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June 14, 2010


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janet huntington

How did your "super dogs" work out?


Hello, Janet,

They both worked out great. They were beautiful, healthy dogs, with good temperaments, though the Rottweiler took a lot of work as a puppy.

I got the Rottweiler when nobody knew what they were, so nobody was afraid of her. "That sure is a fat Doberman." She was a very aggressive puppy, very intelligent, but also very pushy. We used Peter Vollmer's "Super Puppy" methods, and then formal obedience training, and she just did great. When we had kids a few years later, they could take food out of her mouth and she just gave a dopey grin.

The Golden Retriever had a great personality, never pushy, though a terrible hole-digger for a few months. He also would not tolerate a garden-hose. Buster would reduce a 50-foot hose to 2-inch pieces.

While we did not have conformational problems, both dogs were short-lived. Anna the Rottweiler died around 8 years old with multiple organ failure. Buster the Golden Retriever died at 8&1/2 with disseminated hemangiosarcoma.

So, they were great while they lasted, but they didn't last so long. Cady the mutt is past eleven and doing just fine, except for a few teeth lost to periodontal disease.

Thanks for reading and writing.


FYI-you can find that book on ABEbooks.com and probably on Half.com or other sites that deal in out-of-print books.

I bought Spot from a breeder, but next time I'm going to get a mutt from the SPCA.


Generally I don't read post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to try and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite nice article.

jody lynn

After sudden onset of hopping and inability to walk, boyfriend brought my dog in to be checked out. He has always been very active, running, etc. Radiographs were done which showed severe hip dyslplasia. He is about 6-7 year old Corgie-Chow or something mix. Vet said he is in severe pain (tough dog who doesn't show pain) and will need to be on Rimadyl for the rest of his life without FHO Femoral Head Osteoectomy. I am willing to do surgery. I am in another state, and have only had brief phone conversation with vet. I will be in further contact with the vet on his condition and to ask questions; but just wanted your 2 cents on what the complications of the FHO (Femoral Head Osteoectomy) surgery are and the success rate. Both hips are bad and vet said sometimes when they do surgery on one, it "fixes" the problem and the second hip surgery is not needed. Do you know the stats on that: what percentage of dogs with two bad hips do well with one surgery? Depending on when we have the surgery done, how safe is Rimadyl long term?

Thanks for your valuable online prescene!


Hello, Jody Lynn,

The best way I know to assess the dog's pain is to put him on Rimadyl, plus or minus something like Tramadol, for five days and see how much his activity and attitude improves.

FHO is removal of the femoral head (the "ball" of the ball-and-socket hip joint).

With dogs who have severe degenerative joint disease, the bony joint surfaces become very irregular and grind against one another. This is quite painful.

The FHO removes this bone-on-bone contact, relieving that source of pain. The dog then carries his weight via the muscular attachments to the rest of the thigh-bone. Now instead of a bony joint, his weight is supported by a sort of "muscle-sling".

These dogs obviously will not be athletes, nor walk and run in a totally normal fashion. However, they are usually free of pain and have a much improved quality of life.

I am not an orthopedic specialist and cannot speak to the percentage of dogs that improve when they have two bad hips and surgery on only one.

Most dogs can take Rimadyl long term without difficulty. Checking liver enzymes and kidney function every six months is a good way to check to see if there are any hidden problems from taking the medication.

More obvious sings of difficulty with the medicine would be gastro-intestinal signs, such as loose stools, vomiting or blood in the stool. Most dogs do not have these problems.


Had the FHO surgery. We are 21 days Post Surgery. His hip is recovering well and he is walking on all four legs. But, whether from the trauma of the surgery or from limping around on 3 legs for short while, he is having sciatic pain. I did read that sciatica is a rare complication of the surgery. Had check-up today and vet thinks he is ahead of many dogs as far as the walking and healing of the surgery side. He goes from walking on all four legs to hopping when the pain comes on and jerking his head to his back/tail. He has okay nights and bad nights. The painful restless nights of licking non surgery side and /or licking sheets incessantly are driving my boyfriend crazy. Went back last week and vet gave him a cortisone injection (the dog). Now vet wants us to call in for appt as needed. The next step will be predisone. I think he wants to wait for a wash-out period of medications (he's on rimadyl and tramadol), valium when things are really bad. I am in NM, boyfriend is diligently rehabbing the dog in AZ. We don't get much time with the surgeon and the regular vet has not met with us since insisting he needed surgery; ultimately my decision. I am feeling AWFUL for my putting my dog (and boyfriend) through this and feel like I should have taken a wait and see more conservative approach. Is sciatica in this situation usually temporary or chronic?


Hello, Jody,

Sorry to be late replying, I didn't see this when I should have.

I suspect that this situation will be temporary and that in the long run you will feel that you have made the right decision.

I am sorry that you are not feeling you have adequate communication with your doctors that are actually seeing your dog.

I would recommend that you tell them you still have questions. Ask if you can email them.



The sciatic pain has subsided, and the incessant licking; he is finally sleeping through the night. Vet did not prescribe predisone afterall. I suspect there will be ups and downs along the way, but he is 5 weeks post surgery tomorrow and vet is pleased that he is walking better than most dogs at this stage. He will continue on Rimadyl for the other dysplastic hip. The vet saved the femoral head and it is a bit shiny where there was bone on bone grinding. No mention of checking liver
and kidney enzymes, but I will call and ask. Time will tell (or maybe not) weather I would do this again the same way. For now I am happy that his sciatic pain has subsided and he is starting to play again.
Thanks for your help.


Another upate:
Just over 4 months since FHO surgery and he is doing well.
He is up to 1.5 mile hikes.


Thanks for the good news!

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