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Our dog Charlie, a 5.5 year old Bichon Frise has recently been seen by our vet, and after x-rays, etc. been diagnosed with hip dysplasia in both hips. His limp is particularly pronounced on his right hand side He's always had a bit of a 'John Wayne' style to his walk and I suspect we're now finding out why.

This was about a month ago, and Charlie is currently on previcox and a joint supplement (Yumove) and has just had his first acupuncture session today (we’re currently on a 3 week waiting list to commence hydrotherapy)
Unfortunately the anti-inflammatories have had no effect and if anything he has got worse over the last month. We have already discussed with our vet the possibility of a Femoral head and neck excision arthroplasty.
Charlie is c. 8.2 kg so we have been told that he would be a reasonable candidate for this surgery as opposed to a total hip replacement.

We have pet insurance and our claim has been accepted. and whilst this is a lifetime policy, it has an annual limit per condition of £2,000. This doesn't go far of course and we've spent c. £850 just getting to this point.

When discussing the FHO op, our vet is suggesting a figure of c. £1800 and I have no idea whether this is about right or a tad expensive. I had a quick look online and the only place I could find with prices listed on the website was Towcester Vets. Admittedly there are 1.5 hours down the road, but the est. cost is £600-£800 and they take surgical referrals from other vets seemingly!

So my questions are, and sorry it's taken me so long to get to the point, has anyone got any experience of using another vet to carry out an operation? Does the 'local' vet who undertook the initial investigation generally co-operate with sharing copies of the x-rays, etc.? And are we possibly even jumping the gun a little with regards to considering an op when the condition was only diagnosed a month ago?

All in all, I'm thoroughly confused and a work colleague of mine mentioned this as an excellent site, where others may be able to offer some practical advice.

Thanks for reading this far - I'm sure I've read shortly books.

Regards Pete
 

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Personally, I'd get a second set of eyes to look at any and all records before proceeding with surgery and such. Just to be sure.
 

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Sorry to hear :(
I don't know about your question or your country's veterinary practices, but there is always the option of finding pet insurance willing to cover pre-existing conditions. A great company can pay up to 90% of it and ongoing care. Reviews are all over the place though and a lot shy away from documented pre-existing conditions and genetic disorders. If not, there's also an online organization of vets that offer 25% off the bill of every visit to a participating vet. It's not as much as some 1,800 pounds off of a 2,000 op, but it's still something.
 

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when you can afford it, a very experienced surgeon is always preferable (I would personally rather have a surgeon do this surgery than have myself do it, even though I have done dozens and all worked out well... but surgeons just do these better with the best/fastest recovery possible. Even though an FHO in a smaller dog is not a terribly complicated surgery, sometimes a major nerve can be damaged, or a bone shattered, if one is careless or does not understand the anatomy perfectly or have all the proper tools.... with disastrous results.
 

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Our dog Charlie, a 5.5 year old Bichon Frise has recently been seen by our vet, and after x-rays, etc. been diagnosed with hip dysplasia in both hips. His limp is particularly pronounced on his right hand side He's always had a bit of a 'John Wayne' style to his walk and I suspect we're now finding out why.

This was about a month ago, and Charlie is currently on previcox and a joint supplement (Yumove) and has just had his first acupuncture session today (we’re currently on a 3 week waiting list to commence hydrotherapy)
Unfortunately the anti-inflammatories have had no effect and if anything he has got worse over the last month. We have already discussed with our vet the possibility of a Femoral head and neck excision arthroplasty.
Charlie is c. 8.2 kg so we have been told that he would be a reasonable candidate for this surgery as opposed to a total hip replacement.

We have pet insurance and our claim has been accepted. and whilst this is a lifetime policy, it has an annual limit per condition of £2,000. This doesn't go far of course and we've spent c. £850 just getting to this point.

When discussing the FHO op, our vet is suggesting a figure of c. £1800 and I have no idea whether this is about right or a tad expensive. I had a quick look online and the only place I could find with prices listed on the website was Towcester Vets. Admittedly there are 1.5 hours down the road, but the est. cost is £600-£800 and they take surgical referrals from other vets seemingly!

So my questions are, and sorry it's taken me so long to get to the point, has anyone got any experience of using another vet to carry out an operation? Does the 'local' vet who undertook the initial investigation generally co-operate with sharing copies of the x-rays, etc.? And are we possibly even jumping the gun a little with regards to considering an op when the condition was only diagnosed a month ago?

All in all, I'm thoroughly confused and a work colleague of mine mentioned this as an excellent site, where others may be able to offer some practical advice.

Thanks for reading this far - I'm sure I've read shortly books.

Regards Pete
Sorry to hear about your little dog's problems.

I have had dogs reffered to vets more specialised in certain procedures. They do share information with your own vet, but they might still want to take their own x-rays - say from a different angle, or bloods so they have the most update state of your dog's health.. Prices vary from vet to vet, where are you, I might be able to point you to one.

Who is your insurer? Some will only allow referals to vets on their list. When is your insurance renewal date? If it is close - you could claim the money spent so far now, then wait till you go into the new year so you would have £2000 to spend on the surgery itself.
 

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when you can afford it, a very experienced surgeon is always preferable (I would personally rather have a surgeon do this surgery than have myself do it, even though I have done dozens and all worked out well... but surgeons just do these better with the best/fastest recovery possible. Even though an FHO in a smaller dog is not a terribly complicated surgery, sometimes a major nerve can be damaged, or a bone shattered, if one is careless or does not understand the anatomy perfectly or have all the proper tools.... with disastrous results.
Wow! Are you a vet? Are you in the UK? Your comments are quite scary - carelessness, not understanding the anatomy, not having the right tools = disastrous results.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sorry to hear about your little dog's problems.

Who is your insurer? Some will only allow referals to vets on their list. When is your insurance renewal date? If it is close - you could claim the money spent so far now, then wait till you go into the new year so you would have £2000 to spend on the surgery itself.
Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and taking the time to respond.

Icemaiden, we're in Essex SS11 but would be happy to travel within reason! Unfortunately our insurance renewal date (Animal Friends) isn't for another 9/10 months or so we are kinda resigned to the insurance not covering all our medical bills. If we could however minimise this we would of course like to consider this as an option.

Thanks again all.

Pete
 

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Unfortunaly, I'm in the north, so can't recommend anybody.

I believe Animal Friends may be one of those who have a list of approved referral vets. You can use other referral vets if you choose but you would have to pay £200 extra. Although there are referral vets who will pay that on your behalf. Confused? Best ask AF or your vet for that list and then get your vet to ask those vets for quotes. Some referral vets can arrange for finance - so again something you might look into.

I also think that AF have a time limit of 90 days for claim submissions, so make sure your claim for what you have paid our so far, goes in soon. You can make further claims connected to the same condition.

Good luck finding a competent, reasonably priced vet who will make your doggy better.
 

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Wow! Are you a vet? Are you in the UK? Your comments are quite scary - carelessness, not understanding the anatomy, not having the right tools = disastrous results.
Surgery comes with scary complications, I'm an Aussie registered podiatrist which means I can perform small uncomplicated surgeries. To gain informed consent I need to make sure the patient is aware of all possible complications, including and not limited to infection, poor aesthetic results and cardiac arrest even though I only use local anesthesia. My point is this; carelessness, not understanding anatomy and not having the right tools are valid concerns in any surgery but especially when vets generalize in so many areas.

In any form of surgery, if the person performing it does not make you feel comfortable get a second opinion.
 

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Surgery comes with scary complications, I'm an Aussie registered podiatrist which means I can perform small uncomplicated surgeries. To gain informed consent I need to make sure the patient is aware of all possible complications, including and not limited to infection, poor aesthetic results and cardiac arrest even though I only use local anesthesia. My point is this; carelessness, not understanding anatomy and not having the right tools are valid concerns in any surgery but especially when vets generalize in so many areas.

In any form of surgery, if the person performing it does not make you feel comfortable get a second opinion.
Thanks for your response. I had no idea that surgery can be perfomed by those not qualified as doctors/vets. I believe in the UK all surgery can only be done by doctors/vets.
 

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I'm fully qualified according to UK standards, a bunch of my lecturers specialised in wound care and PNA surgery through the NHS. Pods and Dentists also have surgical rights, I think people just don't come across us as much as doctors and vets.
 

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I'm fully qualified according to UK standards, a bunch of my lecturers specialised in wound care and PNA surgery through the NHS. Pods and Dentists also have surgical rights, I think people just don't come across us as much as doctors and vets.
Thanks for educating me! :)
 

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No worries, my parents are teachers so i think I inherited a pathological need to educate :) . Also, I'm not qualified in the US and not working is driving me bonkers.
 

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you should have a talk with your vet (and best with another vet to get a second opinion). let them look at the x-rays and talk with them about surgery and if they think it is worth the risk.
many dogs are as good as symptom free after th surgery so it is at least worth a thought.

Our dog has HD and we didn't do the surgery, but that was because the HD is already pretty far and the vet said it won't have much of effect for him...probably make it worse. he had HD on both sides and arthrosis is both knees.
he is a lot heavier than your dog though. your dog may have different problems.

We give low-dosed pain meds he gets supplements for the joints and we try to reduce a bit of the stress by walking the dog mostly on soft surfaces (forest floor and) and swimming, while still trying to keep him fit, so that the muscles can stabilise the joints.
make also sure that the dog is not too fat. the more weight the hip has to care the faster the damage could become worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks again everyone. We are definitely going down the referral route - I'll keep you updated re. Charlie's progress :thumbsup:
 

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.....but there is always the option of finding pet insurance willing to cover pre-existing conditions.
That's a new one on me...could you name one of these insurance companies to see if they could help the OP?
Took a bit, but there is bad and good news with what I said. With the exception of the 25% off deal I mentioned (at petassure.com) virtually no one accepts a pre-existing condition. Sorry I jumped the gun and assumed. HOWEVER the ASPCA, for example, covers ongoing care and hereditary conditions up to $5,000 (some 3700 pounds). They also claim to cover a re-emergence of a condition if 180 days have passed.

https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/research-and-compare/pet-insurance-basics/whats-covered/
 

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Yes I am a veterinarian... seen many dozens of FHOs done by specialists and nary a problem... but have seen many many general practitioners do them too, and though about 90% were fine, some did not fare so well. Not a super difficult surgery... but one that does require planning, research and care if you are not a specialist. Mistakes will always be made by about everyone, but far less surgical errors if performed by someone who's primary job is to do surgery.
 

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Definitely agree with a referral to a specialist. I worked in the veterinary medicine field for a year as a vet tech in the US. We had many clients come to us for a second opinion on a joint issue, and it was honestly scary to see how some vets would offer to do certain operations instead of referring out to a surgeon. One in particular was a boxer with a torn CCL. This vet offered to do a largely outdated surgery that has a very high rate of failure in dogs that size. Fortunately, we were able to divert that and get them to a specialist to have a modern TPLO performed by a skilled surgeon.

I'm not sure about the UK, but in the US, our veterinary board of medicine frowns on general practice vets doing such surgeries unless it's a last ditch effort to save the dog or provide better quality of life/ease suffering. IE, the owner cannot afford a specialist or lacks the ability to travel to one. And the owner has to be fully informed that a specialist is their best option.

Anyway, good luck....Hip displaysia is no fun at all, especially when your dog is so young :( I hope you find a solution!
 

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My Dad's dog is a husky mix and was diagnosed with hip dysplasia some time ago. She's a pretty big dog, and the symptoms are most noticeable in the mornings and after long walks (or after taking her out on the dog scooter!) Nevertheless, she's still extremely active and the vet says she can live comfortably with the condition for the time being.

Since her dysplasia is moderate, he's found that using an Ortocanis dog hip brace occasionally seems to help when she's experiencing more discomfort. Especially if it's going to be a more activity-intense day.

I'm always partial to looking at all the different alternative methods prior to choosing surgery.. as it is expensive and can be a drawn out, stressful process that often doesn't fix the problem.
 
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