Roxie the Saint Bernard Labrador mix has been gracing us with her presence for almost 2 years now. She’s become one heck of a great dog, especially around the munchkin. Some of you may recall that Roxie has grade 4 hip dysplasia and thus she basically has no hips. Well, I’m happy to say that she’s a happy active dog that runs, climbs stairs and does almost everything she wants. We haven’t been doing anything special for her with respect to the hip dysplasia as she’s been quite good all summer. We’ll see how the colder weather treats her as she may have a flare up of arthritis like symptoms. Then we’ll probably get her back on the glucosamine, chondroitin, methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM) and vitamin C. This combination seems to have helped her get this far.
Anyhoo, she’s about 110 pounds now. Yeah, 110 pounds! She’s quite lean and tall which is good and bad. She’s lean and reasonable muscular which helps a lot with her hip dysplasia (less weight for her to carry is good and more muscle is better). She’s tall enough now that we have to be careful what we leave on the kitchen counter tops as she has been caught a few times trying to snag a bite of something.
She is a very social dog and it’s unfortunate that many people are intimidated by her size as all she wants to do is greet them. Often when we go out for a walk (and she’s great going for reasonable length walks now) people will cross the street or otherwise avoid her. Not something that she really understands as a lot of people would pay great attention to her when she was a little 20lbs puppy.
There are advantages to her size though. We’ve had a few repair people in over the last couple months and it’s always nice to hear from The Boss about the reactions some of these burly repair men have to Roxie. She’ll come bounding along and apparently the repair people can become quite fearful until The Boss tells them that Roxie is friendly. Heck, if I saw a 110lbs dog heading towards me with it’s mouth open I might have to think for a few seconds. ;)
We’ll see how she is over the coming years with the munchkin but I doubt we’ll have anything to worry about. She’s already demonstrated a couple times that she is protective of the munchkin. Nothing too serious and probably nothing that was noticed by anyone other than myself and The Boss. Saints are known for being good with children and Labs are big goof balls so hopefully Roxie will remain a goof ball that’s good with kids. ;)
Here’s a little Roxie Update.
We’ve had Roxie (our Saint Bernard – Labrador mix) on a bit of a diet since she was spayed because the vet told us she had a pretty decent layer of fat on her already. That was a couple months ago. We weighed her last night (differential weighing is getting difficult!) and she came in at a whoping 92lbs. 9 months and 92lbs. Not bad! She’s about half my weight now.
She looks really good right now – leaner and taller than before she was spayed. She hasn’t actually lost any weight but we think she’s lost fat. Her belly isn’t rounded as much and we can sort of feel ribs again. That’s a good thing because with her grade 4 hip dysplasia, we don’t want her to have too much extra weight to carry. She’s been quite active recently too. Maybe part of it is due to losing some extra fat and gaining some new muscle. What ever it was, she’s bouncing around in the snow and even running for short distances when we are outside.
We’re now giving our Roxie glucosamine supplements to try and help her joints. We basically have an off the shelf “human” variety that contains glucosamine hydrocloride and chondroitin sulfate. The only other thing we should probably be giving her is methyl sulfonyl methane (MSM) but we haven’t found out how much yet. All of this should help with her joint pains
On the weekend we discovered that Eukanuba Large Breed Puppy food contains both glucosamine hydrocloride and chondroitin sulfate. I just took a quick look on their website and it says that the concentrations are glucosamine not less than 375 mg/kg and chondroiton sulfate not less than 35 mg/kg. It’s a little on the low side from what our vet told us but it’s better than nothing. Too bad we went with the Iams Large Breed Puppy food for the last 4 months. Oh well. We’re trying to decide if we should bother switching Roxie to the Eukanuba or not. Since we’re also considering cartrophen vet as a possible long term option for Roxie’s hips, we might not bother with the Eukanuba because we can’t use both cartrophen vet and glucosamine at the same time.
Well, we’re learning a lot with Roxie and if (when) we have another large breed dog, we’ll be taking a lot of this into account when we make decisions.
If you’re thinking of getting a large breed puppy, make sure you factor in the cost of pet insurance for at least the first 18 months of their life. We opted out of the pet insurance as it seemed so expensive at the time and now we’re kicking ourselves. We have a St Bernard Labrador mix and both breeds are known to have hip dysplasia. We gambled and lost as our Roxie at 6 months has grade 4 hip dysplasia – as bad as it can get.
Once your dog gets to be full grown, if it’s in good health and has no signs of major things like hip dysplasia, you can probably stop the insurance. We know better now. If and when we have another large breed dog, we’ll be getting insurance for at least the first 18 months. Too bad for Roxie no one really told us to get insurance and why. If we had insurance then it wouldn’t be such a big deal to consider $12,000 in major surgery to help fix Roxie’s hips. It also wouldn’t be such a big deal to have her on medications costing about $3/day.
Oh well, you live, you learn. We still have a healthy, happy dog, she just has no hips.
Heck, it’s only money.
Well, Roxie has grade 4 hip dysplasia. Basically it means she has no hips. The hip is supposed to be a ball and socket setup. Picture a socket shaped like a teacup. That is what a good socket should look like. Roxie’s is more like a dinner plate. It doesn’t do such a good job of keeping her leg bone in place.
Anyways, we’re going to see what we can do for her. Our vet is calling a bunch of places for us to find out what can be done and, of course, how expensive it’s going to be. Hip replacement is an option but it’s quite expensive and there are no guarantees.
She’s on pain meds for the time being. That is making it sort of interesting because she’s pain free and running around like a little puppy. We’re hoping that a couple weeks or months of pain meds will allow her to build more muscle in her rear. That should help stabilize her joints a bit more. Either way she needs more strength in her legs if we do get to the point of surgery.