Arthritis in Dogs
Well 7 month post surgery Talla Dega has already begun having arthritis in her back left leg. The doctors tell me now that she must live a limited activity schedule or I will end up with a crippled dog. Considering she is only 4 we have a long way to go.
I can't help but be pretty mad about this since they were all about convincing me she would live a normal full life. Dega is even more mad since she can't seem to figure out why she doesn't get as much time having fun.
They are prescribing me Dosequin w/MSM to help her joints. Does any body have feedback regarding this?
I was also wondering if there was other methods that may help her in prevention of further areas being affected.
Till then dock diving is approved just not a full weekend anymore.
Thanks for any advice.
Gianna & Ms. Talla Dega
Sorry to hear about Talla Dega's arthritis problems. We have had a rough time with our 2 year old Australian Shepherd over the past year with a misdiagnosed shoulder injury that caused a severe limp. Long story short we have had her on Nupro Joint Support Supplement and it has worked wonders. We even put our 1 year old Aussie on it to prevent future problems. Also we learned the hard way when it gets complicated to get 2nd and sometimes 3rd opinions. Not familiar with Dosequin, however it's best to research the web regarding prescription arthritis medications because some can be very hard on the liver. Good luck and hope everything turns out well.
I have not formally met you, but I was at the San Mateo ISE when Talladega made her comeback. What an inspiration to see her jump as far as she did on 3 legs. It was incredible. I am sorry to hear that she has developed arthritis in one of her back legs.
I have a 12 year old female golden retriever that was limping pretty bad on her back right leg and was diagnosed with hip dysplasia over 2 years ago. My vet wanted me to put her on Rimadyl, but I had heard that Rimadyl can cause death in some dogs, so I chose not to go that route. After doing some research on the web I found a product called Nyzmes. It is a antioxident and has proven to help arthritis and hip dysplasia, not to mention a lot of other health ailments in dogs, cats, horses and people. After about 4 weeks on the tablets, I started to see an improvement and to this day she no longer limps. You can go to their website - nzymes.com to check out the product. I also have her on Drs. Foster and Smith Joint 2 supplements which contain the Chrondroitin, Glucosamine and MSM.
I also have had some friends try accupuncture for their dogs arthritis, which also seems to help.
There seems to be some different approaches to arthritis. It might just be trial and error until you can find something that works for her.
I am sure you will find something that will help her.
Hope to see you again in one of the upcoming Splash Dog events.
Arthritic Lab experiences
So sorry to hear about Dega's most recent challenge. One of our last Labs had severe back arthritis most of her life (from an injury when she was a pup) -- we learned a lot so will share some of our experiences with you in case they help. Cayli started to show signs of arthritis around 6 yrs old and ended up in emergency a couple of times after a bit too much fetching -- she had a full life and lived well with her arthritis until almost 14 yrs old! Of course, she had it easier with all 4 legs but early management can make a big difference for ensuring a long happy life even with arthritis. It did mean adjustments for us, but up until the last year, she did pretty well without too much pain. Some of the most helpful things we discovered:
* Yes, start right away on Glucosamine/Chondroitin/MSM/Hyaluronic acid supplements. We stayed away from Rimadyl since some problems with Labs. Cosequin (I suspect this is what you have) is a big name used for both dogs & horses, but we found better results with other options. One thing my vet said is "all Glucosamines are not equal" and that definitely was the case. We studied/read a lot and tried a bunch of different brands... "Sea Jerky" which has a different Chondroitin source worked best for quite a while and then we switched to other brands and the "changes" seemed to help as well. There are related supplements like CetylM that didn't do too much good for Cayli, but have helped my arthritic horse. Moral of the story -- try different ones and see what works best for Dega.
* Per our vet's recommendation, we immediately bought ramps for our SUV/truck and used them for Cayli for 8 yrs -- reducing the trauma of jumping in/out helped significantly and we've continued to use them for our other dogs too (especially for jumping out of the truck).
* Make sure to keep doing plenty of slow/gentle daily exercise without doing too much on "weekend warrior" outings (she may not show her pain until later so you need to learn to stop before she'll hurt). Daily walks were crucial for Cayli but we had to be careful not to overdo -- she actually became very good about recognizing her own limitations and still wanted to do 2-3 easy retrieves (no more jumping for frisbees which she loved to do) but then would lay down and contentedly chew on her ball -- be sure to listen carefully to Dega and not push her. When Cayli couldn't retrieve any longer near the end, we'd throw the toy directly to her to catch and she still enjoyed the eye/mouth coordination game.
* Swimming was the best medicine! We tried wet and dry acupuncture (Cayli hated it) and other therapies, but the best was swim therapy. We have a local vet tech who was trained for physical therapy and manipulates a dog's body while swimming/retrieving in a heated pool. The improvement was incredible and gave Cayli an extra year of quality life. Some of the dogs in therapy were even in wheelcarts and the pool was the one place they could still retrieve and play. So keep Dega swimming (even if she can't do the dock part as much)!
* Pain meds: there were so many improvements during Cayli's life. We started with buffered aspirin (Ascriptin) when the arthritis was making her uncomfortable. Later, a great NSAID drug was introduced in the US -- Metacam (aka Meloxicam), which was previously only available in Europe/Canada. It's a great anti-inflammatory without the associated GI issues. We were doing daily doses of Metacam when she was older, but good to have something on hand now if Dega does a bit too much and is in pain (Ascriptin is available OTC or whatever your vet recommends).
Arthritis is frustrating (especially after all you've already been through) but my experience was early adjustments meant we did have a long and very happy life with our Lab. Good luck!
A few years ago Jim bought a dog ramp (was one of his bright ideas for our motorhome....now that is a whole story in itself) we do not use it and if you want it let us know.
Adequan Canine is another suggestion. Your vet should be familiar with this product. Stanley has severe hip issues and I have 2 options, replace the hip or keep him comfortable. The comfort road is what we are currently driving.
I'm able to manage his discomfort by keeping him active living a low impact life, joint supplements, swimming. The Adequan was a science project I tried with Stanley this past winter and I have nothing but good to say about the drug. The cost is reasonable if you administer the drug at home.
Drop me a line if you want to hear more about my experiences using the Adequan on Stanley. It has not solved his standing in the pool problem but it sure made him more comfortable after a long hard day. firstname.lastname@example.org
Adequan info at
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