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Bridget 06-23-2014 10:25 AM

Does my dog really need a blood panel?
Heidi just started on Rimadyl for her hips and seems to be tolerating it well and it appears to be helping with her pain. In order to get more of it, the vet is insisting that a comprehensive be done, which apparently is a blood test that checks liver function and maybe other functions. Heidi is almost 13 years old and her hips are failing. Although I am trying not to dwell on it, I believe we have days or weeks, not months or years before she will need to be put down. What I am wanting to know is is this test, which I am pretty sure is expensive going to tell us anything that really matters at this point in Heidi's life? I hope I don't sound like I don't care about my dog. A couple of years ago, she had a problem, the vet suggested a complete blood panel and I gave the go ahead, no questions asked, but now...if there is a good reason for it that will change anything, then I am ok with it. That is what I am asking. Thanks.

Jax08 06-23-2014 10:28 AM

My vet has seen Rimadyl throw a dog into kidney failure. I would do it. You only need the Chem 10 which isn't that expensive.

Magwart 06-23-2014 11:18 AM

Yep, I agree. I think it's important -- *especially* in a senior. I repeated the bloodwork regularly too with my senior. You actually need to do the bloodwork at least twice. The initial blood work tells you if the liver's already weak--in which case, this isn't the drug for her. Follow-up bloodwork tells you if the liver is tolerating it well (because the values in the bloodwork are hopefully unchanged).

This helps explain it -- note the heightened risk for seniors:
And more info about why the caution with NSAIDs:
Bottom line: it's highly effective drug, and like many highly effective drugs, there are some serious side effects that affect some but not all dogs, and your vet is working to make sure dog isn't one of them, and if it is, get it onto a different pain management protocol quickly! That's a good vet, to my thinking!

Please also look into whether Adequan injections might help give your senior some more quality of life time. There are lots of threads about them here, and your vet should be able to advise if your dog is a candidate. I've seen them work wonders -- they literally gave my last senior 2 more years of mobility and happiness, and my only regret is not knowing about them sooner. They do more than mask pain--they help regenerate cartilage to cushion the joint. They don't work for all dogs, but when they do, after 3 weeks, it can be dramatic. Mine went from slowly ambling behind me on walks, with a creaky, old gait, to jogging--he had pep in his step again!

middleofnowhere 06-23-2014 11:26 AM

With Rimadyl (sp) YES. Get the blood panel.

Jax08 06-23-2014 11:33 AM


Originally Posted by Bridget (Post 5678641)
Although I am trying not to dwell on it, I believe we have days or weeks, not months or years before she will need to be put down. .

I think we're all missing this sentence here.

If you believe this is end of life care and are just making her comfortable, the I would probably not do the BW. If I saw major improvement that would make me change my mind on this, then I would take her back to get the BW done.

The organ function BW is not that expensive but if you think the money is better spent elsewhere to help her be more comfortable then that might be the better option.

kiya 06-23-2014 11:47 AM

You need the blood panel to start the meds. I just took my 11-1/2 yr old off Carpropen (generic of Rymadel) he was on it maybe 3yrs and I don't believe it was helping him. I stared giving him turmeric because I take it myself and I do think it's helping him.

Bridget 06-23-2014 11:49 AM

Thanks for the info. Jax, see that's the thing. I think the Rimadyl has greatly reduced her pain and that is why I will do whatever I have to to get it for her. However, her hips seem still the same, not improved. She still stumbles, still almost falls, etc. I think maybe I should take her to the appt. so our vet can see her (he hasn't seen her since April, and she has gone quite downhill since then; this might be part of the communication problem we are having), and before he does the blood workup, have a heart to heart. Let him know what is on my mind.

Magwart, just how costly are the Adequan injections? This is something I may ask the vet about.

Jax08 06-23-2014 12:04 PM

We didn't overdo BW with Banshee. It comes to a point that you have to ask what she is going to die from. Is it long term life saving treatment or short term quality care. Previcoxx is a much safer drug for anti-inflammatory and I would use that in a senior over rimadyl any day. It IS much more expensive though.

Magwart 06-23-2014 12:49 PM


Originally Posted by Bridget (Post 5678993)
Magwart, just how costly are the Adequan injections? This is something I may ask the vet about.

It varies widely -- and depends to some extent whether you are comfortable doing intramuscular injections yourself at home, once the vet prescribes it. I wasn't, so we had to pay to have the vet techs do the injections for me. It was $45 each. There's a vet across town who only charges $25, but the traffic was too bad for me to get over there regularly.

The usual protocol is two shots a week for 4 weeks--and you'll know by then if they're working. If so, they step down to a maintenance dose (we settled at every other week, for life; some are able to go down to once a month, but I'd be cautious about that if the arthritis is bad).

The other thing I discovered toward the end of his life was acupuncture. In his first session, the vet showed me how at the beginning if he pushed against my dog's rump, he'd sit because he had no strength in the hind end. After one 20-minute session, my old guy was solid as a rock when you pushed on his rump. He felt really good after that session. It's not long lasting (at least at first), but there was definite improvement for him. He seemed to enjoy it during treatment too (which is weird since they were sticking tiny needles in him), but I kind of got the feeling he really liked the experience. It's not inexpensive -- about $100/session here, if done by a vet who has cross-trained in "Eastern Medicine." It was part of his end-of-life care once he was diagnosed with cancer. It's another modality I really wish we'd been doing for years for the arthritis, instead of starting only after the oncologist suggested it to help him feel better.

Daisy&Lucky's Mom 06-23-2014 01:12 PM


Originally Posted by Jax08 (Post 5678665)
My vet has seen Rimadyl throw a dog into kidney failure. I would do it. You only need the Chem 10 which isn't that expensive.


Lucky when he was quite young had a significant rise in his liver enzymes w/ Rimadyl. He started on some meds for his arthrirtis but first we ran his senior panel which included a Chem 10.He has always had some liver abnormalities. Lucky is in a different position then your Heidi. I agree w/ you let her have her rest and relaxation,swimming and yummy meals. Whatever allows her to enjoy her time. The Chem 10 panel Jax spoke of would be alot less but could prevent kidney and/or liver failure due to meds. I think your idea to see your vet who knows heidi could give you some better idea of what your facing as he has known Heidi. Still sending prayers and thoughts for you and your girl. Take care.

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