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Arthritis Or Just Too Fat? Our Boy Isn't Himself


Guest FrankieWylie
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Guest FrankieWylie

Or both?

 

All of our dogs put weight on this summer. They just don't get out as much because it's so hot down here. Charlie is by far our heaviest and broadest dog. He has always been a big boy, coming to us at 85lbs and I'd guess he is hovering around the 90mark right now.

 

Anyhow, we have noticed in the last week that he is having a hard time reaching his back end to scratch with his teeth. He is also a lot slower to get up now.

 

On top of all of these he seems to be way more grumpy with the other hounds. Constantly growling and snapping if they look at him, walk by him or even come into the room from another one.

 

We are scheduling his yearly for this week and I guess asking for a full blood work up? We just feel like something is off and want them to do a COMPLETE overhaul of him to see if there is something else going on.

 

Any experienced folks out there know what exactly we should ask for?

 

In the meantime, we are cutting back on his intake and exercising him more (which he is hating) in hopes to drop a few extra pounds.

 

Jeez we've got one who doesn't keep on weight, one who puts it on just by looking at food, and one who could care less to eat. Crazy kids.

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That sounds like more than weight gain. Has the weather changed recently--that could have triggered an arthritis flareup.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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Guest FrankieWylie

We have recently had our temps cool off dramatically. Not cold, but more like the 70s and not the 90s. I don't know that he has any history of arthritis, it is just the only thing that makes sense to us given how less agile he is than the other two.

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He may be having back trouble. That could cause pain that's harder for mom and dad to spot than "he's limping"-type ailments. Being slower to get up and having trouble twisting around to bite an itch both fit in that scenario, as does growled "verbal" warnings to the others not to bump him. And excess weight won't help his back.

 

P.S. If he's telling you he's starving to death, toss him some frozen green beans right from the freezer. If he'll eat them, it's a good way to fill up the corners in his not-full tummy without adding fat calories.

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The vet will probably palpate him to look for sources of pain or discomfort. If he doesn't, I would ask him to so you can confirm or rule out pain/arthritis. Bloodwork sounds like an excellent idea too.

 

Most likely it's the weight gain itself. Greyhounds have such a slender frame that carrying even just a few extra pounds causes difficulties or exacerbates existing problems. I have to really watch it with Riley because he's an "easy keeper" and has arthritis in his hips from an old injury. The second he starts to gain weight I notice his movements become stiffer. Charlie will probably feel better when he's back to his ideal weight.

 

ETA: Ditto on adding vegetables to his food to help him feel full (or for treats). Asparagus ends make great low-cal treats too and are a big hit around here.

Edited by GreytNut

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I don't know how common it is in your area, but whenever something like this happens, I always get the dog tested for lyme first.

The growling and snapping is most likely because he is in pain. My golden is the sweetest boy in the world but when he gets lyme he gets very aggressive because he is in so much pain.

 

ETA I agree it could be the weight gain alone, hard to say without seeing him. Greyhounds can't tolerate being overweight because their frames are so light. I know of several greyhounds that have pain issues simply because they are too heavy.

Edited by zombrie
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You might have them check his back. Extra pounds on a painful back will only make it worse. Maybe some x-rays to check the discs to make sure it's nothing like that.

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Guest FrankieWylie

Thanks everyone! We're going in on Friday.

 

We feed raw, so his intake hasn't really been upped, I think it's lack of exercise over the summer. Where we usually take them to run, and I mean really run, once or twice a week, we were lucky to get them out there twice a month because of the heat. And, of all of them, he is by far the laziest.

 

Here is a photo of him from last fall when we were running them 2-3 times a week

 

6365456739_6971c3dfe8.jpg

1DSC_2936 by *just_me*, on Flickr

 

Here he is from the back (only photo I could find) this summer...

 

8019918509_694464e043.jpg

Charlieboy by *just_me*, on Flickr

 

Looking back through all the photos, I can definitely see he has put on weight. Though he's more broad than the other two, I can see in his back and belly where he is lacking the definition he had previously.

 

Time to get serious about getting him in shape. Any ideas on low cal "treats"? I ask this because he LOVES to learn new things and is highly food motivated. So, doing some recall training to make his exercise more fun may help motivate him to get moving. Gotta get this boy back in shape.

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Any ideas on low cal "treats"? I ask this because he LOVES to learn new things and is highly food motivated. So, doing some recall training to make his exercise more fun may help motivate him to get moving. Gotta get this boy back in shape.

 

Save the ends of your vegetables when you're cooking (obviously make sure they're OK first - no onions!) Mine love asparagus ends. They can hear an asparagus stalk snap from the next county. Also cucumber ends and strawberry tops. You can feed green beans, fresh or frozen (or low-sodium canned). Those are all very low calorie. You can also purchase smaller dog biscuits or break the larger ones into pieces. I get the Natural Balance cookies for tiny dogs. Riley doesn't care that he's getting a small treat... he just cares that he's getting a treat. And if you have to, chase that dog around the yard. That's what we did with Tiny. The poor guy came to us so overweight that he could not walk without gasping for air. We got him in shape with a combination of strict food rations, limiting treats and using low-calorie treats, and walking him/chasing him around until he literally ran his butt off.

 

ETA: You might try a lure pole for back yard play time. He'll have so much fun chasing the toy that he won't realize he's exercising.

Edited by GreytNut

Kristen with

Penguin (L the Penguin) Flying Penske x L Alysana

Costarring The Fabulous Felines: Squeak, Merlin, Bailey & Mystic

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I second the suggests about veggie tops--baby carrots might work well for something easy to bring to the dog park.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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the lyme test wouldn't hurt but weight reduction will help w/ structural issues. try ice cubes or raw carrotsto munch on, and string beans(canned or frozen) in his food are good bulk. the beans do seem to help get the pounds off. a senior food or lite food will help the reduction especially if you cut the calories and fat and pull back on the quanity.NO TREATS- unless you deduct it from his daily kibble. he should be able to drop at least 3-5#s in a month if you really stick to it. in the past i had one dog on $$$$ meds and had to keep his weight consistant, and it was a breed know for putting on the pounds. that's what i did to quick get some weight off and stuck to a lite food and carrots after. some of the senior/lite foods are a decent quality-

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Guest FrankieWylie

Thanks cleptogrey! I guess we could give him a smaller chicken quarter serving, or even change to a leaner meat all together for him since we're raw feeders.

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Guest FullMetalFrank

Simply removing the skin off his chicken is an easy way to cut down calories that he won't notice too much! We had to do that for Chelsa when she would gain a little; she would put on weight just by breathing hard, I swear! Easy keeper; but pulling the skin off her chicken really helped!

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Guest OPointyDog

We give Zoe canned pumpkin in a kong - it can be mixed with other veggies like green beans, too. Very low in calories! Then we freeze the kong - that way it makes it take much longer to eat and she enjoys it longer. Make sure you get just pumpkin and not the pie mix!

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Absent a health issue, dogs become overweight for the same reasons we do; their intake exceeds their output. Increasing one and also the other isn't going to work!

 

Find another way to show him you're pleased with his lessons besides treats.


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Is he reactive to toys? My boy Doolin is not food motivated at all but I can train him by praising with toys. Just a thought!

I saw your recent post in C&F and I think he will feel a lot better once he drops some pounds. It's amazing how fast they can gain and lose weight! My parent's dog Mira gains weight seemingly overnight sometimes so they really have to watch her. But once they notice she needs to lose a few, it only takes a couple weeks to look good again!

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Guest FrankieWylie

Sadly, he has ZERO interest in anything other than food. Toys, affection, etc, he couldn't care less about. He doesn't get treated a whole lot, especially not the past few months because we haven't been learning anything new. They generally eat their two meals a day, and then get a treat (homemade) after coming in from a walk.

 

We are starting with taking the skin off the chicken, and will go from there. I also think being outside more will help too. It was cool enough that we could actually PLAY in the back yard yesterday and not just lay around. I'm leaning toward it just being weight gain, but we'll be sure he gets the full work up at the vet on Friday!

 

I appreciate everyone's help and responses. Thanks :)

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