In June 2007 I noticed that Daisy's back right leg didn't move smoothly. It looked like her leg was catching. I also noticed that she started favoring that leg and not using it at times. After x-rays at our vet's office we heard the dreaded news - hip dysplasia. I was heart sick and angry because the breeder told us her hips are "guaranteed." Fortunately, we have a wonderful Vet who really knows his stuff and teaches interns for the University of Tennessee Veterinary school. He explained that there were two options for us. One option was total hip replacement which they'd do in Knoxville, is very expensive, and risks involve her body rejecting the new hip. The other option was called Femoral head excision where he would remove the part of the hip bone that was supposed to go into the socket, reattach the muscle and tendons, is less expensive, and with faithful physical therapy on our part she'd be running in 6-8 weeks post op. We went for the later option because I trust our doctor and I didn't want Daisy to suffer any more. It was all I could do to leave her there on surgery eve and I cried all the way home. She stayed at the doctor's office for four days (they called me twice a day) and when she came home she had a cone collar on. Poor thing was confused about the collar but ran on three legs like it was no problem. Needless to say, I was diligent with her physical therapy. Three times a day I moved her leg up and down like she would if she were walking, then eventually increased the range of motion to full extension. She didn't like it so I started schmoozing her with treats during PT. Of course, she went for that part. She healed fine, got her stitches out and continued PT.
And then it happened like the doctor said, one day (about 8 weeks after surgery) she wanted to bark at the cows and she ran to the fence using both back legs. I wept for joy (that's right I cry at the drop of a hat.) Two years later, she's fine, still the boss (actually referee suits her more) and runs at the head of the pack.