the human counterpart, it involves replacing the socket with a plastic cup and the ball with one of stainless steel. Patients do quite well with this procedure, but it is quite expensive and has limitations for the athlete.


A modification of this is what is called femoral head ostectomy. This procedure simply removes the arthritic femoral head from the painful socket. It transforms a painful bony joint into a non-painful muscle joint. The major drawback is the dynamic change in anatomy.


Thirdly, is what has been described by Dr. Barcley Slocum as the triple pelvic ostectomy. This surgery involves a radical reconstruction of the socket and hip joint. It is quite successful, expensive, and anatomically altering.


Lastly, is another Slocum innovative surgery termed Darthroplasty. It accomplishes the same goal as the triple pelvic ostectomy with far less surgery, expense, and anatomical changes If I were in your position this is what I would choose for your pup.



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