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Arthritis Not Responsive To Supplements


Guest chaoran22
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Guest chaoran22

So my Oscar has been limping for about the past year. Not like picking up his foot and limping, just a shifting of weight off of one of his back legs. VERY very slight at first, but we brought him to the vet, got a full set of xrays (which were beautiful, no visible issue at all). They recommended supplements, so we tried over the counter stuff generic brand supplements, no difference, so then we brought him into a second vet for a second opinion b/c I was super paranoid about osteo. The second vet (who was not as grey savvy as our usual vet) took another set of xrays (also beautiful, nothing wrong on them at all) and also did a tick panel at my request b/c I wanted to make sure it wasn't Lyme (tick panel was all negative). Both sets of xrays covered his entire back half, including hips, and everything, and it all looked good. Neither of the two vets could see any signs of arthritis or anything at all on the xrays.

 

Our usual vet suggested Cosequin b/c it's the most effective supplement since our generic supplements didn't work, so we did that and now it's been over 3 months of giving it to him at the maximum recommended strength and no difference AT ALL. Now his limp is at the point where it's obvious, it's worse on one back leg, so that he sort of walks with his spine bent in a very slight C, and occasionally when he's trotting, he'll do a tripod hop for about 3 steps. He doesn't seem to be in acute pain, never yelps, still will chase our other grey around like crazy, and the limp doesn't seem to get worse after running. And even though the limp has progressed from very very slight to obvious now, it progressed VERY slowly. There was never any day or week or even month where we could tell it was worse, it's just comparing it from now to what we remember a year ago that we can obviously tell it's worse. He does have corns, but we keep them dremeled flat and plus, it's always the one leg that he favors so while corns might contribute to his discomfort, I'm sure it's not the main problem.

 

Has anyone had this problem? I want to avoid putting him on pain medication if possible, but that was the next step suggested by our vet, so I thought I'd come here and try to get some ideas. Neither our regular vet nor our second opinion vet ever seemed concerned about it being anything other than arthritis. I'm still mildly paranoid about osteo, but it's been such a long slow progression that I agree with them that it's probably arthritis. And our regular vet is a very grey savvy vet, she has two of her own and has tons of greyhound patients, and is all around wonderful (in fact, I still feel kind of bad we went and sought a second opinion b/c she's so great, but I don't regret doing so, b/c I feel more at ease having the same diagnosis from two different vets and two different vet hospitals).

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How long since the x-rays?

 

Have you tried hulling the corns?

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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I have had a dog with arthritis in the past (plus hip dysplasia) and we treated it with daily doses of glucosamine/chondroitin (tablets for humans) and a daily dose of the oral suspension of Metacam, an anti-inflammatory. With the Metacam, I managed him with only a half dose for almost all the time we were blessed to have him. He was an unwanted senior dog from the local shelter and was around 10 when we got him. The glucosamine and Metacam regimen allowed him to run and be happy and do his favorite thing of retrieving a hockey ball for the next 5 years! I only had to increase the dosage for about the last 6 months of his life. You need to watch their liver function with the Metacam.

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Lisa B.

My beautiful Summer - to her forever home May 1, 2010 Summer

Certified therapy dog team with St. John Ambulance

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did the x-rays include his spine? I had an older girl who had arthritis and was on supplements (and pain meds), but started walking funny. Best description I could come up with was she looked like she was trying to limp on both back legs at the same time. As best as I recall, the non technical description was the "cushion" part of some of the vertebrae in her spine was wearing out, and the bone rubbing and putting pressure on the nerves (I am paraphrasing :) ) At any rate, what helped her the most, although it took about 6 weeks to take full effect, was acupuncture.

 

Hers was not LS, but has he been checked for that?

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Guest chaoran22

The first set of xrays were actually in March - I thought they were a year ago but looking back at his records, it says March. Now my boyfriend had said something in passing to me a few months before that about him limping but I looked and didn't notice anything because it was so slight, and the first time I noticed was in early March, and we brought him into the vet right away. So if my boyfriend was right in having seen something several months ago, I would say that the limp actually started late 2009 even though it wasn't even really visible until March. Our second opinion xrays were taken in early June, after which we started him on the Cosequin when they also showed no definite diagnosis.

 

Our vet advised against anything more drastic with the corns other than dremeling since they just come back and doesn't help long term. Now, Oscar NEVER had corns until about a year ago, and I wonder if he only started getting corns b/c his leg was hurting and it made him walk unevenly. I've had him for over 5 years and he never had corns for the first 4 years of his life. Compared to my other dog (who was retired b/c of a broken leg and has a funny snaggle toe and walked a bit funny from day one, and has had corns since day one) it really seems like maybe Oscar's corns were actually a symptom of his limp/altered gait.

 

I think our next step is probably something like Metacam (although Oscar has slightly elevated liver enzymes, we've done extensive testing at various points in his life throughout the years and the consensus is that it's just the way he is and nothing to worry about). Sigh. I was really hoping to hold out from constant medication for awhile longer. He just turned 7 in June, so he's not even old yet.

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Guest chaoran22

The second set of xrays covered the end part of his spine but not the whole thing. Remolacha - did your dog have any pain when you pressed on her spine when she was having those issues? Both vets examined his spine with their hands (pressing hard on it every which way and he had no problem with them doing that), but we never got a full spine xray.

 

What's LS?

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Guest KennelMom

I would probably get another set of xrays just because....to allay my own fears, know what I mean?

 

I would try that new corn treatment that's been talked about on GT or have your vet hull them out. Corns can be REALLY painful. Our corn dogs will three-leg when their corns grow back. Even if they're dremelled flat, they can still be painful.

 

I would put him on a grain free food (grains promote inflammation). Sounds like you've run the gauntlet on supplements, but sometimes it's just a matter of finding the right one. We had really good luck with the liquid Healthy Joint K-9 from Thomas Vet. Supply. I'd also supplement with a good quality fish oil (anti-inflammatory). Since we tend to keep a lot of seniors around, we have a giant bottle of rimadyl and we dose as needed to our arthritis pups. It can be pretty painful when it flairs up, but it's not really something I want to give unless they really need it.

Edited by KennelMom
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Before risking going to strong chemicals like Metacam-which you don't know how he will react to-I would try yucca and also Lubrisyn. And I have to tell you Fresh Factors are legendary for their "miraculous" results. Goldie had a bone chip-was rather difficult to get an x-ray that showed it- and acted similarly. I gave him Solid Gold yucca(made from an old indian recipe) and he did very well on it BID and Fresh Factors and fish oil until he crossed over with only occassional need for the Rx NSAI's. The yucca is itself a steroid of sorts and is powerful, It is very bitter but Goldie would eat it with no problems when mixed up with honey. Lubricyn was not available then but it can be very effective too. IMO it all depends on the dog- what works best. I would surely try these safer natural alternatives first though before going with the Rx's. One of them might be just what he needs and it will be better for him long term IMO than the Rx's. Accupuncture would be another consideration- also highly effective. I really believe it depends more on what works for each individual dog than whether or not it is over the counter or Rx etc. For instance some dogs respond to Fresh Factors but not glucosamine and in reality they are pretty much the same-one is just the precursor to the other one(chrondroitan sulfate). No explanation for why- but that's what happens sometimes. Each dog is different. Also fish oil has been shown to even lengthen racehorses strides because it is so effective at reducing inflammation and the resulting pain. Good luck with your baby! He's lucky to have such a diligent Mom!:)

Edited by racindog
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Poor Oscar. :( Just another angle: All of my hounds have back-related issues. I went down the meds, x-ray path too. For my hounds, chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture have been very helpful. If, for example, your pup has mild to moderate lumbosacral stenosis - it will not show on an x-ray (one of my hounds had an MRI, but it was VERY expensive). If a vertebra is out or encroaching on another - that can be very painful. (Sorry, I do not have experience with corns).

 

I agree with a relatively grain-free diet and fish-based anti-inflammatory supplement. Two of my hounds have been on a Chinese herb for pain (which is not so hard on them as other drugs).

 

I guessing you do, but be sure to keep Oscar's nails trimmed. Long nails are no fun to walk on.

 

Good luck!

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Hull the corns: http://www.grassmere-animal-hospital.com/corn_hulling.htm . Not drastic. Fast, simple, no anaesthesia needed. Will they come back? Sure. Then you hull them again. IIRC my vet charged @ $10 to do Zema's every 3 weeks.

 

If hulling the corns doesn't relieve his pain, I'd redo the x-rays. It's been awhile. I might also look for a 3rd opinion from a board-certified orthopedist. I'm a little surprised your dog had beautiful x-rays and the vets called "arthritis." Where was this arthritis, if nobody could see it on the films?

 

 

I'm going to disagree with folks about supplements. Have not found a one that was useful for anything except emptying my bank account. Also haven't found diet to make any difference. If the dog is in pain, I would give whichever NSAID he can tolerate.

Star aka Starz Ovation (Ronco x Oneco Maggie*, litter #48538), Coco aka Low Key (Kiowa Mon Manny x Party Hardy, litter # 59881), and mom in Illinois
We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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Guest chaoran22

Thanks! We are on a grain free diet (Taste of the Wild Bison formula) that he loves and keeps his allergies to a minimum. I will try fish oil. And we're doing his nails tonight :) We do keep them pretty short. His limp doesn't seem to really get him down so I think we can take some more time to try other supplements to see if it works since he's not in acute pain over it that we can tell at least.

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Hull the corns: http://www.grassmere-animal-hospital.com/corn_hulling.htm . Not drastic. Fast, simple, no anaesthesia needed. Will they come back? Sure. Then you hull them again. IIRC my vet charged @ $10 to do Zema's every 3 weeks.

 

If hulling the corns doesn't relieve his pain, I'd redo the x-rays. It's been awhile. I might also look for a 3rd opinion from a board-certified orthopedist. I'm a little surprised your dog had beautiful x-rays and the vets called "arthritis." Where was this arthritis, if nobody could see it on the films?

 

 

I'm going to disagree with folks about supplements. Have not found a one that was useful for anything except emptying my bank account. Also haven't found diet to make any difference. If the dog is in pain, I would give whichever NSAID he can tolerate.

 

Ack! I forgot to mention the same thing, that arthritis shows on X-rays. Even an untrained eye can find it.

And I agree with the NSAIDs (i.e. Metacam). I've also never found non-prescription products to be very effective. And if my dog is in pain, I don't want to mess around trying this, that and the other. I did find the human-grade glucosamine to be relatively effective and I'm currently giving one tablet a day to Summer, as some of her joints "click". Hopefully, it may stave off arthritis in her.

SummerGreytalkSignatureResized-1.jpg

Lisa B.

My beautiful Summer - to her forever home May 1, 2010 Summer

Certified therapy dog team with St. John Ambulance

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Guest chaoran22

Oh an I just saw the post above mine - the vets told me that often they see dogs who have great xrays but really bad arthritis...that sometimes it just doesn't show up, but yes, I agree Batmom, I am a bit dissatisfied that for Oscar the diagnosis of arthritis was a default rather than any definitive reason for it since they couldn't see anything wrong with him at all. Maybe we'll try a board certified orthopedist, we have pretty good pet insurance (they cover 80% of everything, no limits) but I'm still a bit hesitant right now b/c I'm currently unemployed - we're fine financially for now (yay severance package!), but I'm trying to be conservative in case I'm unemployed for longer than expected! sigh. my poor boy - even though it doesn't bother him so much (did crazy zoomies just this morning) I really want to make it better for him if I can because something is obviously not right.

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Onyx had arthritis and would show me signs of pain by moaning. He was not limping at all. Over the course of a year, I tried supplements, vitamins, different NSAIDs. The only thing that worked was a combination of Rimadyl and Tramadol. He was older than your boy though.

 

If it were me, I would give the vet's recommendation for pain meds a little more consideration, maybe just to see if it makes a difference.

 

Jenn

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