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Pain management for the arthritic older dog

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  • Pain management for the arthritic older dog

    My sweet old rescue girl is starting to really slow down and it's breaking my heart. She is undetermined age (but is entirely gray around muzzle/eyes) and the vets estimate 12+. She is also unknown breeding but we are guessing some sort of shepherd cross.

    She has always been a bit creaky behind but within the past month has really started to struggle - stairs are hard and she can't jump into my car anymore. We also had to put rugs down as she has fallen a couple times on our hardwood floors.

    Vet has suggested glucosamine shots, and she is already on 20cc of metacam daily as per my vet. I'm wondering how much of a difference the glucosamine makes? She is also on the hefty side, she is hypothyroid and we can't seem to get much more weight off her despite many short walks daily - she can not handle more than a 20 min walk without seriously slowing down and then coming home to lie down.

    She is eating well and is bright and happy - she wants to come everywhere with me still, but I want to make sure she has a good quality of life for as long as I have her.

    Any experience with injectable glucosamine? Ideas to help her out? Anything I can do to help her I will. This is my heart dog and money isn't an object for her - I will find a way.

  • #2
    Adequan can certainly make a big difference. Gabapentin may also really help, as can feed-through joint supplement.

    What are you feeding her? If she's not on a high quality grain free, you might want to consider it. I have had WONDERFUL luck switching foods--several years ago my old creaky Samoyed went from something mid-quality (Nutro, maybe?) to California Natural and she was like a puppy again. Just changing the food probably gave her another couple years.


    • #3
      I had an aged GSP bitch who we kept comfortable with coated low dose aspirin.
      ... _. ._ .._. .._


      • Original Poster

        She is currently on vet prescribed dry food to help with her joints - the trick is keeping it low cal because of her thyroid problems. She has also recently been started on gabapentin but we aren't noticing a big difference


        • #5
          What food are you using? Be careful using food prescribed by vets. Do some research yourself to determine the quality of the foods. In my experience, most vets don't have a very good grasp on canine nutrition, and often prescribe foods by companies who make less-than desirable stuff. But I agree, a high quality food is key.


          • #6
            Two things helped my older, arthritic dogs: Adequan, series of 7 injections every 4 days, lasted 2-3 months; and acupuncture.
            "Another member of the Barefoot Eventers Clique"


            • Original Poster

              BTW the food is Medi Cal mobility support if that helps


              • #8
                Well, it's not TERRIBLE, but you can really do better. Really. I'd likely try Acana plus salmon oil and a good joint supplement.


                • Original Poster

                  I'm not too familiar with how or what to pick for dog food - is Acana available in Canada? Also is there a kind/type I should buy? And not to sound like an idiot but what am I looking for on the label to know if it's a good food?

                  Durr. Just did some research and found a store 10 mins from my place that carries it! But still curious, how do I choose a good dog food??


                  • #10
                    On the phone so I can't chime in much right this second, but this is a great read on food: http://www.dogster.com/forums/Food_a.../thread/518898

                    A good site to reference for quality is http://www.dogfoodanalysis.com/


                    • #11
                      Acana is produced in Canada, so it should be widely available. Here is their store locator.

                      While I'm not a big fan of Blue Buffalo, this is a nice basic run down on how to read a label and what to look for. There is a lot out there about the topic--just google "how to choose dog food" or "how to read a dog food label."

                      Were I in your shoes, I might try out Acana Pacifica, since it will already have a significant serving of fish oil.


                      • #12
                        We have an older lab/aussie/something else mix with horrible hips. Managing her weight was a problem...had her on some type of appetite control meds without much help. Took her to another vet who checked her thyroid...she's now on thyroid meds and quite svelte again.
                        For pain we were using tramadol twice a day with Metacam as needed (it's my understanding
                        Metacam is not for long term use).

                        She was doing okay but when she went in for wellness exam in May/June, I asked about
                        something else. Vet recommended Previcox and what a difference...we got a new dog!!!!
                        Just had her blood work checked in November and all is well. She also did the Adequan series a couple of years ago and we still do the monthly injection. She can squat again to piddle and gets in the car so much easier. She's back to wrestling with our Aussie and winning!


                        • #13
                          Is she on thyroid medication?

                          Have you considered canine hydrotherapy?


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BasqueMom View Post
                            Vet recommended Previcox and what a difference...we got a new dog!!!!
                            Our 15+ year old retired foxhound rescue is also on Previcox and its really helped the arthritis in her hindend!
                            "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle" - Winston Churchill

                            Check out Central Virginia Horse Rescue


                            • #15
                              There are several good options Adequan, adding fish oil, daily supplement, and if severe pain, Tramadol. The Previcox is great too.


                              • #16
                                Where in Canada are you?

                                Metacam is very potent, its probably one of the best anti-inflammatories you can have your dog on. Unless she is giant, 20cc seems like a LOT. Do you mean she is on a 20kg dose? (Using the dosing syringe). 20cc will kill a dog at 20kg.

                                Ployglycan and Adequan are hit and miss in dogs. Generally these are started BEFORE metacam (or NSAIDs), as the NSAIDs are better for pain. Never a harm in trying as they work synergistically with other pain meds. Oral cosequin is also a decent option.

                                Tramadol is a sythnetic opioid that can certainly assist with the metacam to keep your dog comfortable. Gabapentin is generally most sensitive towards neuropathic pain, but can help as well.

                                I would also recommend a rehab/sports medicine doctor to work with your dog. I have seen a lot of dogs feel better with accupuncture, stretches and physio. Its more for their muscles that are compensating for the pain from arthritis.

                                Dont add any other NSAID (ie. aspirin, previcox) without a full metacam washout period. There are other NSAIDs which can be tried (Previcox, Dermaxx, Rimadyl etc) but we have found most (not all) dogs respond best with appropriate dosing of metacam. And yes, metacam is often prescribed for long term palliative use.

                                Depending where the arthritis is, there are also procedures which can be done (ie. ultrasound guided IA injections, denervation) to relieve some pain.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Squish we are located near Guelph currently - and my bad the dose in the syringe is 20kg lol!

                                  We had also tried her on tramadol after a minor surgery to remove a lump we found in her abdomen and it made her hupervigilant and extremely agitated so we had to discontinue use. She does get thyroid meds and a blood test every couple months to ensure the thyroid meds are doing their thing still.

                                  I would have loved to try hydrotherapy, however she is beyond terrified of water and I don't think we could change her mind at this point lol. She has also gotten omega 369 pills in the past however after almost a year on them we didn't notice a huge difference in her.

                                  I am going to try to get her a back on track bed and see if that helps as well - I am speaking to my vet this week and we are going to try and work out a plan. I would much prefer to do a u/s guided injection rather than a blanket injection however I still need to discuss that option with my vet.

                                  Thanks for all the advice everyone - it is greatly appreciated


                                  • #18
                                    I also have an old dog with arthritis in her hind end that started after slipping on wood floors at a friend's. Some things that have helped-
                                    These- www.woodrowwear.com/power-paws/ Have made her more steady on her feet, I just put them on her hind feet. Less slipping=less re-injury
                                    Omega-Krill Oil, very concentrated O-3, so more anti- inflam. in fewer callories.
                                    A freind does Healing Touch (like TTouch I think) on her.
                                    LASER THERAPY at the vet. Very good!!!
                                    Yes, ADIQUAN does help she will start her 2nd round soon.1 shot/4 days/7 times
                                    LOSING WEIGHT! vet had us replace 1/3 of kibble with thawed frozen green beans, and carrots. Work up to 1/2 kibble replaced until desired weight
                                    WATER TREDMILL my girl also hates water but they went slow offered lots of bribes and she got use to it. It really helps. It builds muscle and helps joints have more range of motion.


                                    • #19
                                      There is a great new rehab facility at OVC, might be worth talking to one of the vets/techs there regarding muscle building therapy to help the joints out. The sessions are very reasonable and they show you at home stuff to do. Having a referral at a specialty practice (I can recommend a few in your area) to discuss management options with a boarded surgeon might be a good idea. They often are the ones prescribing pain medications to those clients whose pets are not surgical candidates.

                                      Also, the boarded rehab specialists I know find water treadmills helpful, but not moreso than a non-hydrotherapy therapies. Really, theres lots to do at home that can help. Laser and accupuncture treatments can also help the tired and stiff muscles.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        csaper58 - Those are TOO CUTE! I bought 2 sets and can't wait for them to get here!

                                        Squish - thanks for the info! Do you know if I need a referral to OVC or can I call them directly and make an appointment?