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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 3, 2004
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    San Francisco
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    Default support for the geriatric lab

    My wonderful yellow lab is about to turn 15. She has a lot of trouble moving when she first wakes up. I help her down the stairs and she manages to pee only sitting in it a bit. she is very wobbly and sometimes falls down when she shakes her head.

    I think she is losing her sight which is not too much of a concern.

    she has our younger (7 year old lab) who keeps her company.

    she jumps around and does a happy dance by dinner time.

    she is on rimadyl and priolsec. she does not appear to be in pain.

    she also get glucosamine and chrondroitin and fish oil.

    my vet says there is not much he can do for her functionality.

    she has a soft bed.

    any thoughts on keeping her comfortable?
    A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2010
    Location
    Upstate New York
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    4,317

    Default

    Sounds to me like you're covering it all.

    My oldest girl got vestibular syndrome when she was 11, but was over it in short order. Learned to wrap a towel underneath her rib cage to help her stand and walk without falling over at the time. Would that help in the morning? Just take a good sized towel, and run it underneath her chest from one side to the other like a sling, with the ends above which you can hold in your hands, and you can help hold her up as she gets up, and then moves.
    Being right half the time beats being half-right all the time. Malcolm Forbes



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2008
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    986

    Default

    http://helpemup.com/ These are pretty nifty.
    Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

    Former owner of the best Amish-carthorse-turned-eventer ever



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    18,813

    Default

    My worry would be pain and if she's not in pain, all you can do is shower her with love for the time she's got left. No signs of dementia?
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 13, 2008
    Posts
    2,846

    Default

    Just to throw out there - massage, acupuncture, laser, hydrotherapy... I just got done reading a book about treating arthritis in pets, can you tell? I haven't tried any of the above, so have no personal experience. Seriously, while arthritis is a progressive disease and your dog is 14, if it's financially feasible, I'd give one or more of those treatments a shot. Even if they don't ultimately prolong her life, they might improve her strength, thus making both your lives easier.

    As for simpler ideas - you probably already do this, but elevating food/water bowls, and keeping multiple water bowls around the house - hydration is good for the joints, and a sore dog won't always bother to go seek out water but will drink if it's nearby. Limiting stairs. Regular grooming, since she probably can't get to everything as easily. Hanging out with her, do little stuff to keep her mind active. Instead of playing tug-of-war, for example, you can play "Where's the cheese?" Much easier on the body, keeps the brain sharp.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 19, 2011
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    66

    Default

    I too have an almost 15 year old lab, who is in similar shape. She's on glucosamine, chrondroitin, rimadyl, and about a month ago we added tramadol. While the tramadol has been great for her, we have to be careful. It's much easier for her to get up, but she often gets her back legs crossed in the process, and she just can't fix them herself. As a result, she walks like a drunken sailor until someone comes to help straighten her out. We try to always help her up, if only to help her uncross her legs.

    You mention a soft bed. At least for my girl, a lot of beds are actually too soft. Anything too fluffy, and she gets lost in the middle, and is unable to get herself out. She likes to wander during the night, and so if she can't get up overnight to at least turn over or wander a few feet, the mornings are a lot harder on her. We've found she does best with a bed like this as opposed to something like this. Not to mention, it's easier to clan when she has the occasional accident

    As far as keeping her comfortable, giving her love, food, and keeping a close eye on her pain level (and adjusting meds accordingly) is the best any of us can do. I know we appreciate every day with our girl so much more than we did when she was younger.
    Last edited by onyx98; Mar. 20, 2013 at 10:00 PM. Reason: forgot something



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2007
    Location
    Montana
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    5,462

    Default

    my brother's lab lived to be 16.5.. he had lots of ramps, bed covers that were easily changed b/c of accidents, a slightly raised bed so the dog didn't have to rise from the floor, traction booties, fish oil by the pound, a harness to hold him up in bad footing situations... lots of treats, a written in stone schedule, and lots of bully sticks.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 3, 2004
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    San Francisco
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    Default

    thanks for all your advice. I think a slightly raised bed will be a help for her and I like the idea of the booties. she still has her "hiking boots" from when she used to hike the desolation wilderness with me.

    every moment with her is a gift.
    A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2001
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    Center of the Universe
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    you could try Adequan to see if that helps with getting her moving in the morning. One thing to consider is strengthening muscles to see if that helps with the wobbliness- take at a look at dog pilates on the ball. The easier exercises you basically have the dog lie on the ball and you gently rock the ball while holding the dog on it, so even a weak, old dog can start somewhere.
    before you react with skepticism, light muscle-strengthening programs implemented in human nursing homes have freed people from wheelchairs and walkers they thought they were going to have to use for the rest of their lives.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
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    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
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    Wendy, I was just going to come back and suggest Adequan. And milk thistle to helpt protect the liver from the anti-inflammatory.
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 31, 2000
    Location
    El Paso, TX
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    I 3rd the Adequan. You can have the vet show you how to do the injection. It's easy to do and relatively inexpensive. You do 1 shot every 3 1/2 days for a month. I've seen some amazing results. The best part is, that there really isn't any side effects like NSAIDs can have.

    Raise food and water bowls off the ground if you haven't already. Neck arthritis is common in old dogs, and it makes them more likely to eat and drink. Staying hydrated helps an old dog's kidneys.



  12. #12
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    Aug. 3, 2004
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    San Francisco
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    I have a call into my vet for the Adequan. Thanks for all your suggestions.
    A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 2006
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    709

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wendy View Post
    you could try Adequan to see if that helps with getting her moving in the morning. One thing to consider is strengthening muscles to see if that helps with the wobbliness- take at a look at dog pilates on the ball. The easier exercises you basically have the dog lie on the ball and you gently rock the ball while holding the dog on it, so even a weak, old dog can start somewhere.
    before you react with skepticism, light muscle-strengthening programs implemented in human nursing homes have freed people from wheelchairs and walkers they thought they were going to have to use for the rest of their lives.
    Yes.

    Although I would take my dog to a CCRP practitioner to learn the correct exercises before trying it on my own. Tell them you have a limited budget (assuming you do) and they should be willing to spread out the appointments with lots of take-home exercises.

    If you have a larger budget, weekly or bi-weekly massage/laser/rehab appointments with a CCRP will do your dog a world of good.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2010
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    I found that massaging the body, but especially the legs all the way down to the toes was sooooooooooooo enjoyable to my old labby and my ancient jrt..........my lab was 16, the jrt 19 , and they would groan and stretch, and close eyes in pleasure when I started on the legs....................and now, having arthritis in my own toes and feet, I can really REALLY appreciate the benefits of this.................seems we focus on the larger body parts, and the feet and lower legs get overlooked..........
    one of my new local vets has a big hydro therapy tank....looks so cool..........and they say it works wonders..........my old dogs are long gone, but I will keep it in mind for when my current crew ages
    enjoy your labby girl..................not much sweeter than an old lab.....they are so grateful for your attention



  15. #15
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    Mar. 29, 2006
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    I have a 12 yo lab mix who has been diagnosed with Spine spondylosis. Basically arthritis of the spine. Acupuncture is helping. We tried generic Adequan and really saw no difference. Considering the amazing results I have seen with Pentosan on my horse, I am going to put Clark on the Pentosan too.



  16. #16
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    Aug. 3, 2004
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    San Francisco
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    spoke with my good vet today. he doesn't think the adequan will help with her advanced state. we visit him tomorrow at 7:30 AM!
    A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton



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