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Debilitating Arthritis


Guest Jetinma
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Guest Jetinma

Hi all - I have browsed GT off and on since I adopted my dog over 8 years ago but I think this is my first post. We may be at the crossroads so I am interested in input. Jet is over 10 and has had some mobility issues since I got her at 2. Her rear end has always been weak and increasingly shaky over the years. At age 4 she had surgery at Angell in Boston to repair a joint in her shoulder (over $4000 - just so you know I am not completely unwilling to go the expensive medical route when it makes sense). So, for the past month or so she will only eat lying down because it is too difficult for her to stand at her raised bowl long enough to eat. She can't stand in one place at all. She takes carprofen, gabapentin and tramadol daily. She has had xrays, etc. Last week I noticed that one of her eyes is red and protruding - we were at the vet Friday and he says it looks like a tumor. Before we could get to the veterinary opthamologist, she woke up yesterday with a severe limp in one of her front legs. Took her for an xray today - vet says no sign of tumor/bone cancer either in xray or by physical exam. She had some slightly elevated lyme levels in the spring so he gave her a script for doxycycline and said if that doesn't help in 24-36 hours, he thinks I should think about saying goodbye. Her pain is everywhere and pretty severe. I guess the xray showed really extensive arthritis. His practice also has a vet that does acupuncture so they both talked to me about trying it. So, if the doxy helps that's fantastic. If not, I have to decide to let her go or try the acupuncture. I can't afford weekly acupuncture for long at all, and even twice a month is a budget buster. I assume if the acupuncture helps, I would need to maintain it on a regular basis? I suppose it is worth trying to see if it helps significantly, I have read such glowing reviews. It is also such a trauma to bring her into the vet, but if the acupuncture gave her quality of life back, I guess it would be worth it. I know no one can say if it would help her or if I can afford it, so what I am wondering most about is if it made a dramatic difference for a dog so afflicted with advanced arthritis. I was shocked when the vet suggested saying goodbye this week if the doxy doesn't help, not because I haven't been thinking about those things, but because I have known him to exhaust every avenue. We agreed not to deal with the eye until we see where the pain situation is going. I appreciate all thoughts. Thanks.

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What about trying Gabapentin or have you already? It helped our angel Shelby as she got older and very arthritic. It is not expensive and has helped a lot of pups with different ailments. I have heard acupuncture helps but never tried it for our pups.

Kyle with Stewie ('Super C Ledoux, Super C Sampson x Sing It Blondie) and forever missing my three angels, Jack ('Roy Jack', Greys Flambeau x Miss Cobblepot) and Charlie ('CTR Midas Touch', Leo's Midas x Hallo Argentina) and Shelby ('Shari's Hooty', Flying Viper x Shari Carusi) running free across the bridge.

Gus an coinnich sinn a'rithist my boys and little girl.

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I would increase the gabapentin dose-you would be surprised how high a dose you can give. There are other meds you can try too-such as amantadine. I would explore her ophthalmic issue first. If she has a tumor behind her eye (lymphoma) then, perhaps you do need to rethink how you're going to proceed.

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Guest Jetinma

Thanks - I am having a really difficult time. She had a narcotic shot at the vet and I have upped the meds (including the gabapentin) and taking her out to pee was brutal and felt horribly cruel. She can't get up or try to walk without extreme difficulty and crying. Maybe she will wake up with improvement...She hasn't moved for the past 5 hours. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

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What are her current doses of gabapentin & tramadol. Some docs can be stingy on those. Acupuncture can help pain. I would be very worried about the issue of eye pain. That can make her just as miserable or more than the arthritis.

 

As long as you are making these decisions with her best interest at heart your choices will be right. Adequate pain management can help extend a dog's lifetime with better quality. Sometimes though it is better to set them free of their pain.

 

Am sorry you are at this point with your girl. Helping our aging pups can be very difficult.

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Guest Jetinma

50 mg carprofen twice a day, 100 mg tramadol twice a day, now I am giving her 300 mg gabapentin 3 times a day. Yesterday she had a shot of buprenex (some kind of narcotic). No change with the doxy which is disappointing but not surprising. She is really miserable. Unless something changes this is no kind of life. The eye doesn't seem to be bothering her, but it is dripping now and the vet was sure it looked worse yesterday than Friday - I didn't see that and who knows if it is hurting her.

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Think the tramadol dose could got to 100mg x 3/day but check with the vet first. The gabapentin sounds like it might already be near max. Wish she was showing signs of improvement. :(

 

"...who knows if it is hurting her. " That's the part that always tears me up. How do I know what is or is not causing causing pain.

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I guess the xray showed really extensive arthritis.

 

Did your vet say what kind of arthritis he thinks she has, ie osteoarthritis or immune-mediated arthritis? My boy was very ill just over a year ago with a severe immune-mediated polyarthritis (at his worst unable to stand or walk or even eat/drink as it affected his jaw too and in extreme pain) and the thing that saved his life was high dose steroids. He is a big boy so he was on 100mg prednisolone daily initially. Prior to the high dose steroids, our GP vet had him on Tramadol, Gabapentin and low-dose steroids (20mg) but he was just getting worse. Within 48 hours of being referred to a specialist centre and being put on high-dose steroids he was moving around normally again. He did have to have lots of tests to rule out an underlying condition that might have triggered his immune system to overreact and start attacking his joints, such as an infection or cancer, before starting the high dose steroids.

 

I'm not suggesting that this would be the answer for your girl but just wondered if it's something your vet has considered?

SunnySophiePegsdon.jpg

When a relationship of love is disrupted, the relationship does not cease. The love continues; therefore, the relationship continues. The work of grief is to reconcile and redeem life to a different love relationship. ~ W Scott Lineberry

Always Greyhounds Home Boarding and Greyhounds With Love House Sitting

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Guest Jetinma

It was osteoarthritis. I let her go on Friday after much agonizing soul-searching. One of the things that helped me think about it were threads on this site discussing euthanasia and all the posts in which people had some regret about waiting too long. She couldn't get up without crying (despite all the pain meds) and there was the tumor in her eye. She would drink very little and her urine was getting dark. She did continue to eat lying down, though only especially yummy food. Anyway, I was able to be home with her last week and she had as much petting and comfort as we could give her. The vet came to the house and she was lying in the sun on her bed in the living room, her favorite place to be midday. I am unmoored without her. I wanted to post because I appreciate the input and thoughts from each of you.

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So sorry to hear this. :grouphug

SunnySophiePegsdon.jpg

When a relationship of love is disrupted, the relationship does not cease. The love continues; therefore, the relationship continues. The work of grief is to reconcile and redeem life to a different love relationship. ~ W Scott Lineberry

Always Greyhounds Home Boarding and Greyhounds With Love House Sitting

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Guest DeniseL

I'm so sorry. I know its soooooo hard. Have you tried adequan injections? That and acupuncture were lifesavers for my severely arthritic Maya.

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I'm so very sorry for your loss. You loved your girl, and you did right by her. Never doubt that.

 

Godspeed, sweetheart.

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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You tried everything you could to help her, but it was time to say goodbye.

This is the hardest part for all of us - how to know when.

You gave her your last gift of love and helped her on her way.

 

I'm sorry for your sweet one and I'm sorry for you having to agonize over

that dreaded decision. This is the hardest part of loving an animal.

 

Rest well now pretty girl. No more pain, no more medications, just the loving

look of your mama's face as she made the most difficult decision of her life

and set you free of your pain.

:(

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  • 2 weeks later...

Belated, but VERY sincere condolences in the loss of your Jet girl. All of us grey parents have been there & even though we see it coming, we're never truly prepared to make that decision to let them go. You made the final act of ultimate care & love; the most self-less decision to put your grey's quality of life ahead of everything else you're feeling. I feel your loss & pain especially now, as I/we may be having to make a similar decision in the near future...

Please do take good care & treasure those good memories of Jet's best days.

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