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Old August 21st, 2009, 02:47 PM
friend2animals friend2animals is offline
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Arthritis, Muscle loss, and Balance

This post is intended for the online Vet(s).

NOTE: Seeking additional professional opinion(s).

My 14 1/2 yr. old dog is now suffering from a balance problem. She is already being treated with Deramaxx for her stiffness, and it helps. Her ability to get up from a down position is becoming noticeably more difficult for her, and on occasion when we are out walking, she trips over her own feet. I have spoken to my Vet about this, and I was told it was connected to muscle loss and nerve degeneration.

Her backside strength has become increasingly weak, and I am worried. She is old, and other than these problems that I have mentioned, she seems to be doing fine in the eating, watering, and peeing areas. She has been taking "Lactulose" on occasion. But in the past few months, it hasn't been necessary to give her this supplement.

Does she need a different medication? Is Holistic treatment the way to go?
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Old August 25th, 2009, 01:23 AM
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Dr Lee Dr Lee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by friend2animals View Post
This post is intended for the online Vet(s).


My 14 1/2 yr. old dog is now suffering from a balance problem. She is already being treated with Deramaxx for her stiffness, and it helps. Her ability to get up from a down position is becoming noticeably more difficult for her, and on occasion when we are out walking, she trips over her own feet. I have spoken to my Vet about this, and I was told it was connected to muscle loss and nerve degeneration.

Does she need a different medication? Is Holistic treatment the way to go?
For any poster, I want to answer everyone's questions, but sometimes unable to spend as much volunteer time as I would like here. Please PM me to catch my attention to a thread and I will answer. I might not have the answers, but I will respond.

I am sorry to hear about the problems that your pet is having. It sounds like there may be two or three problems that are overlapping. It seems that there is nerve degeneration and arthritis. The muscle loss is likely secondary to both of these. Furthermore the 'loss of balance' may be the advancement of the nerve degeneration or may be a primary problem such as disease within the vestibular system (inner ear infection, inflammation, primary nerve disease, tumor, etc...)

When we have nerve deficits and arthritis, it can be difficult to figure where one begins and the other ends. I typically recommend that the arthritis is addressed with an aggressive pain plan. If the Derramax is not cutting it - then we might want to add glucosamine/chondroitin/msm supplement, omega 3 fatty acids for the EPA content, and tramadol. Sometimes a dog may need to have the NSAID switched - note that there has to be a 'dry out period' for this. There are also other medications that can be tried, such as gabapentin, in case there is a neurologic pain component.

If money is not a concern, then a neurologist consultation might be helpful. They may be able to help illuminate how much of the clinical signs are neurologic and what the best options are. Perhaps there is a slipped disc, etc... Furthermore chest, abdominal and spinal radiographs might be helpful.

As far as holistic options.... I think that acupuncture has shown great benefits to pets with both neurologic and arthritic diseases. Magnet therapy, K Lasers, and physical therapy/massage have also shown great benefits and may be worth some exploration.

I hope this helps. I am sorry that I cannot give you a precise answer. It is difficult because without more information and probably having the pet in front of me; there might be several different directions to go.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 01:35 AM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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There's Cartrophen Vet as well that can be used in combination with the other treatments ? We've found it's helped with the mobility of our senior.
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Old August 25th, 2009, 11:45 AM
friend2animals friend2animals is offline
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Thanx so much for your suggestion, luckypenny! Also, if you don't mind me asking, what additional treatments have you been implementing with regards to your senior?
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Old August 25th, 2009, 12:24 PM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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I wish I could say lots more but this is fairly new to us. We've only adopted him a little over a month ago (he was never treated for arthritis previously ) so we're starting from scratch.

Growler was so kind to provide this link on Cartrophen Vet in another thread:

http://www.arthritis.au.com/DMOAD.2006.FINAL.pdf

Aside from Glucosamine/MSM/Chondroitin, salmon oil, vitamin E, and Tramadol, I apply a warm heating cushion and massage gently at least twice per day. Unfortunately, he can't take Nsaids as he has problems with digestion/diarrhea etc that we haven't gotten to the bottom of yet.

Dh and ds have built a ramp to enable him to comfortably get to and from the yard...we always stay with him though, both for company and in case he needs a hand. We've also placed runners right through the house so there's less of a chance of slipping as well as provide him some traction in order to lay down and get up easier. He also has an orthopedic baby crib mattress that he prefers to sleep on. I guess it provides both support and comfort for his aching bones and muscles .
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Old August 26th, 2009, 01:39 AM
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TeriM TeriM is offline
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My senior lab is 13.5 years now and has some of the issues you described. We have been doing the cartophen shots described above for over a year now and give daily doses of previcox (NSAID) as well. I have had some great success with IMS http://www.intramuscularstimulation.com/2.htm treatments and recently started chiropractic treatments when she began to have noticable hind end weakness. I have noticed that the swimming we have done this summer has also helped her range of motion so will consider using hydrotherapy in the fall when the water gets to cold. Exercise is quite important to maintain muscle strength so make sure to walk every day even if it is just at a sauntering pace. I think that exercise also helps our pets from being depressed when they aren't feeling so well . I also have a ramp to go into our back yard but she is still okay to handle our inside stairs although I discourage her from using them unless necessary. We have lots of area rugs and runners as slippery floors are difficult for her.

I have recently begun some homeopathic treatments. Lucy has chronic liver problems and probably some kidney problems. For the arthritis and muscle soreness on active days we have had good results supplementing with arnica. Others have had good results with other homeopathic treatments for arthritis.

I feed a raw diet and supplement with salmon oil, high quality glucosamine/MSM etc supplement (try this one http://www.recoverysa.com/) and various other supplements relating to her liver issues.
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