I have no advice but I feel sorry for you and your puppy. Hope all works out well for him.
It's been a bumpy ride for this guy. I got him a while back at 8 weeks:
He was started on Orijen Puppy Blend and noticed around 4 months old he was going through a massive growth spurt. Knowing the complications that can come from these large breeds, I changed his food to a lower protein, all life stages blend.
One day, he was perfectly fine, left for 3 hours, came home and he was in terrible pain and it appeared to be an issue with one of his hind legs. Next day he wasn't any better, so off to the E-vet. X-rays looked clean, so they were suggesting a possible soft tissue injury. Started him on NSAIDs and although it seemed to help after a couple weeks he still wasn't putting a lot of pressure on the bad leg. Back to the vet...
This time we did blood work and it showed an infection localized in that one leg. So, started him on aggressive antibiotics for a tick-borne illness (Doxycycline). He progressed nicely, but at the end of his treatment, he still was holding his leg up. At this point we are starting to see muscle atrophy occurring. This is when I was referred to an orthopedic specialist.
Checked for drawer sign (typical check for CCL ruptures) and it seemed like the issue was a partial CCL rupture. But the symptoms were not that of a regular CCL injury. Did x-rays again:
We are now seeing the bones thinning on that leg from not using them. As with all CCL injuries, surgery is the suggested approach. So, I proceeded with a TTA (Tibial Tuberosity Advancement) surgery.
Surgeon opens him up and we start finding the root cause of his issue; OCD (Osteochondrosis). It's a bone disorder where parts of the cartilage and bone break off between the two bone and it's obviously painful. Since this was the issue to start with and some time has past, it cause the CCL fibers to partially rupture, so the TTA was still done along with cleaning up the OCD issue.
Post Op X-ray:
He stayed in the hospital overnight and came home the next day:
So, at this point we are dealing with two completely separate issues and it's just a terrible coincidence. The infection and the OCD. Now, due to the time that had passed before the surgery, there was some collateral damage; muscle atrophy and hamstring contracture (where the tendons shorten and cause the leg to not fully extend).
Since he is still a growing puppy and with the thin bones, the contracture has also caused the bone to bow which has caused one side of the hip to be dysplastic. Physical rehab was almost necessary to get him back to 100% and subdue any further collateral damage. He is on session 4 out of 12 and his contracture is gone, we are slowly taking him off the meds and he is walking on the leg pretty much all the time. Next goal is to try and straighten that bone back out. We are doing laser therapy, hydro/eletro therapy and the underwater tread mill over the course of rehab.
He is doing great and within the next 6 months should be back to 100%. The cause of the OCD? We are pointing at the Orijen Puppy blend which has extremely high contents of protein and calcium for a dog like this. Since these large breed dogs are usually kept to short walks and low activity the first 1-2 years of their life it's suggested that all that protein assisted with his growth spurt.
I'll be sure to add some more pictures of the therapy sessions and his progression over the next few months. Just wanted to post this up for informative and simply relevant content.
Thanks for the comments. Therapy has been helping a bunch. He is pretty much off all the meds and is trying to be his normal self again. So, it's becoming a little more difficult to keep him calm. We still have 4 weeks left of restricted movement and exercise.
I did get a couple things built for his at-home exercises. We'll be starting weaving and stepping over obstacles to assist in re-balancing his weight distribution.
Thanks again, everyone! I plan to grab some pictures during therapy on Friday. Him in Doggles makes me laugh every time. And he loves the underwater treadmill.
Also starting to plan on building a hydro therapy tub in the basement for ongoing maintenance. Might detail it in here just in case someone else is in the same boat.
Couple more pictures prior to surgery:
The physical therapist has now moved him into half-hour slots which will allow me to extend the length of rehab and maybe even get into a little fitness work depending on how much I have left of the pre-paid sessions.
He is now putting ~70% pressure on the leg during walks, but since the bad leg is a little shorter (due to the bowing of the bone) he is still a little uneven on the back, but that should get better as time goes one.
Here's a video I found when he was 9-10 weeks.
i definitely have heard to keep pups, especially large breeds, off really high protein foods for at least the first 12 months...
we fed our vizsla pup food that was around 25% protein, until somewhere around 15 months. we then moved to EVO 43%, then Orijen 38% , and now Acana 33%.
my problem with the high protein food being the only reason for issue is, would this same situation have happened on a RAW diet? or even with a wild dog who would have been eating maybe even more protein?
i am not so sure that the food was the only cause.
another thought. orijen puppy blend, is made for puppies. if the protein level was going to cause the types of issues you have seen in any sort of large numbers, the company would be sued out of business by dog owners.
I need to follow this... "Not everything you eat has to, or should, taste really f*cking awesome. Sometimes you need to eat 'boring' food to stay healthy.
Don't get my wrong, I'm not blaming the food solely or singling out Orijen. I just think it played a big part in his growth spurt in regards to nutritional content. As far as my research goes, Puppy Blends are more marketing than anything and aren't necessarily the best for every puppy. The protein and calcium contents do seem to be higher in the puppy blends though.
I believe that these aspects played the role in bringing on OCD (which, itself, is fairly common in giant, fast growing breeds): Breed + Food + Low Activity.
Diving a little deeper, a lot of these high-quality foods base the contents around wild canines and what they would eat. But, domesticated dogs typically do not preform in the same aspect -- physically -- that their wild counterparts might. I presume wild canines would burn more 'fuel' than your in-house pet.
So, I agree, there are multiple things that probably played a role in bringing on the OCD. I just think the food he was being fed played a bigger role.
EDIT: I will say, I do believe if he was on a different diet with regards to growth/breed/predisposition, he may not of encountered this issue. And I'm not really familiar with raw diet models, but I'd imagine you can control the nutrition intake even better than bagged dry food; purely educational guess, though.
Last edited by STOICH; 01-04-2012 at 07:14 PM.
Poor guy!. He's HANDSOME.
Props to you for taking all the proper steps to get him back to 100%.
We spent a lot of time researching foods before we got our Dane, and we found that Eagle Pack Large & Giant Breed Puppy had a very low percentage (23%) compared to just about all others, so we stuck with that, and then moved along to the Large & Giant Breed Adult. I'm wondering now if we should switch again to something with a higher protein content.
Good luck with the rest of your rehab!
Thanks! This is my first large/giant breed dog (previous have been under 50lbs), so I feel I probably should of research nutrition a little more than just giving him the best of the best off-the-shelf food.
He's back to eagerly awaiting my alarm to go off of a morning so he can pounce on the bed and figure out why I'm not up. It's good to see his character coming back.
First snow encounter for the pup. Kind of passive about it, but probably wondered where all the grass went
Still making progress on the leg. Slowly getting there. He goes in for check up x-rays in about a week to make sure everything still looks good and he can finally be unrestricted (to a point). I did cheat a little today and let him hop around in the snow a bit.
Last few sessions have been laser and hydro/electro therapy. Today we did a progress check with the water treadmill. We've determined that we can probably complete his rehab with about 5 more hours of PT. At once a week, that will set the completion date to end of March.
Last edited by STOICH; 01-18-2012 at 09:54 PM.
He took amazingly well to it the first time. I was quite surprised. That was the biggest worry I had before I started PT; wondering if he would take well to the therapies to not hinder progress. Other than wiggling around during laser therapy (the Doggles tend to bother him, so he tries to take them off) and a couple attempts to jump out of the hydro tub he's be fantastic to work with.
Once therapy is over, I will probably still take him weekly for a swim there (they have a half-size pool) until his muscle mass is back up to par.
I'll be sure to keep the updates coming
Check up x-rays were done a couple days ago (8 week check up). A two thumbs up from the doc. Bone walls are thicker and the knee has completely healed. Doc released him from restricted exercise.
Now, my PT tends to be a bit more conservative, so he still recommends keeping him from full out runs and watching him on the stairs for another 3 weeks. Originally, I was going to be picking up 5 more hours of PT, but we concluded after the x-rays that he doesn't need rehab anymore. Now we are focused on fitness (getting that muscle mass back) and leveling out his gait.
I am still planning to take him in for a swim every week for the next month or so, but that was purely optional. It will just help accelerate regaining muscle.
This weekend his gets to go visit his buddies (Chihuahua and another C.C.) and finally play after 8 weeks of being stuck at home. And family is visiting for the weekend, so it should be exciting for him.
I bet he'll be stoked to play!
Our old trainer is getting another C.C. puppy soon, they were born earlier in the week.
I'm trying to talk my wife into getting one (or two).
Orijen is a great food, truly worth the price. My suggestion there would be Acana, made by the same company, same quality but lower protien content. Most dogs do not take well to high protien unless they are burning it i.e. very active/working dogs. High counts of unused protein also lead to problems with kidney damage.
Did this dog come from a breeder? If so have you contacted them? Any health guarantee? Most responsible breeders will offer some type of helth certification or guarantee with dogs of breeds known to have health problems as a testiment to their breeding program. Seems to me as this could easily be related to genetic issue and at that point I'd go after the breeder. It's very common for breeders, of these currently popular or trendy breeds, to produce as many pups as possible with no consideration for proper blood line etc.
Glad to hear he is doing better and huge props to you for sticking it out and helping him be the best he can be!
Edit: I'd highly reccomend a product called Pet Kelp as an additive to his food, I've had nothing but fantastic results with any dog consuming it.