This started out to be a story about numerology. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m fascinated by numbers.
I was examining Jabba because a family was considering purchasing him from his current owner. Jabba had been diagnosed with “some kind of hip problem that needs surgery” and his present master doesn’t have the funds to get Jabba the help he needs.
As I went through the steps of his physical examination I found everything to be in order except that he noticeably bore a greater share of his weight on the right rear leg than the left. After some intravenous sedation we were able to obtain radiographs of his hips and knees and, indeed, confirmed the presence of hip lesions consistent with hip dysplasia.
“What causes this?” his potential new owner asked. “This is supposed to be a really high-quality dog. The original owner paid $800.00 for him.”
In a perfect world breeding would be limited to the very best specimens and imperfect ones would be spayed or neutered.
Ideally, then, every pet would be screened for hip dysplasia prior to being bred, regardless of size. However, it is imperative that every male and female large-breed dog be screened to OFA (Orthopedic Foundation For Animals) or PennHip standards prior to breeding. It is a one-time procedure performed after 24 months of age.
The income from a single $800.00 puppy would have paid for three adult dogs to be screened.
Hip dysplasia is a preventible disease
caused when the genes of one or both affected animals are transmitted to the offspring. Had it been known that Jabba’s mother and/or father were affected by hip dysplasia, the pain Jabba is in today could have been prevented.
And, it’s not just Jabba. Or even all of his littermates. Experience tells us that every offspring these two dogs ever produce will also suffer from hip dysplasia.
Be back on Monday for more on hip dysplasia.
Oh, the numerology part. Jabba’s heart rate was 156 and his breathing rate was 56. Typically a resting pet’s breathing rate is between one-fourth and one-half of his heart rate. Still, it’s amazing to me how often the numbers turn out with the two final numbers being the same.
Brenda says I have too much time on my hands.
See you Monday, Dr. Randolph.