Reader Bone, Joint and Muscle Problems and Vet Answers

Canine Bone Joint and Muscle QuickLinks

Learn from these bone join problems described by readers and suggestions from our veterinarian. If you can't find the question or answer that will help your dog or puppy, please submit a question of your own here and we'll answer it as soon as we can.

Reader Question #1

Femoral Head Ostectomy For an Older Healthy Dog?

Reader Question:

My Buddy is a healthy 10-yr old lab weighing 68 lbs with dog hip displasia. She has lost muscle mass along her lower spine and in the hind legs. She doesn't know she's elderly, and has the joy of life in her, wanting to do everything she used to do. Now at times, I must help her stand up. Adaquan shots help a great deal for a short time. Do you recommend FHO?

Vet Suggestion FHO for Dog Hip Dysplasia

I really can’t make a recommendation for your specific dog without examining her, but I can talk about FHOs in general. A FHO (femoral head ostectomy) is a wonderful surgery for getting rid of the pain associated with dog hip dysplasia and the osteoarthritis that it causes, but it is only appropriate in certain cases. A dog’s hind end needs to be strong enough to support her during her recovery period. If she is very weak, physical therapy will probably be needed to have a good outcome.

You might also want to make sure that your dog’s hind end weakness is not at least in part due to an unrelated condition called lumbosacral stenosis. Your veterinarian or a veterinary orthopedic surgeon should be able to tell the difference between dog hip dysplasia and lumbosacral stenosis.

You mentioned adequan injections but no other forms of medical management. If surgery is not an option for whatever reason, other treatments (e.g., nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, other pain relievers, nutritional supplements, physical therapy, acupuncture, etc.) could probably make your dog much more comfortable.

Good luck,
Jennifer Coates, DVM

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Reader Question #2

Fluid Build-Up on Dog Knee

Reader Question:

Thursday, the vet did a blood test which was OK, took x-rays and drew fluid out with a needle. He sent the x-rays to a radiologist and still waiting for the results. At that time the sack was smaller but now is larger Sunday October 16,2011. The vet is also checking to see about the fluid that may tell what is wrong. 

My sheltie is approximately 10 pounds overweight and she is age 7. Now she is on a diet recommended buy the Vet. She uses the flip flop pet door to go outside the backyard and excitedly jumps up and down to the couch with barks to look at the neighbours walking on the street.

I'm assuming the sack of fluid by her right knee may have been from jumping or hitting the pet door the wrong way.

As a human back in 1988, I slipped on ice and fell to my knee. Everything with the knee is OK but I still have as they say "water on the knee".

With my dog, how and when will fluid sack go away? 

Suggestion from our Veterinarian regarding Dog Knee Fluid Buildup

Hi Brenda,

The answer to your question depends on what is causing the fluid to build-up in the first place. If it was a one time event, like hitting the pet door, it should be absorbed by the body and completely disappear over the course of a few weeks to months. 

If, however, the body is trying to protect itself against continued trauma, either external, like repeatedly hitting the pet door, or internal, like joint disease, the fluid will probably remain. Another possibility is a cyst that is unrelated to a traumatic incident. Cysts will continue to produce fluid until the tissue that does so is surgically removed.

Hopefully, the results of the x-ray will give you the answers you need. If not, you can consider draining the fluid again and sending a sample to a lab for analysis or simply having the mass removed if it is in a location where that is possible and sending the entire thing to the pathologist for evaluation.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM


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