Saturday, January 12

Hips and Knees...Knees and Hips

Friday was spent at the veterinary clinic having Gracie examined, x-rayed and given a shot!!

The good news is....Gracie's hips are GREAT!!!  
 The bad news is her knees are terrible... :(

The past couple of months we have noticed that Gracie has had more difficulty getting up and tends to not want to stand for any length of time. We would find her plopping herself down or doing what I call a lazy dog sit. There are times we find her also tip toeing on her hind feet. After viewing her x-rays we now understand the problem(s). 

 The left knee(teal arrow) is actually the worst. The xray shows degenererative joint disease (DJD) which basically means the cartilage around the knee is breaking down. With this she is experiencing stiffness and pain in that left knee. Her range of motion is restricted and we are finding that it's painful for her to do full extension or flexing of that knee. She would make a good soldier dog.  Dr. J  is finding a "thickening" around the joint which indicates swelling or possible collapse of the joint. Not much can be done with the left knee other than pain meds and physical therapy (such as water walking) But we do need to keep her active and moving!!!

The right knee (pink arrow) appears to have a ACL tear (not uncommon in larger active dogs) and some DJD but not as severe as the right. Surgery is an option to repair the right knee and it would give Gracie at least one good leg to stand on. The surgery would require Gracie to be confined for the first 4 weeks in her crate--only to be let out to potty and for therapy. The  next 4 weeks would be very light and supervised activity until she is fully healed. My concern here is that the right knee would then be totally  inactive thus causing more stiffness and possible atrophy of that joint.

At the present time we are going to treat Gracie with Adequan shots (2 shots per week for 4 weeks) we will then reevaluate with Dr. J  and decide if surgery is the best option.

I do need to clarify...Gracie was x-rayed  2.5 years ago for a possible injury to her back/hip/knees when Schatzie t-boned her. At that time nothing showed on the x ray indicating that she had injuried
her hips,back or knees. She was placed on light exercise and seemed to heal from the injury. Hindsight would led us to believe that it is this injury that is causing the issues now.

So for the next month we will administer the Adequan shots, moderate exercise and massage the knees before getting up for exercise. The most important thing for us is that Gracie is comfortable, pain free as possible and can live a quality life with the issues at hand.

I would love to hear from anyone that has or is dealing with the DJD and the ACL issues. Please leave a comment or you can email me at vjbloy(at)gmail(dot) com.



  1. my littlest one, louise, tore her acl a year or so ago. tried pain meds and limited use to see if it would heal up. i opted not to pursue surgery as she is a country dog, through and through. confinement for weeks would have killed her. i couldn't do it. she has stiffness in that leg, but she walks w/ a limp, runs stiff-legged, and even jumps up on the couch with it. my only regret is letting her gain a few too many pounds as i did not cut back on her intake to go along with her slightly less active lifestyle. and now i need to get that under control to help her manage her aches.

  2. so sorry to hear this. and she is young for this , so it just might be from the injury. poor gracie.. Jake walks on 3 legs most of the time, it is his knee, he is on joint meds from the vet, as long as he is active he is ok, when he lays down he can't use that leg, until he move around a little. but Jake is almost 8

  3. I'm so sorry to hear this about Gracie girl. We haven't had any problems except with Rambo's skin allergies. Roxy will be eight in March and Rambo is a 100lb dog so we feel very fortunate! Keep us posted. :)

  4. Jen over at My Brown Newfies is dealing with ACL issues right now with one of her dogs. She's written a couple of great posts about their options. I hope that you can find a solution for her that allows her a lot less pain.

  5. I am so sorry to hear this about sweet Gracie. I don't know much about any of those things. But I will hold her in my prayers for the best possible out come.

  6. Oh, poor Gracie and you too. We're lucky with the pack, no joint problems. Please keep us up to date as to how things are going and know that Gracie and you are in in our thoughts.

  7. Aw! Sorry to hear about Gracie's knees! It sounds like your vet has sketched out a good course of action. I don't really know much about knee problems in pups; Dave had a tear in one of his (very tiny) and adding an Omega-3 fish oil supplement (Eicosaderm) to his food helped. Did your vet recommend any supplements to help, too?
    We will put her in our prayers!!!

  8. I'm so sorry to read about Gracie's knees. I don't have anything to add, because none of our dogs have knee problems. But I used to care for the dogs from the rescue that had orthopedic surgeries, and the recovery from knee surgery was a little tricky, but always had great results.

  9. Poor Gracie!I'm sure your vet told you to keep her weight on the low end of normal? The leaner, the better. You could check out Dog Forum ( for info and to ask questions about Gracie. We have several knowledgable people and vets there.

    1. Thanks for the info Nola, we will check out the site you recommended. Fortunately Gracie's weight is right on the money--she could maybe drop a pound or two but she's really at a healthy weight and the vet is pleased. I try very hard to keep their weight in check. Thank goodness :)

  10. Urg! I'm super sorry to hear about poor Gracie's knees (owee!), but I'm super glad to hear that she has awesome and fit hips!! :-) I haven't had any experience with the whole DJD or ACL tears, just luxating patellas (so if ever one of them gets this too (good dog, I hope not!!), I can assist)! But I really hope that the shots help her out and perhaps push the surgery back a bit! :-D

  11. Poor sweet Gracie, I hope your medical protocol works for her Val and she gets a respite from her discomfort.

  12. Hi there, I tried to comment yesterday from my IPad but lost the comment and never got back to repost it. I'm sorry this is happening with Gracie. I haven't dealt with this issues with a dog but I imagine there are some great supplements out there that can help. Hope you are staying warm today.

  13. Oh that is too bad. I have known lots of dogs with knee repairs that recover fully, but they do not have the DJD issue. Hope the meds help. :)

  14. Our Lady and our Grammie have had knee problems but we haven't. We hope you find a solution soon.

  15. Aloha Val! Sorry to hear about Gracie, Those are some tough decisions to make no matter which way you go. Hopefully you can get a good compromise so that she can keep moving the one knee while the other heels.

  16. Our Annie had ACL surgery around 5 years ago & she has done terrific. She was unable to put weight on that leg at all before surgery. She is 15 now & still getting around just fine. We hope that Gracie is back up to par in no time.

  17. So sorry that it's taken me so long to get over here! I'm so sorry to read about Gracie and her DJD and ACL. I can certainly feel your pain here. You'll have to let me know how the Adequan injections go. Thanks for the x-rays! Loved studying them and they were nice and clear!

    Wish I could give you some insight here, we still haven't taken x-rays of Sherman's knees yet because of all the other issues that are going on with his heart and lungs right now and we can't sedate him to get the pictures of his knees. It probably will be a few months before we attempt to do that. However, I can tell you that we are looking into to doing cold laser therapy on him in the meantime. It has come highly recommended by many people, Newf owners and owners dealing with ACL issues. I am also looking into maybe doing some hydrotherapy with him to. Most likely we will eventually repair his right knee which is the one that has the full ACL tear, but it won't be for awhile, since their are so many other crazy things going on with him!

    Please keep me up to date with Gracie!

  18. I am so sorry to read about this. I can't remember how old Gracie is...

    I've never dealt with knee issues but I have dealt with DJD in other joints. R had elbow dysplasia surgery 4 years ago, and he's been on a regime of lots of Omega-3 fatty acids (high dose) and Adequan ever since. So far (knock on wood), it has worked. Apparently, he already has DJD, and it usually gets pretty bad in a dog who has had this surgery young like he did. He's incredibly active and still okay - which speaks to this regime probably working.

    K had DJD in her spine. She did a similar regime as R and she remained almost symptom-free until the end of her all-too-short life.

    I hope that you can "manage" the symptoms for Gracie, keeping her active and happy. We always keep a bottle of Rimadyl around for when R has an occasional bad day - and you might consider a similar strategy.

    Hugs to all of you.

  19. OMD Val! I am so sorry to hear this about Gracie. I know you will help Gracie to be as comfortable as possible through this. As you know Freddie has two bad hips and two bad knees, one worse than the other. The specialist told us fish oil was the best to help the joints and we have him on Wild Atlantic Salmon oil that we add to his food everyday and it seems to have helped him a lot. We are keeping Gracie in our thoughts and prayers.

  20. I'm so sorry to hear about Gracie...we dealt with the ACL issues all the time with our Newfy/Lab mix. He was on daily Rimadyl and shots and fish oils for the last couple of years of his life...but he was a happy boy. He just was not able to move around very much. Chloe has issues her knees and LadyBug with her I give them both oils in their food and they both get Metacam on occasion...when I notice they are having a particularly bad day. Chloe will be turning 9 and LadyBug is 8...fairly young for small dogs...but considered seniors as well. Sure hope that Gracie will be comfortable. We decided not to get the surgery on our girls and we are going to manage as best we can. Hugs to you all. Jeanne, Chloe and LadyBug


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