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Discussion Starter #1
Just took in an old girl a family was giving away. Her name is Bora, I'm told she is a Czech GSD, bought for breeding for police work but could not carry to term so she was fixed and sent away. Supposed to have a long family tree of police dogs. She must be from a healthy line to have made it this far and be in this condition, still being as vibrant as she is.

The family I got her from only had her a few years, fed her Ol Roy and never trimmed her feet. She is something around 11 or 12 years old. Very hard time walking. I trimmed her nails some but it's going to take a while to get them down to healthy lengths. She is now eating sportmix wholesomes, no wheat, corn or soy. My old aussie is doing great on this. I'm hoping Bora will shed some pounds as Hana did. She's fat, as stated and she is easily twice the size of my aussie but her arms are about the same size, there's no muscle there, her hind legs are so weak and she knuckles sometimes, which I'm sure it doesn't help that her nails are so long. She wants to play, wrestle and get the ball. It's so sad.

I just wanted to share our story here, this is day 2 of having her in the family. I wonder if at this age I can reverse any of this and at least have her walk more and more comfortably. Can I build muscle in a dog this old? I know it will help for her to lose some of that tubby tub. She is taking 3 cosequin a day too. Makes of world of difference for my aussie who has arthritis in her spine.
 

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What a beautiful old girl, I love her! Bravo to you for
taking her.

I'm no expert but with a bit of time I think she can come back
and be MUCH healthier. Just don't try to do it too fast. Is
there any place you could take her to swim when the weather
is nice?

Hopefully others will get on here with better advice for you.
 

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It's not so sad, its great that you took her in and will provide her with proper care. Good food in the right amount combined with exercise and she'll probably feel much better. Besides being overweight, she looks good, thanks for welcoming her into your home.
 

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Losing weight will be a huge help to her joints. It will also help her stamina. I would just encourage her to move more at this point and gradually build up .. if she likes playing ball ... play a little fetch .. going just a bit longer each day, that sort of thing. She's a really beautiful dog.
 

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OMG! Thank you so much for taking in this beautiful girl! I'm thinking that you are on the right track. What ever you do should probably be on a gradual basis. I like the swimming idea (low impact).
I'm sure you have made her very happy - you should be proud!!
:)
 

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Thanks for adopting this pretty girl! I love to see a senior get adopted, just warms my heart!! Cant wait to see how she progresses :blush:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
First off let me say I really appreciate your support. There's not a whole lot of people that want to listen to me talk about canine health all day. Not a lot of people who care at all around here.

I know it's early to look for improvement but I did notice something today when I got home and took her out to potty that just blew my mind. This is only day 3 of her being with me, tonight.... wait for it.... she actually squatted to do her business! A full on squat! Three times! When previously she barely squatted at all, you could see it a little but it was mostly the position of her tail that told me if she was getting ready to potty. I think she is getting stronger.

We walked around for a little bit, she's very fast but unsteady, I hear her feet scrape and she knuckles occasionally. We came back in and she stood at the food bowl to eat, I supported her rear a little bit for that because she was exhausted. I could see her start to tire as we walked, she started 'pushing' her steps more, hard to explain but I could see her working harder to stay up. Once we got to the steps, 3 small steps, she dropped to her rear on the first one. I held her in a sit and cuddled and spoke to her for a minute then got her back up and up she went. Anyway, back to the food bowl, as I was holding her I felt her legs. I noticed it yesterday but today I really got a feel for how little muscle is actually there, even standing there is flab on the backs of her legs, no firm muscle to speak of. It feels a lot like the flab of a belly paunch in old tubby dogs. It feels dangly.

If I didn't know better I would think she was shut in a room all day. She spends most of her time laying down and I know she hates it, she wants up and loves being outside. When I'm home I take her out for short walks around the yard, let her rest, rinse and repeat. When she wants up again she whines and gets restless. I won't push her. If I can say anything at all about myself it's that I know doggy language pretty well. She gave me the happy face yesterday as we were all, (Me and my 7 other pooches) just chilling in the yard, the goofballs run and play while I'm walking Bora around. We were sitting in the grass just spending time and she looked at me with that special look they get when they are just happy to be with you. I even got some sunburn because this is what we do all day when I'm off work.

I thought about the swimming thing too, I just have this big problem that I'm almost 27 and phobic of driving.. I know, I'm ashamed. I'm trying though, I have a car, tagged and insured. I have a permit. But I hate hate hate driving. It makes me panic. Silly I know, I keep snakes and even breed them occasionally, spiders don't bother me, driving does. I can only think of one place around here I could take her to swim and it costs to get in the gates. We just bought a place and should be moving this coming week, money is tight. I do have a pond dug out on the property, really good size, I'll have to fix it up and fill it. If I can do that soon it would be great.

One more thing, she whined the first night, started to whine last night at bed time, I looked and she was on her bed staring at me. I told her good night and it's okay, we're right here. She slept soundly all night. It makes me happy to think that she is happy here.
 

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What a lovely old girl :wub:

With the knuckling, weakness, and muscle loss, have you considered whether she might have something like degenerative myelopathy?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thought about it, it's a possibility for sure and I hope to get her to the vet in a few days. Mostly though, at her age, I figured it's probably arthritis and simply not enough exercise. The way she walks and the weakness in her legs is so similar to what happened to my aussie. She was running then suddenly screaming and can't walk, her hind limbs were pretty useless. Had her rushed to the vet and x rayed. Turns out she had arthritis in her back pretty bad but after two weeks she was up walking again, she has weakness, gets stuck on stairs and falls on her rump occasionally but she even runs again. Her breaks aren't so good so our games of fetch are a lot easier, she almost always ends up on her rump when she reaches the ball and tries to stop and pick it up.

I just want to see Bora walk like Hana. Hana isn't perfect but she is mobile enough and happy. I hate to see Bora sitting and whining for attention and to be gotten up for a walk.
 

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What a great story. Looking forward to your experiences down the road. Please take it easy and alternate active days with more calmer days to allow her body to recover from the exercise it is not used to. Are you working with a vet? How are her teeth? Bad teeth will affect her health as well.
Good luck with her, I think she is a beautiful dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My Fiance is home with her while I'm at work, with my schedule we do get to alternate pretty well as far as her activity, he pretty much just takes her out to potty. This is only day 3.
Her teeth are still there, some are chipped and they are dirty. She loves chewing though, today I spent about a total of 2 hours trying to find her some chews that are soft enough for her old teeth but strong enough to help clean them and healthy enough to not add to her weight problem. I settled on some Dental Busy bones (mostly because Hana loves them) and they are fairly low fat. And some Nylabone Snackin' bones because no added salts and sugar. I know from my 18 year old pom mix (RIP my puppy) that added salt should be avoided for fluid build up around the heart.
I simply can't afford a bag of Greenies for a dog this size with 7 other various pups. I try to be fair to them but pander to their needs. Strong chewers, nibblers etc. Petsmart didn't help at all. I do wonder if one of those dental water additives would help.
 

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today I spent about a total of 2 hours trying to find her some chews that are soft enough for her old teeth but strong enough to help clean them and healthy enough to not add to her weight problem. I settled on some Dental Busy bones (mostly because Hana loves them) and they are fairly low fat. And some Nylabone Snackin' bones because no added salts and sugar. I know from my 18 year old pom mix (RIP my puppy) that added salt should be avoided for fluid build up around the heart.
I simply can't afford a bag of Greenies for a dog this size with 7 other various pups. I try to be fair to them but pander to their needs. Strong chewers, nibblers etc. Petsmart didn't help at all. I do wonder if one of those dental water additives would help.[/QU.OTE]

Consider raw chicken wings; soft bones and healthy for her. Never cook them. Start with one a day to get her sysytem used to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Psh. I used to do raw drumsticks when Kaya was tiny. Why didn't I think of that. So far she's already had a big protein boost being put on my food rather than that cheap corn junk, still has healthy poops. I'll have to start doing the raw treats again. Thank you for bringing that up. I get so worried and carried away I forget simple things. The whole protein being bad for kidneys in seniors has been debunked right? Just lower protein for those with actual kidney problems?
 

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Chicken necks, turkey necks, and raw beef trachea would be great as these have glucosamine and would also be good for her joints
 

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Bless you for giving this old girl a good home! Seniors are my absolute favorite to foster -- and they've meant the most to me personally in rescue.

Some thoughts about things that will help her nutritionally:

-Coconut oil (raw, organic, extra-virgin, hexane free)-start with about 1/2 t. and work your way up to about a T with each meal, over a few weeks. It's great for the coat, skin, and all sorts of other things. You can get it economically from Costco ($16 for 54 oz.) or Vitacost.com (the Vitacost brand is very good). Too much, too fast gives them the runs, so take it slowly.

-B-Complex 50 (I think all seniors should be on it, 1xday)--I saw huge improvement in cognitive function and energy level after about a week on this with one of my fosters. Brand doesn't matter -- buying it when it's buy-one-get-one-free at the drugstore chains, with coupons, can make this very inexpensive.

-Ester-C (for joints - at least 1,000 mg/day)--I buy the human form, when it's buy-one-get-one-free at the drugstore chains, and there are often high-value coupons online bringing the cost down further. Use this form for absorbability though, not cheaper forms of C (which can irritate the tummy).

-Fish Oil (for joints) - start with 1,000 mg/day, but head up to 2,000 in a couple of weeks (and maybe even eventually up to 4,000, split between 2 meals). You want a big dose for anti-inflammatory effects for the joints. I buy this at Costco (human grade). Sam's Club would be good too. Talk with your vet about this one -- many vets are becoming aware of this supplement and starting to be conversant in doseage recommendations.

-Vitamin E (necessary if you use large doses of Fish Oil supplements, to balance): all-natural mixed tocopherol type (I use 400 mg, once a day, or every other day). Unfortunately, the drugstore chains don't sell the mixed tocopherol E. I order this online from Vitacost.com. Avoid the synthetic E (tocopheryl).

-Natural Eggshell Membrane (NEM) - the most underrated, useful senior supplement for joints; it's expensive, but worth it (buy online). I've posted many times about this here on the forum, as have others -- the proof is in the pudding in how much it helps. I buy this from Vitacost.com -- it's around $17 for a 30-day supply.

-Dasaquin (from vets) -- I've seen great results from this supplement; it's pricey, but it works. This is a pricey supplement, but it works better than other glucosamine options I've tried, and I saw great results for a senior with back issues.

For treats, for seniors opt for dried beef tracheas (available as rolls or chips from BestBullySticks.com -- a bag of the chips is very economical)--great source of natural chondroitin

Lastly, for back pain, please see if there's a vet acupuncturist in your area. I wish I had started the acupuncture earlier in my senior, after I saw how profoundly it helped him.
 

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Kiddie pool

It is a fine thing you are doing for this old girl. Thank you.
I have found in the past for my seniors that a kiddie pool with just enough water to keep them buoyant seems to help. My WG/Czech WL was a great swimmer and as a senior he would lie down in the pool for long periods of time. He used it the most out all my GSDs. Besides cooling him down I am sure it made his old bones comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Magwart thank you! I do give fish oil, the kind for people. Coconut oil is something that keeps slipping my mind but I have looked into it. I was not aware egg shell membrane could be bought in a supplement form though I have read about the benefits of it. I started her on a senior vitamin supplement today I used to keep all of my dusty old pups on, it has a good boost of B vitamin and I don't know if that's what did it but she was a whole different dog today. I will definitely look into your suggestions, especially after her nonsense today.

Bora is up on her feet so much more, barked at me and threw a fit for the ball I was throwing for my other girls. I could have thrown a party just for that. Played some tug with a foam retriever toy and was just full of beans today. Following me and just being up and about. I worked on her toes a little more today as well, slowly getting them trimmed down.

I need to record video of her walking, she doesn't seem to knuckle as much as she did, she actually 'ran' about seven feet to grab the ball that bounced out of her mouth, she skidded and landed on her butt. I wasn't trying to make her chase, I just toss it to her to catch and let her bite it and squish it for a while. Her right hind leg seems to be quite a bit weaker than the left. Very similar to my aussie but opposite sides.

Her saliva, and I know it's weird, isn't so thick and stringy though she wasn't dehydrated. What would cause that? With all the chewing she's done since I got her it seems her teeth are just a little bit cleaner, maybe it's just the saliva thing, her mouth was gross the first day. Her skin didn't tent or anything.

Anyway, next day off I'm going to get some pics and video of her. She is really starting to blossom.
 
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