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Hi everyone, my big boy is turning 9 in a few months. This year we've started seeing him slow down a bit. I've never had a senior dog before and I wanted to see what knowledge anyone had on managing joint and liver issues, and maybe just aging issues in general.

1. The vet thinks he may have some arthritis coming on. We've never supplemented his diet before, but we're going to start. We're trying a pill supplement that has green lipped mussel and chondroitin sulphates: Blackmores Osterosupport. Has anyone used this and liked it? Someone else has recommended to me a pill that is 100% green lipped mussel. She swears by it and has a 13 year old lab still full of spunk.
2. His blood work showed two liver enzymes elevated. We're going to start him on a milk thistle supplement, re-do his blood work in 3 months, and then go from there. Are there any other antioxidants or medications anyone has found to work well with managing liver issues?

Thanks so much! Any information on any of these topics is much, much appreciated.
 

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Ask you vet about Adequan injections. It's not pain killer, but a compound that goes through the synovial fluid and lubricates the joint (HEALING), with strong anti-inflammatory effects in about half of dogs. It prevents further cartilage degeneration. There are many threads about it here -- it's a 4 week loading dose, 2 shots a week, but I've seen radical improvements in some seniors (one of my oldsters went from slow ambling on walks to trotting like a youngster in 3 weeks).

You'd probably be better off just feeding food (animal parts, not kibble) loaded with bio-available forms of glucosamine/chondroitin (like dried beef trachea), instead of buying it as a supplement. (See bestbullysticks.com for a source of trachea tubes, if you need one -- dogs LOVE chewing on them.)

The evidence that regular chondroitin supplements help arthritis is not strong. A 2010 meta-analysis of 10 trials concluded there was no benefit. The supplement industry's claims got way, way ahead of the evidence:
https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/chondroitin-sulfate.php

There is ONE high-quality study that a patented, low-molecular weight form of glucosamine and chondroitin owned by NutraMax labs has good results--but that's the only supplement form that seems to have any proven benefit in dogs (NuMax makes Cosequin and Dasuquin). I like the Dasuquin Advanced supplements (RX only, from vets) because they include MSM, curcumin extracts, boswellia, avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU), and some other compounds that seem to help. It's kind of pricey though, and you might be able to buy some of those "good" ingredients separately for less -- the "Advanced" version isn't available online (vet clinics only):
Landmark Clinical Study Confirms Effectiveness of Glucosamine Hydrochloride and Chondroitin Sulfate Combination in Supporting Joint Health

I don't have an experience with green lipped mussels, but I've read that study results have been mixed. Try it and see -- it's supposed to be very safe. This link says two of the five trials in humans found a benefit -- not great, but suggestive that maybe some dogs will benefit and some won't:
https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/guide/green-lipped-mussel.php

Natural Eggshell Membrane supplements are worth trying. There's one promising study showing it helps arthritis, and I've seen good results in my dogs too. It's very safe, not terribly expensive, and thus worth considering:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2711914/

Type II Collagen/Hyaluronic Acid might also help. It comes as a supplement, or make your own in some chicken/turkey bone broth made from necks and backs. I think Gatorbytes and Carmspack have some posts in the archives explaining how.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2840553/

This is also helpful:
https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/supplements-herbs/9-supplements-arthritis.php


As for the liver, before you start throwing herbs at it, I'd like to know WHY the numbers are off. It's a sign that something's going on...what?
 

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Yes the adequan is good, kinda expensive, ours for Clipper was $40 a shot, but after the loading doses we went once a month. If you don't already have one, a ramp is helpful also, we have a dura ramp, heavy duty styrofoam, easy to use inside and outside for loading in the car.
 
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