i need help to understand what my ozzy is going through and what options are out there for him (with arthritis) other than meloxicam!!!! hes only just turning 9 and has always played and run and been full of life ...my private vet put me onto the pdsa 4 hip xrays but they told me that his knees were also gone and that xrays and ops were not worth while!!!!!!!! he limps but seems happy with meloxicam, but reduces me to tears when i let him in garden to play and his back end sways to the point he keeps falling over and cant walk in a straight line!!!!!
I have split out your posts into a new topic. Hopefully others with experience can share some suggestions or advice for your Ozzy. Joint problems in our seniors are SO frustrating. I have my Lilibit on Pet Food Organics Joint Support (http://www.petsuperfood.com/products/joints/)for her bad knees - my sister's dog with hip dysplasia was able to be taken completely off Rimadyl after switching to this, but your mileage may vary as they say,and a variety of suggestions may help you discuss some options with your vet (or another - never be afraid to seek out a second opinion or specialist).
~Molly Lilibit - serendipitous stray * Opal - hound x goat * Clara - my best mistake Phoenix Rising Border Collie Rescue * www.PRBCR.org
I agree with Molly; this aspect of seniors' lives is tough to see and can be difficult to manage. In addition to diet and supplements, another thing you might consider is acupuncture. It made a ton of difference for Ody, allowing us to take him off Rimadyl entirely even at ages 14-15.
My vet, who has been offering acupuncture for several years, reports generally good results with it as an arthritis treatment...but, of course, there is no way to know until you try. Also, there is a "loading" period--Ody had 2 appointments per week for, I believe, 4 weeks--before scaling back to a maintenance routine of each week or two.
Best wishes finding the right combination of treatments for Ozzy.
Angie and Spirit (8, BC/pyr) & Huckleberry (8, beagle) William (1993-2006), Kate (1995-2008), Johnson (1998?-2011), Odysseus (1996-2012), & Mildred (2002?-2012)
You have a number of "natural" options that are going to be supportive of joint health. The natural options I recommend can be used as AN ALTERNATIVE TO or IN CONJUNCTION WITH surgical and pharmaceutical options.
Molly mentioned diet. That is THE most important supportive upgrade you can make to help an older, (structurally) ailing dog or to keep a young dog structurally sound for as many years as possible. I feed my little girl a raw diet. She gets raw, meaty bones, raw, green tripe (stomach lining of cows), and a few supps that are specific for joint health, either as building blocks for collagen or that are anti-inflammatory in nature. If you didn't want to change your dog's diet that much, I'd recommend that you find an ethnic supermarket (either Spanish or Oriental), and buy chicken feet and chicken necks and start feeding them to your dog on a daily basis. Chicken necks or turkey necks have the PERFECT calcium to phospherous ratio. The chicken feet are high in collagen (a group of naturally occurring proteins found in animals, especially in the flesh and connective tissues of vertebrates). Collagen is a component (building block) of tendons, ligaments and joints. Very, very important.
Note: If you ADD chicken necks to your dog's diet, you will need to REDUCE the amount of food you are currently feeding your dog by an equivalent amount. Otherwise, you will find that your dog will gain weight.
The raw, meaty bones and chicken feet you give your dog will provide him with TONS of chewing, crunching pleasure. It will also whiten his teeth and keep his gums healthy. And what a lot of people don't realize is there is a very strong relationship between DENTAL health and CARDIOVASCULAR health.
For anyone wanting to upgrade their dog's diet to raw meaty bones, do a Google search on "raw meaty bones" + "Ian Billinghurst" or "Tom Lonsdale." Both are veterinarians, and sources I respect highly.
Still on the subject of diet, take a look at the ingredients in your dog's food. Make sure that corn is not at the top of the list of ingredients. The oil found in corn is PRO-inflammatory. The less corn (oil) in your dog's diet, the better! To optimize and improve the ratio of Omega 3 (anti-inflammatory) to Omega 6 (pro-inflammatory) fatty acids in your dog's diet, buy some fish oil capsule's at Walmart and add it to your dog's diet. My little girl is 33 lbs, and I give her 5 capsules (5 grams) per day. It costs about $6 for 200 capsules. Buy the non-enteric coated capsules because they're cheaper. Make sure you refrigerate the fish oil after you buy it. Niki, my little BC girl, won't eat the fish oil capsules when I add them whole to her dog food, so I carefully bite the end of each capsule, squeeze, and mix it into her food.
Next on the list of natural, supportive supplements for joint health, I'd recommend adding MSM (a natural, bioavailable form of sulfur). MSM is included into pretty much ALL osteoarthritis supplements on the market. It's good for dogs and good for people. MSM is a wonder supp. I think all people and all dogs should be taking MSM. If you (or your dog) suffer from environmental allergies, MSM is more efffective than any pharmaceutical option on the market!!! MSM is good for skin, nails, hair, joints, liver function, brain function. I buy mine in bulk, 5 pounds at a time, from http://www.msm-msm.com. It's about $12 a pound.
I know we're talking about supps for joint health, but let me tell you a story about MSM and allergies. Years ago I had a boss that moved from Oregon to San Diego because his allergies were so bad. The move didn't help. He had laser surgery done on one nostril, trying to correct his allergies. The surgery didn't help. He had a prescription for allergies, but it drugged him up so bad and made his brain so foggy, he hated taking it. He was constantly running to the bathroom, blowing and blowing and blowing his nose. I asked him to buy some MSM and try taking it, to see if it would help. He took his first dose at dinner, as I suggested. The next day he came in and told me he was improved, but that it COULDN'T be the MSM, that he probably had had a cold on top of his allergies, and that the cold was getting better. I smiled and told him to just keep doing what he was doing and time would tell. He started taking the MSM faithfully, as recommended (twice a day), and every day he would check in and tell me how his allergies were getting better and better, and that he had to finally admit it was helping. He's living happily ever after, allergy free!
So repeating, MSM is VERY good for joints, but it's also good for skin, hair, allergies, liver detoxification and cellular detoxification. I think it's the sixth most common substance in the body. And to top it off, MSM is anti-inflammatory. If you'd like to do more research on MSM, do a Google search on ...
Make sure you put in the quotes where I put the quotes, which is how you do a phrase search on Google. The word "OR" needs to be ALL CAPS or else it will be ignored instead of treated as a Boolean operator. The plus sign is not necessary (i.e., it can be left out).
How much MSM? I buy my MSM in bulk, crystals, not capsules, because it's cheaper that way. For myself, I use a level teaspoon (5 grams) once or twice a day. I put it on my tongue and slug down some water. It's not something that tastes good, but I swallow the teaspoon-ful just like I do pills. Niki's joints are in pretty good shape (now). At 33 pounds, I only give her a heaping 1/4 teaspoon, once a day, mixed into a little yogurt. I'd probably give her a second dose if her joints were in bad shape.
When Niki joined our family in August of 2011, I took her to the vet for an examination. I was told by 2 different vets that she had a luxating patella. The patella is the kneecap. Luxating means that the kneecap can be manually moved out of the groove in which it travels. Subluxating means that kneecap no longer resides and moves within the groove it's supposed to travel. A subluxating patella requires surgery to correct. I could have gotten the surgery done on the cheap at about $900. The orthopedic surgeon we would have used for Niki, though, would have run $2,000. Let's just say I was *highly* motivated to correct the problem if at all possible. One year later the knee no longer luxates. I had x-rays taken and an orthopedic evaluation, and Niki is a Class 1/2, which is a number the orthopedic surgeon made up to tell me she's not even a Class 1.
I credit the improvement to her young age, a high-quality diet, anti-inflammatory and tendon-, ligament- and joint-supportive supplements, and *LIGHT* exercise. Niki is a lower-energy border collie. When she came to us, she was heart worm positive. That was another thing we addressed (corrected) over the past year. But it was another reason we chose to UNDER-exercise her. We went for lots of walks, did a LITTLE throwing of balls, not much, some tugging.
Another highly regarded anti-inflammatory supp that I added into Niki's diet was turmeric. Again, do a Google search on ...
Not only is turmeric good for people and/or dogs suffering from osteoarthritis, it's good for brain function. It is protective against bowel related cancers and pancreatic cancer. I buy my organic turmeric from http://www.mountainroseherbs.com. To make it more bio-available, I make a paste out of it. In India, they make something called "Golden Milk" by adding turmeric to milk and boiling it gently for about 8 minutes. They also add a little bit of ghee (clarified butter) or oil. The fat and and the heat (boiling) make it more absorbable/available to the body. What *I* do is add about 1/3 cup of turmeric powder to a pot and add enough water to make a watery paste. I turn the heat on to medium and allow it simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly and adding water as needed. After that, I put it into a Mason jar, into the refrigerator. How much? I add 1/4 teaspoon (rounded), mixed into Niki's food once daily. Again, Niki weighs 33 pounds. If she weighed 60 pounds, I would double that amount. Even though turmeric has a whole host of health benefits, it's just FOOD, and you can raise or lower the amount as you see fit. It's not like a prescription or OTC drug that's bad for you if you take too much.
I'm not using it with Niki, but considering your situation, there's another supplement you could add to your dog's diet. Aloe bitters are used around the world for constipation and arthritis. Father Zago (a Franciscan monk) in Brazil got a recipe from the people there that is *wonderfully* helpful with an amazing number of health problems, including cancer. It's a simple recipe, made with only 3 ingredients: whole aloe leaf, raw, unfiltered honey (*NOT* heat treated), and a small amount of distillate like vodka. I made the formula for a friend of mine that had cancer in the lower bowel. She took it in conjunction with chemotherapy. Her doctors were amazed at how well she did, though she never really admitted that she was taking the formula. I also made the formula for a dog who had prostate cancer and who was dying (hadn't eaten for 8 days, wouldn't go to the bathroom, couldn't/wouldn't walk). He was a tiny thing, only 10 pounds, so he was only getting 1 mL in syringe 3 or 4 times a day. But his owner told me that it was like she had given him Red Bull (an energy drink), that he started eating, going to the bathroom and that she took him for his first walk in a month, out in the sunshine, by the lake, through the grass, sniffing and smelling. Even though he still has cancer, he's doing amazingly well, and I continue to make the formula for her.
For anyone who's interested, I'll send you the recipe and recommend an amount based on your dog's weight. And as always, I recommend a Google search ...
. . . . . Zago aloe (you or your dog's health issue here)
Please do not buy an aloe gel or juice in the health food store. The constituents that help with arthritis are found in the green portion of the leaf, not the gel portion. The whole leaf needs to be used.
Exercise. The best, most supportive exercise there is for a dog with structural or joint issues is SWIMMING!!! If you live up North, where it really gets cold, you need to find an indoor swimming pool. Put an ad on CraigsList and see if you can't work out some kind of trade, where someone with an indoor or heated swimming pool might let you use it for your arthritic or structurally compromised dog. You could put an ad up on the bulletin board in health food stores. I'd put an ad up in pet stores and veterinarians' offices. Talk to everyone. Recruit your friends.
Ttouch. And no, that's not a typo. It's short for Tellington Touch. Ttouch is a type of bodywork that you do on/for your dog. You make tiny little circles with your hands on their body. Ttouch has been used on dogs, horses, feral cats, coyotes, elephants. It is amazingly helpful as it relates to behavior issues, and I've used it on Niki with great success. But it's not just used for behavior issues. It can be used to comfort animals in pain or that are dying. I can't say enough about Ttouch. It's something that ANYONE can learn on their own if they're willing to buy a couple of books and do some reading. There are even Ttouch videos that are available.
And finally, state of mind is everything. No matter how old or frail or structurally compromised your dog is, get outside and allow him to watch the squirrels and butterflies and birds. Allow him to smell the smells. If he can't be physically active, challenge him mentally with games. Clicker training is fun and keeps a dog's mind active. It can be used/started at any age.
Okay, those are some of my thoughts on the subject. Questions? (grin)