Since my last post about Finnigan's hips several months ago, I have noticed that his hind legs are becoming stronger. He's doing things he would not normally have done such as running up the stairs, climbing up on things and standing on his hind legs. He has also been limping less often. When he comes out of his crate he's a little stiff and may have a very slight limp for a few steps, otherwise he doesn't limp unless he's had a lot of activity. If we spend a couple hours at the dog park or he's at my Mom's playing with her Cardi non-stop I'll notice a limp which is more predominant after rest. It usually is gone after a day or two.

 Recently, I keep thinking I hear a sound coming from his hips. I notice it at night usually when I am sitting on the couch and he walks by. It's almost like a faint, low, popping sound. I've tried to determine if it is indeed coming from one of his hips but it's hard to tell. Could this be a progression of dysplasia? Is there something we should do?

 It just so happens I was noticing the sound again last night and this morning the specialist I spoke to on the phone before called to see how he was doing since when I talked to her several months ago he had been limping on and off for a month. The tech was going to let the Dr know how Finn is doing and she may call me. I told her I cannot afford to bring him in for an exam if that plus x-rays is going to cost $500. If there is something they can do other than surgery that would benefit him that would be one thing but if they are going to do an exam then tell me his best option is a surgery we can't afford, then what's the point in going?

 I'm concerned about whether or not his hips are getting worse. His legs getting stronger was encouraging but now this popping sound has me worried and I just don't know what I can/should do.

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I was just reading a study that says clicking can be ACL/CCL (the knee). So ask them to palpate the knee before the x-rays so if they immediately think knee they can skip the hip film and just do the knees.
I read somthing about that too. It said that if there was an acl injury that has healed without or with surgery it can result in clicking. Remember when he was limping back in September/October to the point where sometimes he would just lift the leg to avoid using it? I wonder if he could have had an ACL injury at that time. The vet didn't find anything to indicate it when doing the physical exam but if it were minor he may not have. It's a possibility and while it's still not great, it would be better than finding out that his hip problems are progressing this quickly. I'll be sure to ask about knees, hips and back and hopefully by examining him and watching him move she will be able to determine what needs to be x-rayed.
Good luck to you and Finn! I hope all goes well and stays within the pre-planned budget!
Glad the $142 is total and not each. Don't forget to tell them about the yelping. Good luck and I'll be checking in for an update on Saturday.
Good Luck Finn and Alice!
Thank you. I don't know what I'm hoping to find out. I just want to know that I'm not going to end up with a crippled dog at a young age so whatever that means, let's just hope for that.
Sorry I didn't get to post an update sooner. The weekend was busy and I knew this would be long since there’s a lot to cover.

At our appointment on Saturday the doctor went over Finnigan's history with us, viewed his x-rays taken at 8 months, watched him walk and manipulated his legs. She did not end up doing any new x-rays as she felt confident that the only problem is his hips. She didn't find anything indicating a back problem and said his knees are a little loose but no more so than her Pembroke's and she said his front end is perfectly fine. She said she would take pelvic x-rays if we wanted her to but she could pretty much guess what they would look like; the hips probably moved out a little more and we'd probably see some changes in the bone indicating the beginning of arthritis. No matter how a new x-ray might look, it wouldn't change her recommendations for care which are based on how he acts and what his quality of life is. It makes sense so I didn't push for x-rays. Odds are they would look worse and if it doesn't change anything then maybe I'd be better off not seeing them since I would just worry more. She said comparing a new x-ray to his old one would not help us predict how quickly the problem is progressing either which was my main reason for wanting a new one. At any time if we want an x-ray we can come back and just pay for the x-ray without having to pay for another consultation. So the good news is we only had to spend $145 this visit which we spent talking to the doctor for an hour and a half. The office was very nice and the doctor and staff were friendly. They gave him a couple treats and a bowl of ice water. The only part I thought odd was when one tech (after reading about his problems) said blue merle of a beautiful color but is probably not natural, implying that his problems were related to his color. Aside from her, everyone was knowledgeable and I never felt like the doctor was just out to get our money. She even gave me her email in case we come up with more questions.

As far as the popping sound, the vet was able to hear it and while manipulating his hips she said she could feel the popping in his right hip as it slipped up out of the socket so this is the likely cause of the sound. She said this doesn’t necessarily mean he’s getting worse, it’s just different. It didn’t happen before but he was still growing and changing and now as an adult things may have shifted allowing for the popping to start. It doesn’t bother him so I just need to get used to the sound and not cringe when I hear it. He also reacted to her extending his right lack backwards. His x-ray showed the right hip being slightly worse and from her exam she said his right hip is the problem and the left doesn't seem to bother him at all. She was able to move it every which way and it felt more stable overall. She was very happy to see that he is still a very happy, energetic dog. He even did his beg trick for her which she got a kick out of. She said he definitely doesn't move normally (his back side sways a lot) but for now we should keep doing what we're doing which is give the joint supplements, make sure he is exercised but moderate it so if we're at the park and he's showing no signs of slowing down (which is always the case) we decide when it's time for him to rest (I do this now and 45 minutes at the park is his limit), try swimming if we can and get him to drop a couple pounds. She agrees that he is not exactly overweight (though all the extra skin makes it hard to tell) but he would do better if he were a little underweight. She'd like to see him lose 2-3 pounds to start with and recommended replacing some of his food with green beans which is what many people on here said worked for them and we started to do recently so we'll see if it works. Something else we can try (which she said not all doctors believe in) are injections. She names two kinds but I can’t remember what they were.

From what she could see, she said she would guess he will need surgery on that right hip at some point. She said she does not know of hip replacement being done on this breed and we would probably not find anyone willing to do it. Our only option would be the FHO surgery which would run about $2500 for one hip (blood work and x-rays included). She said he would probably only need the right hip done and perhaps the left one later on depending on how he does; many time the doing just one hip allows for the strain to be taken off the other hip. She said she thinks he would do very well with this procedure and he may not move in a completely normal way but he’s not moving in a normal way now so we probably wouldn’t notice a difference. She said this would allow him to walk and be pain free and live out his natural life. With this procedure it doesn’t really matter when you do it. She said until he gets to where he is limping every day and needs Deramaxx every day and his quality of life is not what it should be, she would not recommend surgery, but once he does (if he does) reach that point, we’d want to do it rather quickly before he loses too much muscle tone in that leg as the muscle will speed his recovery.

As far as a neurological problem, she said he does not move like a neuro dog so she does not suspect that is an issue. His not being able to walk when we got him she does believe was lack of strength and muscle which the virus may have contributed to. We talked about how he dribbled all the time as a pup and would pee sitting, laying down, walking, being carried etc. and how he occasionally dribbles a little and it seems like he has no control over it. He also pees in other people’s houses and walks while doing it. She said this doesn’t seem like a potty training or excited peeing issue but does indeed seem like lack of control. She said it may be how he is put together. Something may not be formed properly such as the ureter or urethra and it his being a cryptorchid may be related to that. They can do tests to determine the cause but she said the treatment would be about the same which is medication to control incontinence. She said if we feel it’s a big problem then we could just try the meds and see if they help. I don’t like long term medications so I think I’ll hold off for the time being though it would be nice if we could take him to people’s houses without him peeing the whole time we’re there.

Oh, and the two times he yelped she couldn’t really explain because nothing she did elicited a reaction like that. Since it was twice in the same week it could have been that he was sore from doing something and he moved in a way that caused pain. There’s no definite way to know.

I think I’ve covered everything. Sorry it was so long but I wanted to get in all details that may be beneficial to other people as well.
Well, at least now you have the peace of mind of being sure of the problem and knowing what steps to take and what signs to look for. Here's hoping Finn goes many years before he needs surgery! But at least you know it's likely coming, so maybe you can start putting a little away towards that future.

I agree with trying to keep him on the thin side. As I think you know, Jack is big and bouncy and he's also not the lightest on his feet. So I keep him a bit skinny on purpose (though I think I went a little too low and I'm bringing him back up 2 pounds). Our breeder told us that with Corgis, the single biggest factor for hip problems is weight.

If I could offer one other piece of advice, as an arthritis sufferer: for myself, I need to introduce new activities at a much gentler pace than someone with healthy joints would. So for example if I wanted to start doing push-ups, most people might start with two or three sets of 10; I would start with one set of 5, skip a day to evaluate myself for any delayed soreness, then repeat that same one set of five for a few days before adding another one, or maybe two individual pushups. Then when I hit ten, I would go back and break it to maybe two sets of six and build from there. Joints don't bounce back from post-exercise soreness the way muscles do, so you want to really take baby steps if you are introducing something brand new with him, like swimming or hill work. Muscles recover from soreness and come back stronger; joints sore from a new activity take longer to recover and don't gain anything from the effort. So you want to slowly build the surrounding muscle without stressing the underlying joint. From all you've said, it sounds like that is what you've been doing.

Good luck with Finn! He's got a good "mother" in you!
Oh, and one other thing! I know that if I can't avoid overdoing it (when we were moving, for example) if I take a couple Advil before I get sore, it works much better than if I wait til after I'm sore. Stopping the inflammation cascade from escalating is easier than bringing it back under control. :-)
Yes, the vet did actually mention that. She said if we are planning a trip to the dog park or to my Mom's where I know he's going to be running and playing hard I should give him the Deramaxx beforehand.

I agree that it's better that we know a surgery is likely in his future so it gives us time to be prepared. I am glad we went even if nothing was really done. it gave us a chance to address a lot of concerns and get a second opinion on the hips and find out which surgeries are even an option.
Sounds like a good specialist. You basically got the same instructions as us. Since I posted last Finn has lost weight. Even though he wasn't really overweight to start with, the vet had said that he's do better slightly underweight and she was right. He looks great and can now jump onto the couch or bed and I haven't seen him limp since. It may still come to surgery one day and I do still hear popping in his hips but he's not bothered at all. I wish you and your pup the best. :)
YAY!!! So glad to hear that Finn is doing better!! And.... happy to hear he's lost some weight too!

It's been 1 year and 1 month since Soffie tore her acl and I'm happy to say she's down 10 pounds to a healthy weight of 28lbs. And is back to running, playing ball, chasing her brother!!!

Time flies!!! Keep up the good work Finn!! I know your mom is happy for you... as are we!!

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