X rays prior to adopting?

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X rays prior to adopting?

Postby gooeydog » Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:25 am

I don't plan to be in the market for another dog for several years, at least, but this is something that's been on my mind for a good while. I like to keep my dogs active, and miss being able to do that sort of activity with Haley (hard work for Haley is trekking down to the backyard), so it's important to me that my next dog be relatively sound, physically. I know I could go to a breeder who is health testing their stock and get a better chance of getting a physically sound dog, but I've seen plenty of dogs that have the other traits I'm looking for out of our local shelters and rescues, and I know that high energy, high drive dogs tend to be difficult to place. Don't need a dog that's OFA excellent, even just confirmation from my vet that the hips/elbows/knees look decent is adequate for me. X rays would of course be paid for by me, I don't expect someone else to pay for testing that's not needed for the average couch potato pet dog.

Is it fair to require that prior to adopting a dog? I would probably even be willing to foster a dog if x rays were not up to par, but having had a broken dog, there's no worse feeling than leaving the broken dog lonely on the couch while you take out the wild hares! It's even worse than the indignant squawking the wold hares do when kenneled so I can lounge on the couch with the broken dog lol

And I know doing a pre adoption x ray screening wouldn't rule out the possibility of torn ACL(s) down the road, or the dog breaking its leg in some freak accident, or general age related arthritis, but I'd rather know I was starting with a relatively solid foundation, so to speak.
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Re: X rays prior to adopting?

Postby Patch O' Pits » Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:32 am

If you are willing to pay for it to be done, I'm sure they would work with you. I don't see why they wouldn't... But because most rescues have very limited resources, I don't know if they would be able to do this any other way.
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Re: X rays prior to adopting?

Postby mtlu » Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:01 pm

I'm curious to hear what others who work in rescue think of this! I know that any future dog(s) I may get will be via adoption and not through a breeder. We are not the kind of home that will have a dog to compete in sports but we did take Molly lure coursing before her CCL injuries because she really enjoyed it and we do like to hike and appreciate a somewhat active dog. Despite having paid for two TPLO's for Molly and not hesitating to do so again should another dog we own need it, I have also half-joked to friends that if we got another dog, I would love to bring him or her to see an orthopedic surgeon (at my expense) prior to officially signing adoption papers. lol
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Re: X rays prior to adopting?

Postby chako » Sun Jul 10, 2011 2:30 pm

My GSD rescue friend does that -- but the potential adopters pay for it if they want it. So, yes, if you want your dog to be active and you're concerned about hips or elbows, a good rescue will, in my opinion, have the dog x -rayed for you IF You pay for it. They might balk at the idea of anesthesia, but there are vets out there that will do such X rays without anesthesia if the dog is amenable to being positioned on the table (and you don't want the absolute most perfect OFA position).
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Re: X rays prior to adopting?

Postby Amy Hendrickson » Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:59 pm

If you're paying, I don't see the big deal. I would definitely look for an adult that's in the age range where OFA would be applicable though. Isn't that at least 18 months?
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Re: X rays prior to adopting?

Postby Celesteandthebullies » Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:46 pm

My foster is sort of a special case, the shelter almost never allows adult fosters but they budged for me. But I'm sure they'd be willing to work with it, even since she is a foster the x-rays would be the clinic's charge. (Foster parents only have to pay for medications.) So I don't know for sure if they'd be open to it, but the possibility is there. I'd imagine more seasoned rescues, organizations with fosters, would consider it.
I don't suspect any dysplasia from her right now, we've done a lot of flirt pole sessions, so maybe you could try to contact foster homes and ask them about it.

It may just come down to whether or not you're willing to pay for the x-rays.


OFA is 24 months. :)
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Re: X rays prior to adopting?

Postby El_EmDubya » Sun Jul 10, 2011 5:12 pm

We X-rayed the poop outta Monte before we adopted him. (Coming out of the equine industry, I'm a little more sensitive than most to gait issues.)

I know it wouldn't have changed our decision, but it sure helps to plan in the event you know medical expenses are bound to happen. His X-rays were clean, but that doesn't mean he was cheap. One bad hock = chiro, Boxer, no doubt, in his genes, = teeth and heart issues, and an over protective mama = no expense is spared. Over the last 6 years, I think we're working on about $1,000/year for medical appointments, a biopsy, chiro, acupuncture, $250/yr medical insurance for catastrophic care, and a raw diet. I would guess that kind of commitment would be consistent with those wanting X-rays in the first place.

Personally, I feel EVERY rescue should have a basic understanding of physical structure and the ability to look at the dog's structure and gait to determine the potential for issues as the dog ages. Come on people, it's not THAT difficult! It frustrates me to no end to see these ads for "calm couch potato" when the video shows a dog clearly in pain that doesn't jump around because it can't. (Having endured 14 years of chronic pain, myself, I know what these dogs are going through...it is frustrating, let me tell you, when your heart is that of an athlete but your body won't comply.)

As for adopters wishing to X-ray the dog prior to adoption, I would take that as an extremely good sign that the adopters are serious about both the dog and the long-term prospects either as a pet or an athlete/pet. And if the X-rays aren't clean, they paid for it (as we did) and the rescue now has more health information about the dog and can make decisions based on a more clear picture of the dog's future.
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Re: X rays prior to adopting?

Postby gooeydog » Sun Jul 10, 2011 6:02 pm

Thanks for the input :)

I had thought that it probably wouldn't be an issue, but then mentioned the thought to someone I encountered who had recently adopted a dog, and they were pretty appalled by the idea that I might turn down an otherwise nice dog because of a physical/structural issue. To me, it's not really any different than saying that I didn't want a dog with nervy/shy temperament because I'd like to do therapy work with the dog, or a dog with severe noise sensitivity because I plan to use it as a field retriever... I understand sometimes things don't work out the way you think they will, even with the odds stacked in your favor, and I'd never give up a dog because it turned out differently than I'd hoped, but I don't see an issue with choosing carefully to increase the odds of having the dog be a good fit. I'd probably be looking for a dog in the 18 month-3 yr range, old enough to have a pretty good idea of temperament (my primary concern), and get a pretty good idea so far as structure. I'd imagine that if hips look decent at even just 12 months old, the dog would likely be ok, OFA will give a prelim rating earlier than 24 months, and touts it as fairly consistent with later ratings, and I know pennhip can be done on younger dogs, though I'd probably be a bit more wary of "just ok" hips on a younger dog than a 2 or 3 yr old.

I also had some concerns about what poor x rays could mean for the dog's future... if I insist on x raying a dog before adopting, and the dog turns out to have moderate to severe joint issues, I'd feel pretty terrible if the dog then sat in rescue/shelter forever due to having "health problems", or was put down due to being difficult to place. Then again, better for the new owner to know, rather than find out a bit down the road and not be prepared. I'd imagine that would be a case by case thing, depending on the rescue/shelter, and adoption climate at that time.
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Re: X rays prior to adopting?

Postby MissKitty » Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:37 pm

As a foster, I would be fine with it. I might be a bit tentative if anesthesia was required but if someone is knowledgeable enough to know about OFA and health issues and knows how to handle a high energy dog and could be a perfect home, I would be willing to take the risk.

As for knowing about structure and health issues in rescue, I would be happy if most rescues knew there were breeds other than Labs and Pit Bulls and had even the most basic idea of dog behavior lol
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Re: X rays prior to adopting?

Postby Red » Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:35 am

gooeydog wrote:Is it fair to require that prior to adopting a dog? .


All my fosters that were up for adoption were x rayed, and some OFAed, and it has always been my personal choice and under my own expenses. I wish that more rescuers do it but the costs are always an issue, combined with the regular vet care or extra expenses due to certain health condition of a rescue dog that just came in.

OFA can be done before the 24 months mark, it is just a preliminary but the process is the same and the dog still get put on the data base, if that is wanted. My foster Sneaky had her preliminary done soon, since I wanted her to go to a working home and wanted to make sure her hips had no clear issues from the get going. I x ray regardless where the dog is going, because I believe that an adopter, and myself, should know if there is a possibility of specific problems down the road.
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Re: X rays prior to adopting?

Postby violet » Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:04 am

I have a pretty good eye for knee/hip/elbow issues and am quick to run x rays so we know what we are dealing with. We actually have two dogs available (three if you count the old lady) who have had x rays done. I have been working on making sure anyone I have screening a shelter dog for me knows at least what to look for i.e. slipping hocks/knees etc. If people don't have a basic knowledge of those things I think they are doign adopters a serious disservice when a dog adopted as a hiking buddy blows a knee six months later. ANd I cannot tell you how many frantic fundraisers I have seen for just this. It bugs the crap out of me. A blown knee, to some degree,, should be a forseeable thing. Granted, sometimes it's just a freak incident but usually the issue is at least partly visible. And you don't need to be a conformation snob or a vet to see it. So..seeing as it is generally something somewhat obvious, I kinda have an issue with a rescue taking a dog and not knowing and being able to pass on that info to an adopter. We currently have a young female with bad knees. This info is IN HER AD and it is noted WITH an addendum that should it require surgery downline, the rescue will back the dog up as it is being adopted with a preexisting condition.
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Re: X rays prior to adopting?

Postby violet » Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:06 am

Short answer, I think asking for x rays is great!!
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Re: X rays prior to adopting?

Postby merriterrier » Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:05 am

violet wrote:I have a pretty good eye for knee/hip/elbow issues and am quick to run x rays so we know what we are dealing with. We actually have two dogs available (three if you count the old lady) who have had x rays done. I have been working on making sure anyone I have screening a shelter dog for me knows at least what to look for i.e. slipping hocks/knees etc. If people don't have a basic knowledge of those things I think they are doign adopters a serious disservice when a dog adopted as a hiking buddy blows a knee six months later. ANd I cannot tell you how many frantic fundraisers I have seen for just this. It bugs the crap out of me. A blown knee, to some degree,, should be a forseeable thing. Granted, sometimes it's just a freak incident but usually the issue is at least partly visible. And you don't need to be a conformation snob or a vet to see it. So..seeing as it is generally something somewhat obvious, I kinda have an issue with a rescue taking a dog and not knowing and being able to pass on that info to an adopter. We currently have a young female with bad knees. This info is IN HER AD and it is noted WITH an addendum that should it require surgery downline, the rescue will back the dog up as it is being adopted with a preexisting condition.


:goodpost:

I have had some dogs x-rayed, some I can tell they have issues just by looking. I wish I had the $$ to do a lot of testing on dogs, but I do not.
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