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"slipped hocks" - anybody!?!


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#1 laurie etc

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 02:41 PM

A friend recently attended a "hands on" seminar where the presenter told her that her young working-bred Border Collie had "slipped hocks" and was doomed to a life of unsoundness and therefore she should not consider doing any type of performance or work with her. The "diagnosis" was made by placing a flat palm on the back of the point of the hock and pressing forward - the hock flexed forward (and then back to the original position when pressure was released). This 22 month old dog is in agility training, and has recently started herding - showing a great deal of promise in both areas. The owner is naturally dismayed. She has talked to her regular vet, her canine physical therapist and is going to see an orth. specialist next week - none were familiar with the layman's term "slipped hocks", except in terms of a subluxation of the hock joint (which is a serious lameness producing injury). I'm thinking the presenter is full of CR**! The presenter also told my friend "Slipped hocks are not in any Vet books, as I said at the seminar numerous
times, that Vets are only taught things that are fixable. This does not happen to be one of them."
I have a strong feeling that this amount of flexibility in working Border Collie hocks is normal, because I experimented with a number of my own dog and some others, all the dogs I tested had that kind of flexibility. It would make sense, because of the type of work they do; crouching, turning, quick starts and stops... Has anyone else heard of "slipped hocks" and/or seen it in working Border Collies? Or please, try the experiment on your dog and let me know what you find.

#2 juliepoudrier

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 03:09 PM

Laurie,
I just tried it with Twist. Of course I'm not sure from your description that I did it correctly, but when I pushed her hock did "give" forward--until her toes turned under! Does that mean I should start worrying about lameness issues or maybe even retire her since she's probably unsound and always will be? :rolleyes:

Personally I agree with you that it's a load of crap. Out of curiosity, what were the presenter's credentials? That is, any degrees or special training in biomechanics or sports medicine or anything? It's very telling that the regular vet and the physical therapist both had no idea what your friend was talking about. My bet is that the orthopedist won't have a clue either.

And FWIW, there's lot of "unfixable" diseases listed in the vet books, so I hardly think "unfixable" is a reason this particular problem isn't listed. More likely it's not listed because it doesn't exist.

J.

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#3 laurie etc

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 03:40 PM

Originally posted by juliepoudrier:
Laurie,
I just tried it with Twist. Of course I'm not sure from your description that I did it correctly, but when I pushed her hock did "give" forward--until her toes turned under! Does that mean I should start worrying about lameness issues or maybe even retire her since she's probably unsound and always will be? :rolleyes:

J.

Yep I guess you better just brush pile her now - before she's totally crippled. :eek: (or just give her to me and I'll give her a nice "retirement home".)

IMO, credentials were sketchy - but appparently the person has quite a following -sells videos and books about "choosing a puppy" and "structure" - and is a conformation judge (and doberman breeder). Claims that they have observed all kinds of working dogs and knows what they are talking about. From what I could tell- no medical or veterinary background to back up the statements at all. ARRRGH!!

#4 laurie etc

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Posted 08 March 2006 - 03:46 PM

Originally posted by juliepoudrier:
And FWIW, there's lot of "unfixable" diseases listed in the vet books, so I hardly think "unfixable" is a reason this particular problem isn't listed. More likely it's not listed because it doesn't exist.

J.

:rolleyes:
Can you imagine how big the text books would be if everything "normal" was described?

#5 Deb Mickey

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 05:31 AM

I was at a seminar sometime back where the presenter did the same test. I don't recall that it was called "slipped hocks," but I do remember it was a structural concern according to this presenter. Perhaps it signifies a weak hock prone to injury?

#6 Tonya

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 06:27 AM

Laurie and all,

I am laughing at this thread. But laughing with you, not at you! I long time ago I went to a seminar where "slipped" hocks were described as well. I went with a bunch of other Border Collie (AKC) folks, and after that, gosh, every dog, and litter of puppies we tried this with had "slipped hocks!" "Oh my heavens! All our dogs were defective!" Of course, that couldn't have been true and so I did some researching and wrote the seminar presenter and found out we were all testing the dogs incorrectly!

Slipped hocks is really just a term for "double jointed", so no, it's not a problem the vet can fix.

I would highly doubt that anyone of your dogs have them. It would make working on a full time basis too hard for them.

Once you have seen someone go over a dog that "really" has slipped hocks, you will understand.

When looking for it, stand your dog still, with his back legs in a "natural position", just behind him, and "gently" push the hock in until you feel resistance. That is the key word. You can literally push just about any dog?s hocks in, if you push hard enough! If you hit any resistance point, no slipped hocks. A dog with slipped hocks has no resistance at all and the hock is just gushy.

Hope that helps!

Tonya

#7 Denise Wall

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 07:00 AM

There was a situation around here with this same thing, from what sounds like the same "expert" presenter -- a perfectly normal active dog diagnosed with slipped hocks that was said by this person to be doomed to a life of pain and misery. The devastated owner spent all kinds of time and money in follow-up only to find out from people who knew what they were talking about that the dog was fine.
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#8 CLW

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 07:05 AM

Was it the Pat Hastings seminar in MA last weekend?

#9 juliepoudrier

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 07:12 AM

How did I know the name PH would come up? :rolleyes:

Tonya, thanks for allaying my fears regarding my best working dog. I'm sure I did the test wrong, and boy am I glad. I would have hated to have put her down for this serious unsoundness issue. LOL!

J.

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#10 CLW

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 07:17 AM

I got a report from a friend who was there that "over half of the dogs there had slipped hocks".

Laurie I'm pretty sure I know which dog and friend you refer to and I'm sure someone telling her something like that upset her.

#11 Tonya

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 07:55 AM

Originally posted by juliepoudrier:
How did I know the name PH would come up? :rolleyes:

Tonya, thanks for allaying my fears regarding my best working dog. I'm sure I did the test wrong, and boy am I glad. I would have hated to have put her down for this serious unsoundness issue. LOL!

J.

Julie, I am glad I helped, it would have been such a shame for you to put your poor unsound dog down. But hey, I almost put my whole breeding program down too!

Pat Hastings.... won't go there! But I was sure that was who we were all talking about.

Slipped hocks is a "real" issue, but I have only seen a few dogs with it and personally, I have not seen a Border Collie with it.

Tonya

#12 Deb Mickey

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 08:25 AM

Just want to add to my post -

The presenter I saw was not PH and this presenter said the condition is not painful. In this presenter's opinion, the hock is one of the most stable joints and if the hock could be pushed to that extent, it wasn't as tight as it could/should be.

Don't shoot the messenger here... just adding fuel to the talk. :rolleyes:

#13 Rave

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 09:45 AM

"Slipped Hocks (over extension of hock joint due to weak ligament):
When evaluating the hocks, gently push against the back of the hock joint (do not push past the point of resistance and the dog must be standing on the leg firmly). If the hock collapses forward, the puppy has a slipped hock. A slipped hock is when the joint itself bends the wrong direction; it hyper-extends or collapses forward. The weakness is in the tissue, not the bone. Slipped hocks can cause serious problems for a dog and should never be overlooked or dismissed."

I think the key points here are the joint "collapses forward" with "gentle pressure". Also the joint is unstable because it "bends in the wrong direction". Many dogs I've seen who've been evaluated by PH to have slipped hocks walk and run completely normal w/o hyper-extension of the joint. I suspect many people who try to evaluate their dogs themselves usually do it wrong. I believe what PH is testing for is a 'weak' hock, not an actual slipped one.

-Laura

#14 laurie etc

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Posted 09 March 2006 - 10:44 AM

So my question still stands - isn't flexibility in the hock a "plus" for the type of work our dogs do? They are not just gaiting around in a straight line...I think there's got to be a big difference between dogs whose hocks involuntarily flex (subluxate) forward, and those whose hocks will flex and recover to normal with pressure applied. Also, I noticed with my dogs that they are just "compliant" to me handling them. They do not brace against me when I push on them.

Laura - where is that quote you used from?

#15 juliepoudrier

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 02:20 AM

Laurie,
I found that exact quote using a Google search yesterday, but can't remember the site.

If by slipped hocks we mean a situation in which the hock bends forward like the elbow of a "double jointed" person bends backward, then I could see where that might be an issue, but when I searched yesterday, there doesn't seem to be a lot of information out there, and certainly no pictures to show what it really means. Much of what I saw also mentioned that dogs with slipped hocks will often have a roach to their backs because they try to take pressure off the weak hock joints. I don't know if this is true, but you know, I have (well, Boy and Jill do) an appointment with Regina on the 20th and maybe I cna get her to explain it all a bit better (unless she's one of those who has no idea about it, though I believe she does agility so it's likely she's heard of it since the whole structure evaluation thing seems to be entrenched among people who do agility). Anyway, I'll report back what she says.

In answer to your question Laurie, as a nonvet who is not real clear on what slipped hocks really are and therefore also not clear on whether the hocks actually "slip" during movement, I will go on the assumption that a slipped hock does what a double jointed elbow does. I think flexibility from side to side would be a good thing, but I don't know about flexibility forward--I mean that's just an unnatural movement and I can't really think of when a dog would need to hock to bend forward (in relation to its normal bend which is backward).... If you see a dog in a flat out run, the hock is nearly straight--is it possible that for a dog with a slipped hock, if caught photographically in a run, we would see the hock hyperextended (to the point of bending "backward")? I don't know. I certainly haven't ever noticed it in pictures posted here. Not much help, huh?

J.

I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of stars makes me dream.

~Vincent van Gogh



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Julie Poudrier
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Willow (6/1997-5/2014, run free, my heart), Boy (3/1995-10/2010, RIP), Jill (8/1996-5/2012, RIP), Farleigh (12/1998-7/2014, RIP), Kat, Twist, Lark, Phoebe, Pipit, and Birdie!
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#16 laurie etc

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Posted 10 March 2006 - 03:13 AM

Julie - I'll send you a PDF privately that my friend sent me - an article written about the issue. (I don't have permission to post it).

#17 Black Watch Debatable

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Posted 11 March 2006 - 06:02 PM

Here's a short video clip on "slipping hocks."

Is that Pat Hastings in the video? (I'd never heard of her. Apparently she is an AKC luminary and "Herding" Group judge, as well as an "expert" on "structure." And yes, I know quotations marks should be rejected as an ironic device, but sometimes I just can't stop myself Posted Image ) Why am I the only one here who doesn't know Pat Hastings? Posted Image

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#18 juliepoudrier

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Posted 12 March 2006 - 01:45 AM

Luisa,
Don't feel bad--I hadn't heard of her either until she and her structure evaluations were brought up on these boards a little while ago. I too looked her up and when I saw that her "claim to fame" was that she'd bred 10s of breeds of dogs (I suppose once you've gotten examples of one breed anointed as conformation champions, you should just move on to the next breed on the list) over the years and was an AKC judge, I confess I decided that she probably wasn't worth all the $$ folks seem to be throwing at her for structure evals. That's why when the subject comes up, I always ask if the evaluator has any credentials, like a veterinary degree, expertise in biomechanics, etc. It simply amazes me that people will pay good money for someone who has no apparent true expertise on the subject to tell them whether their dogs are suited for the activity the owner has in mind. In fact, the last time I went to her web site (the first time this subject was brought up) I couldn't see anywhere that she had ever done any sort of sport with any breed she's had (unless it's just a well-kept secret). So now you have folks paying for evals by a person who has neither educational expertise on the subject nor practical experience using dogs the way people are using them in agility, stockwork, whatever. Brings to mind P.T. Barnum's famous quote....

J.

#19 FD

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 03:40 PM

Laurie,
I don't know the person mentioned but....
I had a dog of a different breed that had this problem. The hock would pop forward on it's own without any pushing. The puppy had been on concrete and the joint did not "set" and it made the ligaments weak. The dog has since grown and put on weight and the hock does not pop anymore but it's still a strange looking joint. Pup is not in pain and runs, jumps and plays.

#20 laurie etc

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Posted 04 May 2006 - 05:19 PM

The dog in question doesn't have that issue and never has. She is an athletic young agility dog who also has started working sheep with success. The Orthopedic specialist that saw her (and the one I consulted) both just said they did not see a problem as long as the dog does not hyperextend (pop) when moving or jumping.


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