I adopted my dog Liam when he was about 2 months old. He was around 19-21lbs then. At his first vet visit with us to receive boosters for the vaccinations he got at the shelter the vet expressed a concern for his hips as he aged. I wasn't sure if she meant she already saw an issue or if it was just because he was expected to become a large dog. His mother was a very stocky Staffordshire Terrier x Labrador Retriever mix. I never saw his father but was told he was a Bullmastiff x Springer Spaniel x German Shepherd mix. They were all from a very unfortunate backyard breeding situation.
Liam is now a bit over 2 and a half years old. He weighs nearly 80lbs and is very muscular and active. He is touchy about his hips. He's a very good-natured, tolerant dog and has not gotten to the point of growling or biting when his hips are touched - yet. I adopted him with the intent of training him to become a therapy dog so he has always been used to being pet, scratched, poked, prodded, etc. His body language has always been positive during this up until the last year or so.
When you pet near his hips or directly on his hips he usually stops whatever he's doing as if he's anticipating what you'll do next and if it'll hurt. Sometimes he will put his ears back and lick his lips - obvious indicators of stress. One time I sat on the floor with him and when I went to get up, I slipped and instinctively put my hand on him to steady myself. I accidentally pressed on his hip and he yelped and turned to butt my hand with his nose.
He's had some days where he struggled to get on the couch or climb into bed. After an active day he had a bad spell for about a week where he just couldn't do it at all and I had to put a stool there so he could get up. He quietly whimpered while getting into bed. In all the time I've had him, I've heard him whimper out of pain only a handful of times.
For the past 6 months Liam has been getting Glucosamine Chondroitin as per the vet. Two tablets daily, 1500mg Glucosamine and 1200mg Chondroitin. The vet wanted to try this out for a while to see if it helped. So far I have noticed a good improvement. He's very active and the tablets have seemed to help him from having soreness afterwards.
Now that he is past 2 years old and fully grown I'd like to have him get a full work up involving his hips. I'm not sure what test(s) those involve. I'm pretty certain it'd be much easier on him and me to know exactly what we're dealing with right now and see if it can be corrected. I also plan on reaching out to the families who adopted Liam's littermates and mother to see if this has been an issue with any of them too or if it's just Liam.
I wanted some insight from anyone with experience in this kind of situation. Hip issues at any age are bad but I think it is especially if it starts young. What kinds of tests are involved here and financially what should I be anticipating?
Thank you in advance!!