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James' Back Legs Are Giving Up


Guest deanna
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It's breaking my heart. He's totally healthy in every other way. The vets always marvel at his amazing health, for such an old dog, but also always remark that what will kill him is his hips giving up.

 

He takes a joint supplement, and had been taking rimadyl (I'll get to that question). I know there's not much I can do... but any suggestions?

 

With the rimadyl, one vet said that it can actually CAUSE some of the weakness in his rear end, and I noticed that when I gave him a rimadyl he would have problems standing and walking. We haven't given him a rimadyl in a couple of weeks, and he's been more spry and playful than he had been in a long time. He doesn't seem to be in pain, even when I can tell his legs are giving out. It's like he's trying to go about his business, oblivious to his failing legs. Bless his heart :heart

 

But today he had a pretty good episode. We were out at the very end of the property, about 300 feet from the house. He legs gave up. He's too heavy for me to carry. It took us a while, but we got back to the house with me supporting his back end. Ugh :(

 

Suggestions?

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Also, when his legs are giving out like this he can't lay down. He tries but ends up sprawling out like Bambi. I've been kind of picking him up and laying him down. Any other suggestions?

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Guest TeddysMom

I had a sling type harness for one of my boxers that I used to help her walk. She was 13 and had cancer but the total loss of her back end was what made me decide that it was time for her to go to the bridge. She was miserable that she would wet and poo without any control. James and you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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A harness will help you help him, if he is ok with being helped. Some dogs don't mind, some hate it. There is a lady in Fla who makes them, custim fit for your dog, or PetsMart carries one that might work, but the premade ones often don't fit greyhounds very well. I don't know if this is possible in your area, but acupuncture really helped Sugar when her backend was weak.

 

James :bighug

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I hadn't thought of accupuncture. I live near Portland, so I can probably find someone... Thanks!

 

I've used a large towel as a sling before, with my ol' senior girl Pammy when she had cancer. I'll bet I can just make something.

 

His episodes have been temporary so far. 15 or 20 min and he gets his legs back. Thanks guys.

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We have two greys with issues, one including LS, and they both profit enormously from acupuncture. Rimadyl doesn't seem to help much at all. We ordered a sling, because we want to be prepared, from the lady in Florida, whose name is Carol Becker. I can probably rustle up her email address if you PM me for it.

 

Hugs to you and scritches to James!

Mary with Jumper Jack (2/17/11) and angels Shane (PA's Busta Rime, 12/10/02 - 10/14/16) and Spencer (Dutch Laser, 11/25/00 - 3/29/13).

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Guest Swifthounds

I have two senior boys ( going on 13 and 14 respectively)with weakening hind ends, so I sympathize. In the last few years I've become pretty adept at lifting and carrying large dogs (it's often easier to lift and "insert" when getting them into the car than simply trying to boost them from behind).

 

I've not ever used NSAIDs long term in dogs for arthritis. It comes with it's advantages and it's risks. For my oldsters (which technically include 10 year old Vixen as well, who most of the time doesn't age her age) I use theraputic dosages of Omega 3s to control inflammation (300 mg combined DPA/EPA per 10 lbs. of body weight) and S.O.D and boswellia for joints and SAM-e for joint health/mood.

 

I keep tramadol on hand in case someone overdoes it.

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You won't like to hear this, but dogs are extremely good at masking pain, so he probably is in some, even when he appears not to be. Having said that, they are the most philosophical of creatures and accept things which would get most of us feeble humans down in no time flat ... but if he does better without the rimadyl, don't be fooled into thinking he can actually do more - he almost certainly can't. That may be why he collapses out on walks. I think the trick with these old guys is to stop before they're worn out - and that's difficult to judge, and difficult to do when they're enjoying themselves so much.

 

We've already thought into the future with Sid. Being a tripod, he's going to be in real trouble if and when his back gives out or his hip and knee joints are giving him trouble, so we're probably looking at finding him a cart to go any distance. If it gets to the point where he can't even take himself out to pee, well, maybe the time will have come to let him go, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. You can't make that kind of decision ahead of time.

 

When Jim was thirteen, he had bad arthritis, but also congestive heart failure, so he couldn't attempt more than he should because he had no breath for it. We were down to ten - fifteen minute walks at a very sedate pace, but he still enjoyed them and did them until the day before he died.

 

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that only you can know what's best for your dog, but quality of life is (to me) the most important thing. You just have to weigh up the enjoyment they get from going out with the pain it causes them, and then factor in the cost to you yourself (eg, if you have to try to lift them very often). There's no point in injuring yourself, because you won't be able to care for your dogs very well with a ruptured disc in your back, or a torn shoulder. ;)

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Prayers going up for James! I understand- I have a 14 1/2 year old and I couldn't use the NSAI's or anything else like that even if I wanted to (which I wouldn't anyway) because she also is a kidney dog. I am a chemist and for personal reasons and experience favor the conservative safe protocol like Swifthounds mentioned above. I have noticed that at her age a lot depends on the "day." Somedays it doesn't look good but then a day or so later she will have a really good day and everything looks hopeful and good again. Maybe James is just on one of his biorythm lows right now. I wouldn' be surprised if he doesn't rebound! I will pray for God's healing hand to to help him.:inlove

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Deanna, I have a sling from Carol Becker that I would be happy to send you if you think James can use it. I had it for my bridge boy, Shadow, and it would be too big for either of my girls.

 

She does custom make them, so it depends on how big James is. Shadow was on the petite side at 66 pounds.

 

Let me know if you can use it.

Jenn, missing Shadow (Wickford Big Tom), Pretty Girl (C's Pretty) and Tori (Santoria)

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Here's a link to a harness which works really good on dogs who need assistance. And it will fit a greyhound, I've seen it on one. And the lady who used it on her hound said it was a lifesaver for her! The "handle" on top makes it really handy. Here's the link to Ruff Wear Harness Harness Link

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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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Poor James! So sorry to hear he's having problems, Deanna! I hope these suggestions help. I was reading along thinking, "harness ... check... acupuncture ... check ... herbs ... check ... OMegas ... check ... cart ... check!" Everyone got in ahead of me! :lol

 

Depending on the progression, and his other overall health, maybe one of those wheel-chair doohickies? I've considered them for Wabi, for the future. Some of them are amazing, and the dogs seem to adapt so well to using them.

 

Hugs to you both!

:bighug

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My Inspirations: Grey Pogo, borzoi Katie, Meep the cat, AND MY BELOVED DH!!!
Missing Rowdy, Coco, Brilly, Happy and Wabi.

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Deanna, I haven't read the replies very thoroughly but wanted to put my two cents in...

 

As far as pain medication goes, I much prefer Deramaxx over Rimadyl for joint issues such as arthritis, etc. It just seems to work better. Fritz becomes a ZOMBIE with Rimadyl, I just don't like it very much.

 

Also, what joint supplement are you using? If you're not already using it, I HIGHLY recommend Springtime Inc's Joint Health Tablets. I've had awesome results with them as compared to other joint supplements, including the Greyhound Gang supplements. Sutra takes 4 tabs a day - 2 in the morning, 2 in the evening. It's made a huge difference for his knees, which he injured shortly after I got him a year and a half ago. When he started taking the joint health tabs it was like MAGIC, really :nod

 

Wishing you luck with your sweet old man. It's horrible when their bodies betray their awesome minds :( I hope that you can get James back up and running! :)

Kristin in Moline, IL USA with Ozzie (MRL Crusin Clem), Clarice (Clarice McBones), Latte and Sage the IGs, and the kitties: Violet and Rose
Lovingly Remembered: Sutra (Fliowa Sutra) 12/02/97-10/12/10, Pinky (Pick Me) 04/20/03-11/19/12, Fritz (Fritz Fire) 02/05/01 - 05/20/13, Ace (Fantastic Ace) 02/05/01 - 07/05/13, and Carrie (Takin the Crumbs) 05/08/99 - 09/04/13.

A cure for cancer can't come soon enough.--

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In addition to what swifthounds recommended, I've started adding MSM to my old boy's (13 1/2) list of supps. I've found I need to let him go at his own pace & no stairs. Putting a ramp off the deck is why I believe he's still here - the stairs, even just a few, are more than he can handle. Faolin is a tall leggy boy who hates to be manhandled so his Carol Becker harness will be the next step when he needs it.

 

All the beds are the "princess & the pea" type :rolleyes: : multiple beds stacked on top of each other. He steps up on them & it seems to be a little easier for him to get up & off of. Right side up of course. :lol

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Best wishes for James - it's tough to see their skinny little butts, but I'm so proud of all these houndies for getting to super senior status. :)

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Our beloved angels Faolin & Liath, & kittehs Mona & Caesar. Remembering Bobby, Doc McCoy, & Chip McGrath.

"He feeds you, pets you, adores you, collects your poop in a bag. There's only one explanation: you are a hairy little god." Nick Galifinakis

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Thanks SO much for all the replies. Trying to go in order here:

 

silverfish: thank you, sometimes i need to be reminded that he's like 100 years old. we actually don't take James on walks, we have 1.5 fenced acres and he roams as he pleases. his overall health went through the roof when we moved to this place. because we had to leash walk him before, and it was hard to gage distance, duration, pace - because his limitations were different day to day. and we had 6 steps leading to the front door. now there are no stairs, and he roams at his own pace until he's done. our vet said this is the best possible situation for him because meandering is great exercise and keeps his muscles and joints in use and warmed up, with out forcing a strain, like in leash walking.

 

so, all that said... should I impose limitations on him? he pretty much comes and goes as he pleases. i let him out when he wants out, and when he's ready to come back in, he comes on back in. (I work at home, so I can facilitate that kind of situation most of the time). What do you think?

 

 

racindog: funny how you mention biorhythms. these episodes totally go in cycles. he'll lose a little weight, be super active and spry, then gain the weight back and lose his legs. (i'm talking a pound or 2. but its noticeable on an older body).

 

xan: those wheelchairs are a hoot right? i think one of the slings will do, if we get to that point. i wouldn't let him out unattended. if he fell and couldn't get up, i'd beat myself up about it forever.

 

 

kristin: i just bought some of those supps. thanks! i don't know what we were using before. (as a little background): james' owner died in december, and he came to live with us. she was well prepared, she knew she was dying. james came with a huge bag of goodies, from toys to meds to joint supplements. the supps were in a blank bottle, i don't know the brand. we're just about running out, so thanks for the suggestion.

 

 

sweetdogs: james prefers lying on the carpet, and 9 times out of 10 doesn't lay on a bed even though there are huge cushy home made dog beds available. is that weird?

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It's totally not weird for him to prefer the carpet - my mom's boy prefers the carpet at her house, and often Fritz will sprawl out on the CERAMIC TILE here. He likes the cool feeling :lol Sutra always lays on the couch or on a bed though, as that's what he prefers.

 

I too let Sutra meander as he pleases. With his osteo leg, he has good days and bad days. It's raining now but was nice this morning. His bones could tell that the rain was coming as he was kind of achy. It's really interesting how things affect him (interesting but sometimes crummy <_<). The only time he's on a leash is when we go to the vet's office. He doesn't wear a leash anymore to travel in the car (I worry about it tripping him if he steps on it) or to go into the house from the car. He walks next to me and I just hook my finger through his collar in case he'd get a silly idea :lol He loves my parents' place - they have an acre fenced. I let him wander around out there but I try not to let him get too far out to the back. He seems to forget that once you walk all the way out there, you have to somehow get back up to the house :lol I can carry him if he needs it though, so it's not that big of a deal.

Kristin in Moline, IL USA with Ozzie (MRL Crusin Clem), Clarice (Clarice McBones), Latte and Sage the IGs, and the kitties: Violet and Rose
Lovingly Remembered: Sutra (Fliowa Sutra) 12/02/97-10/12/10, Pinky (Pick Me) 04/20/03-11/19/12, Fritz (Fritz Fire) 02/05/01 - 05/20/13, Ace (Fantastic Ace) 02/05/01 - 07/05/13, and Carrie (Takin the Crumbs) 05/08/99 - 09/04/13.

A cure for cancer can't come soon enough.--

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Guest Swifthounds

These are a given around here, so I didn't post the standard joint supplements. I prefer the powdered supplements from the Greyhound Gang because they can be dosed separately, are better quality, are actually absorbable, and support a good cause:

 

For Glucoslamine: make sure you're using glucosamine HCL - it's purer than the sulfate.

 

For giving MSM: 1000 – 2000 mgs a day, preferably given with glucosamine HCL & C - MSM addresses inflammation, glucosamine repairs cartilege and joints, and C supports both as well as healthy tissue.

 

CMO is Cetyl Myristoleate: 1000 – 2000 mgs a day for around three weeks at a time. It is known to lubricate joints, reduce inflammation, regulate immune system. You would also want to be giving at least glucosamine in conjunction with this. It can be tummy irritating.

 

I would start by introducing the fish oil, then the glucosamine, then shark cartilege, and then on to MSM and/or CMO. I would give at least 2-3 weeks between additions so that you will better be able to pinpoint the source of any problems.

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so, all that said... should I impose limitations on him? he pretty much comes and goes as he pleases. i let him out when he wants out, and when he's ready to come back in, he comes on back in. (I work at home, so I can facilitate that kind of situation most of the time). What do you think?

 

Oh, at his age, I'd let him do what he wants! If you have the room to let him roam about and he likes that, all you can do is walk with him and support him if necessary. Though sometimes we have to be sensible for them and if you know it's a day when he's not feeling so hot, perhaps encourage him to come in a little earlier. Better that he should wander out four or five times for a little while than go out for too long and get over tired. JMHO. He's gorgeous, by the way! Love that picture! :wub:

 

these episodes totally go in cycles. he'll lose a little weight, be super active and spry, then gain the weight back and lose his legs. (i'm talking a pound or 2. but its noticeable on an older body).

 

Could it be that he can't handle those extra pounds very well? Just a thought. I know we all want to get some meat on those old bones, but if his legs can't handle it .. what does the vet say about his weight?

 

james prefers lying on the carpet, and 9 times out of 10 doesn't lay on a bed even though there are huge cushy home made dog beds available. is that weird?

 

Jim loved his squishy beds right up to the end, but Jack started to lie on the carpet too. I actually bought him a sheepskin rug, and he quite liked that. I think he started to find it difficult to balance on the softer beds, but he wanted his bones cushioned. I always had a piece of VetBed laying out too, so he could use that if he liked. He still chose the carpet sometimes though. Each to his own. :P

 

Bless you for taking him in. So sad that the poor lady knew she was dying and had to make arrangements for him, but it must have been a comfort to her to know James was going somewhere he'd be loved and well cared for.

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Sorry to hear about James Deanna. Is sucks when they get old and their bodies are not working nicely anymore. :( Kona's back legs gave out. We gained some time on Deramaxx. We started Tramadol on her last day with us. It was too little, too late. I can tell you she was in a lot of pain! And she was not one who liked help! Bad combo.

 

I would put restrictions on his walking around. They tire out faster and not all are willing to give into that. Shorter spurts, maybe a few extra times. Also make sure his nails are short. They need all the grip they can get.

The Girls

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Ahh, nails. Good call. We've been working them back. They're long, but getting better.

 

Thanks guys for all the input, I really appreciate it.

 

As for his weight, I had thought about that. He just starts to look so skeletal sometimes, he looks really good for a skinny old dude right now. What a weird balance to strike between him looking too skinny, then wobbling on a little extra weight... I'll have to ask the vet about that next time.

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Guest FullMetalFrank

Sorry to hear about James. My Frank, who is a couple of years younger, really had us scared earlier this year, he was having some back end weakness, trouble with proprioception, he fell a couple of times... I thought we were on a downhill slide. But, we got serious about never missing his glucosamine/msm dose, increased his daily wild alaskan salmon oil, made sure he gets enough exercise, and he has completely turned the corner for us. One of my instructors at school, who first noticed his difficulty righting his foot if placed upside down, suggested that we could try Adequan injections, and we still will keep that in mind if he starts having issues again, maybe you could look into the injections for James?

 

Sounds like you have got some great suggestions and I hope James gets to have lots more quality time with you, he sounds like a sweet old guy...

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Guest PhillyPups

Just an addition, for a handy sling, when you go out tie an extra sweatshirt around your waist. Roll the body, wrap it under his belly and use the arms as a handle. The sweatshirt material is soft on them and the sleeves can be wrapped around your hand - works like a charm.

 

:bighug to James -

 

I would meander with him just to make sure he does not fall and can't get up. Can you fence in a smaller area for him??

 

The aging process sukks. The mind says yep, the body says he77 no.

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Guest Swifthounds

Ahh, nails. Good call. We've been working them back. They're long, but getting better.

 

Thanks guys for all the input, I really appreciate it.

 

As for his weight, I had thought about that. He just starts to look so skeletal sometimes, he looks really good for a skinny old dude right now. What a weird balance to strike between him looking too skinny, then wobbling on a little extra weight... I'll have to ask the vet about that next time.

 

As they age, they tend to being to "appear" thinner because they don't hold muscle bulk the way they do as young dogs. What it really is, then, is a reduction in bulk muscle making them much leaner. Adding weight at that point, except with adding muscle on a dog still physically capable of running or long walks at a good trot, is just adding more fat for their already-lessened muscle to have to carry around.

 

Seconding the caution to keep nails short: for grip, footing, to ease strain on the skeleton and soft tissues. Not just short enough so that they don't touch the floor, but short like you would have on a dog that runs and you don't want to sustain a broken toe.

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