Hello. My name is Michelle and I have a 4 year old 140lb great dane who recently started to have hip issues. I have seen my vet over the past year for this and was trying to treat it with supplements and a grain free diet with pain pills occasionally. The problem has increasingly gotten worse to the point where he can barely walk. He shows significant atrophy in both legs and is only comfortable while standing or sitting (does not like to lay down so is not sleeping well). My vet wants to put him asleep to do xrays and is saying it will cost between $550 and $650 just for the xrays and for someone to read them. Through research it is pretty clear to me that he will need some form of surgery to repair the problem. I’m lost on what to do because knowing that he will most likely need surgery, I’d rather save the money for the xrays and just go right in and fix it all. However, I do know xrays are needed to assess the severity of his condition. Is it possible to just go directly to a specialist to save the time and money or do you need a referral from a vet? Will they know without xrays if he will need surgery and what kind? Please help me on what steps to take, it is just breaking my heart to watch my boy go through so much pain.