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I have a 13-1/2 year old lab mix. His hips are in pretty bad shape. He also has arthritis and is on Rimadyl, Tramadol, and Gabapentin. He's pretty much maxed out on dosage and he will come to me over and over again in the evening wanting more meds. Sometimes I will wake up at night and hear him panting when it's 65 degrees in the room. I've been trying to look into laser therapy and I see that some people endorse it, while others do not. He's a great dog and I hate to see him suffer. Other than his pain, his is in great shape: good sight, good hearing, no fatty tumors, good weight. One part of me says to put him down. Another part of me says to get the laser therapy. Just wondering what everyone's experience is with laser therapy and geriatric dogs in general.
 

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I've heard good things about laser therapy. There are other natural things you can give that can help those joints too. Chicken feet is one source.
 

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If he's doing great otherwise, there's lots to try yet. If all else fails, having the vet simply change up his pain meds might make a difference to him. There's a lot of options that might get him more comfortable.

Have you tried Adequan therapy (injections)? It's not a pain med. It's a compound injected into the low back muscles that goes through the synovial fluid into the joints and lubricates them, sometimes even building new cartilage. In other words, it heals the arthritis at the source. It had a near miraculous effect on my old dog, and I've seen it prolong the quality of life in several dogs in rescue too.

The only downside is convenience and cost. It requires 2 shots a week for 4 weeks, then you step down to maintain at every-other week, probably for life. We could tell when it was time for the next shot, as the stiffness came back. Some young dogs can maintain at monthly, but mine never could go past 2 weeks. For cost, you can get the cost way down by doing the injections at home, with your vet's permission (they typically want to do the first one or two at the clinic, to see if there's any reaction--then most vets I know are happy to have you continue it at home).

The cheapest place I know to order Adequan Canine is Valleyvet.com (requires your vet's RX). They also sell a similar generic called Chondroprotec, for horses. Some vets use it in dogs too--I have no personal experience with it, but it's about half the cost. If cost is an issue, that's a conversation to have with the vet. I think the most recent 65-pound dog we had in rescue on bi-weekly shots went through 2 vials of Adequan every 6 weeks, once she was on the maintenance dose (= about $120 per 6 weeks through Valleyvet, or less with a sale).

I would also add Natural Eggshell Membrane, Collagen II (or chicken bone broth, if you want to extract it yourself -- Gatorbytes and Carmspack have both posted how to make it), a big dose of fish oil (we worked up to about 4,000 mg/day and were headed higher with a big dog), Vit E (mixed tocopherols). You can get good prices on these things on Vitacost.com.

Here's my dog's journey: http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/senior-dog/186832-deramaxx-no-longer-available-alternatives-work-your-senior.html
Once we got all the supplements and Adequan loaded, we were able to very slowly reduce and fade away his carprofen/rimadyl and he was more mobile than he'd ben when on it. (We kept the gabapentin at night to prevent a pain "boomerang" effect that can undo all the progress.)

My biggest regret was not starting acupuncture sooner with him too. In once 20 min. session, the difference in his rear-end strength, balance, and stability was remarkable.
 

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Thanks all for the replies. I go give Flint dasuquin every morning.

Mag, I had hip xrays done last year and his one hip is in really, really bad shape. He waddles at all times. Was your dog in about the same shape? I'll talk to my vet about Adequan therapy.
 

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Do the lazer therapy, chiropractic and accupuncture. They all work really well with arthritic, sore dogs. A really good chiro session will leave your dog immediately improved.
All of these are non-invasive, drug free alternatives. They do cost but to me it was always money well spent.
 

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Well, the costs depends on where you are. In Arkansas, I could get accupuncture & chiro adjustment for it might have been as much as $60 but I think it was a lot less. Here in central Oregon it runs a bit higher. I can buy a bundle of lazer treatments and that makes it cheaper than buying them individually. It's been a while since I bought the bundle, so I don't really recall. The initial series of appointments and treatments totalled about $400.
 

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My boy started feeling pain at 13. Dr had me put him on one baby aspirin am feeding and one in evening feeding. This along with the Gluc/Chlo brought so much back to his quality of life and stood him well until 14.5 years old.

The vet told me there were many expensive things to try to prolong the unavoidable - but why and who would it really be for? The baby aspirin removed the pain - he was running all over the yard again for the next year. It was not just a cheap ineffective way. It worked and the results were immediate. Aspirin use is not good for long term - but we never had long term......
 

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You might also want to consider swim therapy. It's easier on the joints than walking and helps to maintain muscle tone. Dog swim therapy pools and hydrotherapy places are becoming more common. When one of my dogs was doing swim therapy a while back, there was a man who used to carry his old lab in, she could hardly walk, but she did well in the pool.
 

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The vet told me there were many expensive things to try to prolong the unavoidable
Death is inevitable for us all, but aging well should be everyone's goal (and our goal for our dogs). Adequan + supps gave my dog two glorious years of high quality of life - that was 17% of his total life span (or viewed from the opposite angle, we added 20% to his lifespan by starting this regimen at age 10 instead of giving up on him). Had cancer not eventually gotten him, he'd have kept on going. Throwing in the towel on his hip arthritis at age 10 would have been such a mistake for us, as his last two years were happy, active, and full of joy. They might even be my favorite two years of his whole life, as he was such jolly oldster.
 

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Death is inevitable for us all, but aging well should be everyone's goal (and our goal for our dogs). Adequan + supps gave my dog two glorious years of high quality of life - that was 17% of his total life span (or viewed from the opposite angle, we added 20% to his lifespan by starting this regimen at age 10 instead of giving up on him). Had cancer not eventually gotten him, he'd have kept on going. Throwing in the towel on his hip arthritis at age 10 would have been such a mistake for us, as his last two years were happy, active, and full of joy. They might even be my favorite two years of his whole life, as he was such jolly oldster.
I agree. My previous GSD had a tumor diagnosed when he was 10. The vet said 50% chance of surviving the surgery. Because it was a tumor and not a deterioration of bones, I elected for the surgery to give him a chance. He was 58lbs normal weight - the tumor was only attached to his spleen but weighed 5 1/2 lbs. He survived and was happy and healthy for another 3 1/2 years. The tumor was unusual for some reason. Our vet was on the state board for vets and wanted the tumor studied. Our vet sold it to the Univ of Wa Vet School. The vet school picked up the entire tab for the surgery.:)

With my last GSD at 13 it was obvious he had bone deterioration and it was not going to get better. The aspirin did keep him free of the pain and he ran and was happy until his last day. The bone socket gave out all at once. Surgery or any other treatment was simply not an option at 14.5 years of age. That is what the vet was explaining to me when he was 13 and I had just started him on the aspirin therapy.
 
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