It's gotta be done. Making appointments with orthopedists to see what can be done for Mac's hips. He's symptom free (but bored) if I don't bat tennis balls for him. He's stoic, so I don't know if he's in pain. Have you heard accounts of hip replacement? If it comes to that, do dogs return to the kind of activities they most enjoyed? He's seven, so if it's in the cards for the future, seems like it would be better to have it done before he gets any older.
Are there failures with the procedure? What then?
...Making appointments with orthopedists to see what can be done for Mac's hips. He's symptom free (but bored) if I don't bat tennis balls for him. He's stoic, so I don't know if he's in pain. Have you heard accounts of hip replacement?

Sorry, Chris, I forget things. What else have you already tried for Mac's joints?

Mary H. and the Ames National Zoo: Regis, Sam-I-Am, Noah (1992-2001), Ranger, Duke,
felines, and finches
What else have you already tried for Mac's joints? Mary H.Well, he's been on glucosomine for years because Granny ... like voodoo, but the vet said it helps. Since he has no symptoms, I couldn't see a change, of course.

What's killing me is the looks he gives me when I don't throw a ball for him. I tried, and failed, to teach him not to throw himself into it with such exuberance, because he winds up sore.
The problem is .. would it be worth the risk of radical treatment if he were returned to full functioning? Or would that be too great a risk, since he's 'getting by'?
(It's midday, and I haven't called for an appointment yet, because I'm afraid of being stampeded into a decision I'll regret.)
It's gotta be done. Making appointments with orthopedists to see what can be done for Mac's hips. He's symptom free (but bored) if I don't bat tennis balls for him. He's stoic, so I don't know if he's in pain.

Has an orthopod previously told you to cut out playing ball with him? Because when I was going through all this with K.C. I got the opposite advice. It's very important to keep dysplastic dogs well-exercised but I suspect you already knew that.

The main problem with tennis balls is that they can take odd hops, so dogs can wrench joints when going after them. Might a frisbee be an acceptable substitute for Mac? I don't mean the fancy jumping-up-and-catching kind of frisbee playing, nor throwing it into his mouth (both very bad, IMHO). But if a dog'll chase a frisbee going away, it'll plant itself nicely on grass when it lands, which makes it less risky than playing ball.
Have you heard accounts of hip replacement? If it comes to that, do dogs return to the kind of activities ... the cards for the future, seems like it would be better to have it done before he gets any older.

Actually no. Hip replacements only last a certain number of years, and usually have to be periodically redone in people. Since dogs have shorter lives, that's not usually an issue with them but for that reason you'll probably find the orthopods against doing one on a relatively young symptom-free dog.
Are there failures with the procedure?

Yes. About 5%.
What then?

It's bad. They'll try a second one if possible, but if not (or if the second one fails) if the dog can't get by without a hip joint, the only alternative is euthanasia. It's a fairly risky surgery, all told.
The good I've known lots of dogs with cruddy hips that have remained pain-free all their lives. The main secret seems to be keeping up with that exercise if they get even a couple of weeks' break in their regular exercise routine they can start to go downhill fast :-(. Glucosamine's good, of course; you might also want to look into Adequan (it's a once-a-month injection with similar but more effective joint protection effects). Some people swear by herbs: one thing I've heard very good things about (but haven't tried myself) is a product called Hoka-Mix. But what worked best for K.C (and is also working well for Patience, who has some arthritis in her back) is accupuncture.
So don't go imagining the worst just yet! You've still got a lot of alternatives to explore.
Good luck,
Dianne
Well, he's been on glucosomine for years because Granny was, so they all went on it. MSM and yucca. Swims ... like voodoo, but the vet said it helps. Since he has no symptoms, I couldn't see a change, of course.

Sam (14 years young!) is on a glucosamine supplement, and is now getting those technically-not-chiropractic adjustments. His symptoms are more attitudinal than physical that is, he gets snarky and crabs at the other dogs more when he's sore.
Are you doing range-of-motion stuff with him? Sam thinks it's just my way of tormenting a poor widdle pup like him, but done very* slowly and *very carefully it seems to help. It also helps me figure out where he's sore, where he's tense, and gets some of that worked out.
What's killing me is the looks he gives me when I don't throw a ball for him. I tried, and failed, to teach him not to throw himself into it with such exuberance, because he winds up sore.

Can you changes the rules at all? To, say, "find the ball" instead of "chase the ball"? Or have him wait until the ball hits the ground before sending him? Or (if Mac is smarter and less ball-obsessed than Sam) "scooting" the ball with your foot or a golf club instead of throwing it? (I tried a tennis racket to get more distance, but the dogs kept interfering with my swing. Being stoic ball-crazed beasts, they were more concerned with Getting the Ball First than with getting a face full of tennis racket. I couldn't persist, it was too hard on my nerves.)
The problem is .. would it be worth the risk of radical treatment if he were returned to full functioning? Or would that be too great a risk, since he's 'getting by'?

Well, I'm not a vet nor do I play one on TV, but it seems to me that surgery in a case like Mac's would be, at best, ineffective. At worst, it could promote scarring, calcification, and further loss of mobility.

Mary H. and the Ames National Zoo: Regis, Sam-I-Am, Noah (1992-2001), Ranger, Duke,
felines, and finches
The good I've known lots of dogs with cruddy hips that have remained pain-free all their lives. The main ... get even a couple of weeks' break in their regular exercise routine they can start to go downhill fast :-(.

This is very true! Last year, Dakota had a soft tissue injury in his front leg, and the vet prescribed no exercise for a couple of weeks. He went nuts for the first few days, but then seemed to adapt to the routine. Getting back after the injury took longer - his stamina was very reduced, and he stiffened up after even short periods of exercise. However, it improved daily and he was back to normal soon. I could tell, though, after two weeks, his formerly well muscled hind end was starting to lose muscle tone.

Glucosamine's good,
of course; you might also want to look into Adequan (it's a once-a-month injection with similar but more effective joint ... worked best for K.C (and is also working well for Patience, who has some arthritis in her back) is accupuncture.

Also, swimming is a good exercise for dysplastic dogs, and since Chris is in So. Cal, there should be no shortage of nice heated pools in his area. There are also rehab specialists with swim pools.
Personally, I would not risk surgery unless the dog has a) no quality of life due to unmanageable pain, and b) a very good chance of having good quality of life after the procedure. If a and not b, then euthanasia is the kindest choice; b without a is too risky IMHO.
Christy
Mary and Dianne, thanks for your input!
Armed with some info, I'll make an appointment today. I've been afraid of going for the first thing the vet suggests, particularly .. she's a surgeon, and surgeons want to do surgery, right? Dianne, I'll keep experimenting, but I haven't been able to keep Mac from diving after the ball or frisbe. We're trying some scent games ... which have paid off, BTW. Another volunteer lost her keys the other day while walking a dog. "Don't fret," I told her. "Mac will find them." He did.
I'll look for that herb and switch to Adequan .. when I find a primary vet. I left mine because he neglected a friend's dog. I am not a difficult person (really Emotion: smile, but I have trouble with vets. They all eventually do something I find unacceptable.