Duke’s Diagnosis

Saturday, I spent 3.5 hours at the vet. My poor dog was sedated,
x-rayed, poked and prodded. We learned that he has hip dysplasia. He’s
a lab/pit mix with an unknown family history. He came into my life 2.5
years ago at the age of 1, and has been my buddy ever since. We’ve
hiked, camped, road-tripped, trained with a police dog trainer, moved
to Florida, swam in the ocean, ran from a doberman guard dog… just
to name a few of the adventures.

Lately, he’s been lethargic and favoring his back legs. He stopped
climbing into bed with me, and he stopped playing tug-of-war. We went
to the vet a month ago, and they (and I) thought it was muscular. As
we learned this weekend, it’s actually hip dysplasia. It’s worse on
his right side than his left, it’s in a stage that doesn’t yet require
surgery – though he’s a likely candidate for it later. When they
sedated him for his x-rays, they also gave him an injection of the
same pain medicine that he’ll be taking orally for the rest of his
life. After the sedatives wore off, I caught a glimpse of how Duke
used to act.

I’m confident that after we settle in on timing and dosage of
medicine, that I’ll have a happy, normal dog again – at least for a
while. It’ll be a lifetime of balancing medicine, exercise, and
occasional re-evaluations.

Here are the positive things:
1. I’m employed. I make enough money that I can afford his medicine,
and start saving for surgery.
2. One hip is significantly better than the other – which means
if/when he needs surgery, we can probably do ONE hip first, and not
have to do both at once.
3. Though he may never be a running buddy, the vet things he’ll be
hiking and playing like he used to in a few weeks.
4. Duke will be swimming more! Swimming is good exercise for dogs with
hip dysplasia, and my neighbors LOVE to have him over to swim, so
we’ll be hitting their pool a few times a week.

So, Duke and I are going to try our best to stay positive and hope for the best!

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