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ChickenKitten 08-30-2014 05:36 PM

Arthritis help

I have made posts on this forum before, but it was many years ago now. Unfortunately my life has kept me busy and I haven't had as much time to devote to keeping up on reading the forum (I did read more then I posted).

Here is a link to my GSD's (Mona) story:

I will attempt to keep my story short and to the point, but I make no promises :P

My wonderful Mona turned 10 years old this year. She acts youthful most of the time, so I have to remind myself she is a senior citizen. She still runs around like a fool. She never seems to have 'off' or sore days, which I expected since she broke her pelvis and it healed naturally without any medical intervention (so it really looks impaired on xrays). She has never been on any supplements or products for arthritis.

Her liver values were off a few months ago. I elected to xray in order to see if her liver seemed enlarged. Although we discovered her liver appeared healthy, her back had some brutal arthritis. I'll post a photo later, but it looks as though she should be in a lot of pain. She must have been hiding it well, as I hadn't noticed anything. No pain, nor any limitations in her movements.

Now, I'm considering putting her on medication to help alleviate her presumed pain and do the best I can to slow its progress.

I've considered putting her on short term metacam to use on days where it should be hurting her (because, again, she wouldn't let me know, however I figure if I'm hurting due to air pressure changes, then she should be too), however, she isn't a good candidate due to her elevated liver values.

The vets (I work at a vet clinic, so I have picked everybody's brain about it) have suggested a few different products, although it seems like no one has glowing reviews about any product. Everyone just looks on what is on the shelf and recommends something that is in stock.

A vet has recommended a cartrophen injection, which I'm not adverse to, as long as I see benefits for what I'm paying. Additionally, I do have access to a laser therapy machine, which I have seen amazing results with other dogs. That being said, she isn't a sit still for 20 minutes type of dog, so I'm not sure if it would be the best thing for her.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and please let me know if you have any suggestions or opinions :)

readaboutdogs 08-30-2014 06:00 PM

The adequan shots helped a lot with Clipper. He was twelve when I started them. The loading dose part is kinda expensive, but then once a month. I wish I'd learned about them sooner, I read about it on here. They worked pretty quickly. They were like $40 a shot, based on his size.

Magwart 08-31-2014 07:21 PM

I'm not sure if Adequan helps spinal arthritis as much as joint arthritis. It goes into the synovial fluid, so it's possible it might help lubricate the discs too. I'm just not sure.

In terms of supplements, a high dose of fish oil is a no-brainer (my senior was getting at least 4,000 mg toward the end, divided in two doses), with Natural Vitamin E (mixed tocopherol) to balance it out. The fish oil is a natural anti-inflammatory.

There are several threads here about supplements for arthritis that you can find -- in particular, look for the threads about Natural Eggshell Membrane and Ester-C, as there are links to some research.

Dasaquin helped one foster of mine who had lots of old, arthritic spinal stuff going on. I think it's also an easy one to try, as you should have access to it at the clinic.

I would definitely do laser therapy, if you have access. I'd also try some acupuncture, as I've seen some wonderful results in dogs with it, when it's done by a skilled vet-acupuncturist.

With wonky liver values, I'd be very, very cautious with NSAIDs (esp. carprofen), but I'm sure your vet has discussed this with you. You might discuss with your vet gabapentin or tramadol as options - and perhaps even get a consulation with a vet hepatologist at a research university to discuss pain management in a dog with liver problems. I think I'd want a specialist advising, if there's impaired liver function.

Smithie86 08-31-2014 08:57 PM

I was going to recommend talking to Magwart :-)

Magwart 09-01-2014 01:31 AM

There's a recipe from Gatorbytes in one of those old threads too for her chicken bone broth. The broth extracts loads of type II collagen from the carcasses -- type II collagen is rich in hyaluronic acid (excellent for joints). You can also buy it as a supplement (I gave it along with the Natural Eggshell Membrane -- NEM in the AM, Collegen II in the PM, as they work very similarly).

ChickenKitten 09-01-2014 12:43 PM

Thank you for all the information! You have given me more to read and consider :)

As far as Adequan, I'm in Canada and for some reason it is hard to get a hold of right now. It has been back ordered from our supplier for the past year.

I'm going to be retesting her blood sometime this week. I first checked in June and they were around 3 times normal. I did it again in July and they were double normal values. The working theory right now is that the liver reacted due to living next to a soy bean field and the farmer had sprayed it to reduce weed growth. I'm hoping that her liver will have normalized and I would be limited to options to keep her comfortable and thriving.

Again, thanks for your help!

45yearsofGSDs 09-01-2014 01:32 PM

After Sadie had her first exam with Dr. Mark, he said she has degenerative joint disease in her knees. No hip or spine issues, just very, very crunchy knees. I've been giving her Cosequin now for about 3 years and she's doing very well. I can't say she runs and plays like a young dog, but maybe a 8 or 9 year old and she doesn't cry anymore from the pain she use to experience. She's 13 now and shows limited signs of her disability. Dr. Mark says keep giving the Cosequin as it seems to be beneficial. It's only $20 at Walmart and could be worthwhile for both. Just my 2 cents :)

Momto2GSDs 09-01-2014 05:20 PM

Below are some natural alternatives.

The Zeel can be used along with the supplement and oil.

Have you tried Chiropractic's and Acupuncture? It sure helped our past dog.

Zeel: Zeel 100 Tablets This is a homeopathic so give it away from food or water about 20 minutes on each side. 4 tablets can be given several times per day if situation is acute. Place the tablets inside their lip and it dissolves and absorbs into the mouth tissues.
Zeel: . In a study comparing Zeel, an anti-inflammatory homotoxicology agent, with a conventional nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, investigators found similar outcomes in tested groups with the Zeel group taking slightly longer to reach its effect BUT not having significant, or the life threatening/adverse effects of drugs.A recent paper, published in the prestigious Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association supports its use in dogs.

"Inflapotion™ is an all natural herbal remedy that reduces discomfort and minimizes body inflammations. We've had reports that dogs are no longer needing prescriptions. It works, in most cases, in less than 48 hours. This formula continues to help relieve symptoms such as; general age discomfort, inflammation and indefinitely for long term chronic problems such as Arthritis, hip dysplasia." Inflapotion(TM) ~ Natural Anti-Inflammatory for Joint Pain ~ 6oz powder Pouch Ingredients:
Althea officinalis, Trifolium pratense, Echinacea purpurea, Ulmus fulva, Symphytum officinale

You can also add a high quality Salmon or Krill Oil which is an excellent source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which reduces inflammation and provides other body benefits. Be sure to begin with reduced amounts and work up slowly, taking a week or two, to avoid bad gut reaction. You can even rotate between the two oils to reap the benefits of both oils.

Krill: Dr. Mercola, Krill Oil, 100% Pure Antarctic, for Pets, 3.92 fl oz (116 ml) -
Salmon: The Wholistic Pet

Hope she feels better soon!

Magwart 09-01-2014 06:34 PM

I would be very cautious with herbal blends unless they are cleared by a vet hepatologist. Natural doesn't always mean easy on the liver. With a liver-impaired dog, tinctures extracted with alcohol are a no-no. You also need to research herb side effects carefully, if you aren't working with a holistic vet.

Research every ingredient in any multi-herb preparations before giving them. For example, Althea officinalis (marshmallow) also contains cancer growth factors, so you have to be totally sure there's no cancer in an older dog -- and that's really hard with a GSD (where hemangio and other cancers go undetected in seniors so often):
Marshmallow Benefits & Information (Althaea)

A google search of another ingredient, red clover (
Trifolium pratense), turns up a claim that it is a liver detoxifier in Chinese medicine -- I would be extremely hesitant to use that with a liver impaired dog, without an expert's guidance.

I didn't google all the ingredients, but I want to highlight that even with natural remedies, you must do a lot of research and talking with your vet. My vet was my partner in considering every supplement we added to the regimen--I think it's critical that you involve yours too, given your dog's history of liver problems.

kiya 09-03-2014 03:32 PM

I took my almost 12yr old off pain meds and have been giving him turmeric since June, he has the some of the worst arthritis my vet has seen. Every night when I come home from work he wants to play. The only other thing he gets is Adaquan injections every 3 weeks. I use turmeric in the spice form not suppliment form.

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