August 2007, Bruno is now about 10 ½ years of age. He is now unable to jump onto my bed by himself and getting him into the back of my SUV is becoming more and more difficult. He is a little slow to get up from a down position and I am beginning to notice that his joints are becoming a tad creaky but heck; he is a big ass 100-pound German shepherd AND a working dog who is 10 years old. Overall, he is holding his own at this point or so I thought.
When the big guy could no longer get on my bed, I custom ordered a ramp and placed it at the foot of the bed. We “practiced” using the ramp and Bruno could navigate it with ease if he chose to. The problem was he would only use it when getting off of the bed. Instead, he had me trained to get out of bed and lift his back legs onto the bed. His refusal to use the ramp I chalk up to his ego and pride. So there went a few hundred bucks down the drain but I get a gold star for having good intentions.
So let us jump ahead to October 2007. The ramp for the bed was a waste of mullah but I have now purchased a ramp for the vehicle and that is working out splendidly in my opinion. Solve one problem only to have another one appear.
Bruno is beginning to occasionally “sway” in the back end when walking. In the beginning, I notice that it is more common after he has been lying down for a duration of time. I poke, prod, and feel around on him and he shows no signs of pain, discomfort or worry. He still looks forward to his daily walks and play sessions so I decide to not panic and keep a watchful eye on him.
November 2007 – Bruno’s symptoms are getting worse, not better. Whatever is going on is starting to progress and become more obvious. I am now describing his condition as his back end acting as if it is drunk. Everything is normal in the front half but it is as though he cannot control what his back end is doing.
Logically, it is easy to jump straight to hip dysplasia on a large breed working dog. Everybody does it. I make a veterinary appointment and decide not to jump to conclusions or rely on Google. It will be a few days before our appointment and before we will know what will lie ahead. Mentally and logically I am trying to stay positive but in my gut, I know there is something terribly wrong with my partner and friend.
*Originally posted April 28, 2010*