April 25th, 2007, 01:31 PM
We have a 13-year-old retriever that is really showing his age. Overall the 95-lb dog is quite healthy - his vision, hearing, digestion etc are all 100%. But instead, it seems that all the effects of age have gone to his hips instead. It was three years ago he first started getting lame, having trouble moving around and unable to stand on one hip at all. The vet would only recommend expensive surgery, but someone else suggested Glucosamine tablets. We tried them, and within three weeks he was walking around comfortably again, though he would never again run like a puppy or go for long walks. To this day, the Glucosamine has kept him alive and able to function, but in the past three years, his hips have slowly got weaker and weaker. Today, he's almost lifeless - he has a very hard time standing up, is unable to go for walks at all anymore, and often falls flat (and requires help to stand back up) when climbing stairs or walking on a smooth surface. Most people have told us we should have him done away with, but having just recently lost our only other pet (cat), we'd like to keep him alive for at least a while longer.
I once read about some kind of hemp treat for dogs, that was supposed to relieve joint pain and give them renewed energy. Is there any truth to those claims? Or perhaps are there other treatments we could give him to help boost his energy?
Any advice would be appreciated.
April 25th, 2007, 02:05 PM
What are you feeding him ? What we put into our bodies determines how well we can use them.
If Glucosamine on it's own is no longer working have you tried Glucosamine + Chondroitin + MSM ? Or a product like Sasha's Blend which is green-lipid muscles ?
April 25th, 2007, 05:10 PM
Yes, good quality diet, joint supplements like mummummum mentioned can help. The hemp claims may have been because it is a source of omega 3 & omega 6, you could use hemp oil, or salmon oil, as a supplement. Low-impact exercise such as swimming or slow walks are good, maybe learn some massage techniques, most dogs love massage. My dad's old shepherd gets acupuncture for his arthritis, you could consider that also.
April 25th, 2007, 06:13 PM
We've fed him Pedigree-brand food for years, I believe the vet recommended it. I will look into some of those other suggestions for joint pain relief.
April 25th, 2007, 06:20 PM
Please take a boo at our food forum ~ there is plenty of information on holistic blends of food which are far more nutritious and contain less filler, and potentially dangerous additives.
April 25th, 2007, 06:28 PM
See if in your area you can find shark cartilage biscuits. They'll give him some relief.
April 25th, 2007, 06:44 PM
I would also put him on a better quality food than Pedigree. Some good choices are Canidae (www.canidae.com), Innova (www.naturapet.com) and Orijen (www.championpetfoods.com). Check out the food forum here where they are discussed in detail.
Also green lipped mussel is showing promise:
Green lipped mussel is available in Sasha's Blend and Pernaease:
April 25th, 2007, 06:52 PM
Also, if you do not see improvement and he is in pain and no longer has quality of life then he isn't happy. Please do not prolong his life for your benefit.
April 25th, 2007, 07:41 PM
Thirteen years is a good life for a retriever. I know it is not something you want to face but you must look at quality of life. You must ask yourself if you are trying to extend his life for him or for you?
At this age I wouldn't change his food. If he has gotten this far on that food and is doing okay except for his hips then there is no need to change.
There are pain medications available that can help. You can also ask your vet for Sasha's Blend.
A few years ago I was faced with a very similar situation with my golden girl. She was almost 13 at the time and had arthritis in her hips. She too would fall at times and I would have to pick up her back end to get her going again. One day she got sick and was diagnosed with heart failure. Three days later I had to make the awful decision to end her suffering as she was not going to get any better. Medication would have prolonged her life but the quality was never going to be the same. It was difficult but I knew I was doing what was right for her. She had given me almost 13 years of love and the least I could do for her was let her go and end her suffering.
April 25th, 2007, 09:38 PM
My first thought is that 95lbs is a lot for a retreiver to weigh, either a golden or a labrador, I would also check that your dog is not carrying too much extra weight. Problems with the hips could be greatly aggrivated with axcess lbs. I would though look for some painkillers or joint supplements, but I too feel that it may not be in your dogs best interest to keep them around if they are really that uncomfortable.
April 26th, 2007, 05:18 AM
It is a very hard decision to make, to put your mate down, but sooner or later it has to be made. I have tears in my eyes thinking about it. I had an old shepherd who went in the hips and despite being very bright and enthusiastic, once he couldn't get up by himself, i had to act straight away. If they lie about all their other organ functions deteriorate, fluid builds up, its not good. He's had a good life, give him a good end.
April 26th, 2007, 10:38 AM
I have a 9 nine year old Yellow Lab/Cocker mix. He was dignosed with hip dyplasia very recently however I have had him glucosamine for three plus years. I switch to Flavocin. It has helped Lucky tremendously. The vets wanted to put Lucky on NSAIDs however he did not take to them very well. I have been using Flavocin for 6 months now and I really have noticed a big difference. He does not whine when getting up or down; he is still slow at getting up and down however he does not whine. He likes to go for walks and runs in the backyard and goes for rides in the big truck again. I totally recommend Flavocin. www.flavocin.com
April 27th, 2007, 10:04 AM
Your post really resonates with me as I also have an older retriever, Lab, and she has some similar problems. I'm confused though. Was your post the day of some acute failure, not being able to stand, that has resolved? For an acute episode like that you must go to the Vet. At your dog's age it could be something other than just the progression of an earlier diagnoses (displaysia? You don't say) of hip problems.
You go on to ask specifically about boosting his energy. My own old girl's experience may not be relative but here it is, just in case it helps you. If it is a case of lethargy but the physical ability still exists to some extent, (determined by you in conjunction with your Vet to be not outside the bounds of reasonable exertion and not painful) then this might help and it is so simple. I find my girl's outlook is so improved by regular walks to NEW places. She is bored going down the same old path. It does not take a miracle drug, just a new place to walk. Even going down the side of the forest road and into the bush is exciting to her. Of course I am lucky to live in a rural area with lots of trails where she can be off-leash. She can no longer walk from our house to get to many of our old stomping grounds so now I put her in the car and we drive somewhere for a 20 or 30 minute walk where before we would walk somewhere for a 2 or 3 hour walk. It makes her day, her face lights up and her whole demeanour changes. She needs the mental stimulation of a new place (or a place not visited for a while) to keep her happy and going. I must stress though that if you think this might help your pooch you should OK it with your Vet.
April 27th, 2007, 06:25 PM
That Flavocin stuff sounds quite intriguing... has anyone else had any luck with it? I see I can order it through their website, but I wonder if it's available from a store or vet instead?
Yes the dog is slightly overweight, the vet said he should be about 80 lbs. In fact, if you look at pictures taken 10 years ago, you'd hardly recognize the dog because he's so much thinner (and younger looking of course). I think the culprit has been too many table scraps; I only give him small pieces of dry crackers but my Dad still slips him scraps of meat from the table. I've been telling him for years to stop giving the dog this stuff but it's like talking to a wall.... you don't know what my family is like.
I will check into that Flavocin and perhaps an alternative to Pedigree dog food, and maybe this old dog can keep going another year or so. If not for the lame hips he'd still be as healthy as he was 10 years ago.