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My Pet World: From surgery to chiropractic care and water therapy — Readers weigh in on dogs with hip problems

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Cathy,

I’m writing regarding the question from Jeff in Holtsville, New York, whose dog was diagnosed with a spinal stroke. I'm a vet tech and also a retired board-certified pediatrician. I have assisted with the surgery of many dogs limping, walking with pain, and unable to jump.

When medicine is prescribed for joint pain, and it doesn't work after about two months, a consultation should be had with a board-certified veterinary surgeon who can do a complete exam, X-rays, and CT scan or MRI, if necessary. Two years is too long to wait to see if the medicine works.

The dog may need a total hip replacement, which can be done at a veterinary specialist facility. They also offer acupuncture and physical therapy and will not do the surgery if other means can be of benefit or at least tried first to see if there is any improvement before surgery.

— Leonard J. Marino, M.D., FAAP, LVT

Dear Dr. Marino,


Hip replacement may be the most long-lasting solution for a young dog with hip problems. Surgery can be expensive and, as you point out, may not be viable or necessary for every pet. So, it’s great the veterinary world is open to trying complementary therapies first.

For my readers, “complementary therapies” may include acupuncture, chiropractic care, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and more, and are often used in conjunction with traditional veterinary medicine for the benefit of a pet’s overall health.

For a list of holistic vets across the U.S. visit the American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Association at

Dear Cathy,


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