Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Where's Daddy 001.jpg
Our Black Lab will be 9 this spring. He has hip dysplasia and arthritis. His hips are quite 'wide'. His 'noticeable' pain isn't daily and most of the time he's able to jump on the sofa, take the stairs, etc.

This week I noticed he will no longer 'sit' for his treats. At first I thought it was because of the new puppy (13 weeks) that tries to steal his treat but then I noticed that he'll start to sit and stop. I also noticed that when he urinates, he lifts his leg but if he really has to go for a long time, he puts his leg down.

We have a main vet and his asst. vet. One is in his 60's and one is in his 30's. Doc gave him Metacam for inflammation and pain. Young Doc said daily. Older Doc said a full dose if he seems to be in any discomfort and then 1/2 a dose morning and half evening until he seems fine OR 1/2 dose once a day depending on my discretion. A full dose makes him seem sleepy.

Once a month he gets Adequan and a laser treatment. I 'THINK' it's helping because he's only needing his Metacam the week before his laser treatment. A websearch shows Adequan should be given 2 x's a week for four weeks! Hmmmm....

The Metacam is $120 a bottle. The laser and Adequan shot is only $40 as a courtesy from my vet. I am very low income and can't afford treatments more often.
Morning World 001.jpg .

Is there anything else I can do to keep my dog stable? I love him to death!

We got the puppy to help him be more active and lose some weight. He was obese last year and has lost about 10 lbs now. The puppy is 13 lbs and bugs him a lot, but she can't reach him on the sofa or do the stairs so he escapes her when he's had enough.

Thoughts? HELP? I want him to be around and active for a very long time!

Diane
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
213 Posts
A few ideas:
1) Take an honest look at your dog's weight. Is he currently at a good weight (by which I mean normal or slightly below normal), or is he overweight still? Losing 10 lbs is great...unless he needed to lose 20-30! (I don't have an opinion based upon your photo.) If your dog is AT ALL overweight, this is THE most important thing that you can do to help him.
2) Metacam is a great medication, but is relatively expensive (in the liquid form) and in many cases doesn't have a big advantage over other, similar medications. You can also purchase Metacam as the human generic tablet (Meloxicam) relatively inexpensively from a human pharmacy. So, talk to your vet to see if your dog could be safely dosed with the tablets, or if another less expensive NSAID medication would be a possibility. He may have strong reasons for wanting to use Metacam oral liquid, or he may not, but you won't know until you ask.
3) As you mentioned, Adequan is intended to be used as a "loading dose" twice weekly for 4 weeks and then on an "as needed" basis (usually every 3-6 weeks). If you didn't do the loading dose phase, you may not be getting the full benefit from that product. FYI, your vet is giving you a screaming deal on the laser+Adequan treatments.
4) Here is a little tough love for you: Most of the older/arthritic dogs out there are significantly painful, and most owners are in total denial about how bad the situation is, mostly because they are looking for SEVERE symptoms before they think their dog is painful. If your dog is having episodes of being significantly stiff/painful, he is painful enough all of the time to benefit from regular treatment (i.e. daily). The whole business about treating "as needed" or using half doses, or only treating if you see him limping is basically a line of B.S. that all vets dispense, trying to make our client's wallets happy. So, assuming that you can afford to do so, stick with some regular therapy and your dog will be much happier.
5) You didn't mention if (or when) you had performed bloodwork on him. As you said, you want to have him around for a very long time. That being the case, keep close tabs on his overall health with labwork at least yearly and preferably every 6 months, particularly if you are using more frequent pain medications.
6) There are a great number of natural pain medications and various joint supplements that you can try that are safe and helpful (see the recent thread Natural Pain Relief Post-Surgery for some starting ideas: http://www.dogforums.com/dog-health-questions/259170-natural-pain-relief-post.html). If you haven't already explored some of these, consider doing so.
7) Assuming that it is available in your area, there is a great deal of research to show that acupuncture is beneficial for dogs such as yours. This is very safe and often not terribly expensive.
8) As a more expensive option, if it is available in your area, physical therapy can be very, very helpful in keeping dogs such as yours healthy. This modality is increasingly available and can include swimming therapy, range of motion exercises, etc. Many dogs treated this way improve their pain levels, their muscle tone, and their joint range of motion. Many of the facilities that perform physical therapy also offer acupuncture, laser therapy, ultrasound therapy, TENs treatment, massage, chiropractic therapy, etc. One of the problems with every other option discussed above is that none of them really address some of the underlying problems that come with age and arthritis: loss of muscle tone, loss of flexibility, loss of range of motion, loss of endurance, etc. While relieving pain is great, it isn't everything. Physical therapy, combined with pain control, seeks to improve the functioning of the entire musculoskeletal system in a way that is almost impossible otherwise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I'll try to answer all your questions and if I see that I've missed any, I'll come back and reply.

First, Scooter is still very overweight. He weighs 106 lbs and ideal weight for an adult male black lab is around 80 lbs. We tried changing food and limiting food but were not aware of 'fillers' and bad dog foods (believe the commercials) until a few months ago. He's now on a good dog food and only gets fed moist (1/2 can) mixed with dry of the same brand in the morning and dry at night. NO more table treats. The weight loss seems small but I felt that and increased exercise would be the safest way to go. The food cost is quite high.

We live in a tiny and very rural country type town in Georgia. When we go to the vets, there may be half a dozen horses in the front yard, a donkey and inside is usually a pet pig or two and last week, a banty hen. Our vet has a bldg across the street where he rescues animals that were to be put down just because of age or lack of room at the animal shelter and he cares for them out of his own pocket, yard sales and donations. He seeks out families willing to give them a good home til their time comes. He's a great guy.

I have not heard of P/T or acupuncture for pets. The laser treatment is something new here and I believe Doc is allowing us to be blessed with a lower cost so he can see for himself if it really works. I refused the load dosage because I could not afford to do it. Now I'm wondering if I should ask for only the Adequan for the one month 2 X's a week and if that might work out to be about the same cost as the laser and Adequan. The Adequan is only offered with laser tx at the vets but I don't see online where that is set in stone. I'm going to ask about the Adequan load dosing without the laser for the next month and see if that's something we might be able to do financially.

Scooter is NOT in a lot of pain. I watch him daily to see if he starts to go down stairs or get on the sofa and then will lay on his orthopedic dog bed instead. I know that means he's feeling discomfort and I'll give him a dosage right away. We had him on Cosequin previously and I saw zero change for $40 a month.

Scooter had a vaccine cyst on his back that was unchanged for 7 years. Late last year it opened up. He had surgery to remove that and doc did blood work at that time. He told me everything was fine. He also only charged me $260 for EVERYTHING including a teeth cleaning / ear cleaning while Scooter was under anesthesia and the follow up visits.

My husband and I are very low income. We had considered adopting another adult dog as a companion for Scooter but knew if that dog got ill, we'd be unable to afford everything they both would need so we opted for a fully vetted 9 week old 'mutt' from the Animal Shelter. Her booster shots have been expensive, but she's all set for a year now. Yes, she's been spayed! We do see Scooter running with her when they go out to potty. He's also shown interest in playing ball with her. We hope she encourages him to move around more and helps with more weight loss!

As for the Metacam, I have half a bottle left but I will talk with Doc about using something else when that runs out. I had read about Metacam prior to giving Scooter his first dose and was concerned. I refuse to take anything other than aspirin for myself and worry about 'tylenol' type drugs and liver damage.

I'll check out that link now and appreciate your help! We really love our Scooter and hope to keep him happy and with us for a long time.

Diane
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,405 Posts
I was going to suggest Cosequin Plus MSM, but it would take about 6 tablets per day for a dog his size.
Laser treatments are miracles ... for some dogs, but can take 5 - 7 treatments.
Weight is an important issue. You can go with a much less expensive brand of dry food that has reasonable quality - 4Health from Tractor Supply, Purina Pro [more expensive than plain Purina, but better quality] - In any case, feed only enough food for an 80 lb dog - the target weight, rather than for a 110 lb dog. He'll only lose about 2 - 5 lbs per week.

Can you walk him on leash for an additional 30 min. per day ... twice a day if possible?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Ah, well he's only had 3 tx's and they're once a month.

I'm using 4Health both wet and dry and feeding for his proper weight but I'm not seeing 2 - 5 lbs weight loss and I assume that's because of his laying around so much. We have almost an acre and much of that is fenced in but it's about a 45° slope UP and has tree roots and rocks. We rake up the rocks, it rains and more rocks appear. The only semi flat area with grass is about 10' X 30' up against the fence line. So, he walks.

I used to walk him in our neighborhood but over half the homes went into foreclosure and it's no longer safe. A group of teens got involved with a gang out of Atlanta and just a few weeks ago beat a woman younger than me in the head and face with a pistol until she was near death, 'just because'. Also, the street over from me, 1 dog and 4 cats were poisoned last week. A 2nd dog died after going out in his front yard, came in blinded, screaming in pain, staggering ..... a necropsy is being done on the last dog that died. We can't move because our home (of 15 years) is worth half what we paid for it and less than we owe. My Dec. paycheck was stolen from my mailbox and cashed at one of those check cashing places. It's just bad all around.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,405 Posts
Sounds like a tough situation. If you can't exercise him more, then you might lower his food by an extra 10% to see if that helps with weight loss.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks! I talked with my vet today about doing the Adequan 2 x's a week for four weeks at the reduced cost and they agreed. The info on the internet said he needed a 'loading dose' (as the Vet above mentioned) and he didn't get that because of cost. They'll let me work out a payment arrangement if necessary.

He IS getting more exercise in the last month since we got the puppy. She won't let him lay around all day and when we play ball with her, he wants to play, too. I do expect to see some weight loss by time he's weighed again at the vet's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Scooter had shot number 6 yesterday and threw up twice as soon as we got home. He also threw up once late this afternoon. I tried to search and was finding conflicting info then asked on a VET ? site where it was recommended that I stop the shots. THEN I found the Novartis information page which says

Adequan® Canine (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan)
Adequan® Canine (polysulfated glycosamioglycan or PSGAG) should not be used in dogs who are hypersensitive to PSGAG or who have a known or suspected bleeding disorder. It should be used with caution in dogs with renal or hepatic impairment. Possible side effects (pain at injection site, vomiting, diarrhea, depression and abnormal bleeding) were mild, transient and self-limiting. Safety studies of PSGAG in breeding, pregnant or lactating dogs have not been conducted.

I called Novartis and their vets had all left for the day but the young lady said one will call me first thing Monday morning and not to get another shot until I hear from them. Scooter is set for an injection Monday at 10:20 but I'll wait for that call.

Any thoughts?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,405 Posts
This now crosses over to a Vet question, b/c vomiting can be a serious side effect, or it can be a simple motion sickness issue. I think you can wait to hear from Novartis, as well as discuss with your Vet.

"It should be used with caution in dogs with renal or hepatic impairment." This type of statement makes me want to be careful, b/c kidney and liver problems can get serious quickly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
321 Posts
Hi Diane,
I hear you about not wanting to walk in your neighborhood. If you have a car, though, you could drive to a safer neighborhood and walk there. I don't live in an unsafe neighborhood, but I still do this often just for a change of scenery for my dogs and me. They enjoy exploring new territory.

Regular walking, at his own pace with lots of time for sniffing, especially on non-paved surfaces should be good for your boy. Helps to keep those joints lubricated. Not to mention it's very good for a dog's mental health and happiness!

If you eat bone-in chicken regularly, you could make homemade bone broth for your dog basically for free. Won't take the place of more serious treatment, but the broth has many wonderful nutrients for joint health. Just save your chicken bones in the freezer until you have enough to fill a big saucepan and simmer them with a splash of vinegar. You can also ask friends to save their bones for you. You could simmer for a few hours, all day and all night or anything in between, remove bones, and strain through a mesh strainer. Scooter will enjoy this (it's truly delicious) added to his food. If you happen to have a pressure cooker, you can make the broth in an hour or two, and it will be as high quality as if you had simmered it for 24 hours (not to mention use a lot less electricity). The sign of a fine broth is if it gels in the fridge after chilling overnight. The broth can be frozen in dixie cups or ice cube trays and thawed so that he gets some each day.

Good luck, I certainly understand why you want Scooter around as long as possible. I have a 5 y/o black lab and I feel the same way, although mine is still very puppy-like, but with just the faintest sprinkle of gray around his whiskers. Seeing that tiny bit of gray always puts a lump in my throat. I will reiterate what others have said about helping Scooter to continue his weight loss. Best single thing you can possibly do for those older joints.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
265 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks Kudzu! I make my own stock and we have roast chicken or turkey quite often. That's an awesome idea! I de-fat it for us. I have a huge and a smaller slow cooker so use that instead of my gas stove. I'm confused about the splash of vinegar, tho. What's that for?

I currently do not have a car. We had 2 old cars and my husband's car broke and we sold it to someone who could fix it themselves. The whole steering column needed replacing and the dealership wanted $600 minimum on a 1997 car with over 200,000 miles. Jim's taking my 2003 VUE. He works about 30 minutes from here and is gone from 7 a.m. til around 5 p.m. We're in a very country area with winding roads, 2 lanes and animals are not allowed in our little city park. I'm walking around the back of our property with him and the puppy but it's steep and if you know Georgia, every time it rains, rocks come out of the ground! We've been picking up rocks for 15 years and one rainfall exposes a thousand more. I have gotten his weight down 14 lbs in less than a year, tho!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
One thing that has really helped me with Shiloh's meds is using goodrx.com. One of his seizure meds that I can get at Walmart would normally run around $120, with the goodrx discount it costs $30. It's a free program, you don't have to enter any personal information other than your address. Might be worth checking into. There are other discount sites, but goodrx has been the least expensive for the prescriptions Shiloh can get from a regular pharmacy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,405 Posts
>>> the splash of vinegar, tho. What's that for?

I speculate that the vinegar would help to dissolve the bones. Not sure if that helps, but shouldn't hurt.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top