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Old December 16th, 2011, 09:57 AM
theBears theBears is offline
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Help with Dysplastic Dog


I've been lurking here for a while, reading up on various dog subjects but this is the first time I'm posting. If this is in the wrong part of the forum, apologies and please let me know.

My husband and I adopted a dog 2 years ago. We are her 3rd owners as her first owner didn't want her anymore and her second owner couldn't keep her because of a growing family and a lack of time etc. She is now 7.5 years old. Her name is Sharey and she is a sweet, affectionate female husky x (people have speculated that she could be part lab, sheppard, etc and some even see wolf in her) who is usually really active and playful. About a month ago we noticed that she was crying when going up stairs and just generally didn't want to move around too much. I took her to the vet and after x-rays it was determined she was at the very beginning of stage 1 hip dysplasia. She seemed to be getting better and we opted to avoid the drugs they suggested (Metacam) because of side effects and decided to instead try glucosamine, Omega 3 oils and SAMe. She is also overweight (her previous owners put almost 30lbs on her according to the vet records I have been given) and we have been working on reducing her weight since we got her. Its been a slow process but it is coming off. The vet said she needs to get another 10lbs off her frame so we've switched her to low cal dog food. I was putting the glucosamine, Omega 3 oils and SAMe in her food and she was fine with that. She seemed to be getting better until last week Friday she jumped out of the car (for some strange reason, she came out the drivers door before I could get her door open) and must have landed funny because she yelped. For the rest of the day, she wouldn't get up and actually went and laid in the kitchen and shivered. Really odd behavior for her so I took her to the vet that afternoon. They looked at her and thought she'd aggravated the dysplasia and we agreed to start her on Metacam. On Monday, there was no improvement (they thought there would be after 3 days) so I phoned the vet and they wanted me to bring her in. Up to this point, we're at about $900 and I cannot afford another trip to the vet. They are saying that they may need to do MRI's to determine the issue and die injections and all kinds of things because maybe it isn't dysplasia. Well, I cannot afford more tests which could very well come back as inconclusive or showing soft tissue damage which would heal on its own. We (the vet and I) decided on pain killers called Tramadol in addition to the Metacam.

So we've been trying to give her the pills (Tramadol) but she is in pain and is not eating much and they have to be taken with food. Also, the Metacam (liquid) has to be taken with food so I put that in her food too. I tried putting the Tramadol in pill pockets but she pulls the pill pocket apart and eats everything except the pill. So it is really difficult to get the pills into her which she is supposed to have 3 times a day. I'm at my wits end with that and decided to try adding a chondroitin and glucosamine supplement along with MSM. I give her the chon. and gluc. which comes in a capsule that you can break apart and put the powder on her food. She has this Wednesday night and Thursday morning in her food. She then gets really bad diarrhea and gas that could peel paint (sorry if that is TMI). She must feel just awful. She now refuses to eat anything. I washed her food bowl thoroughly so there are no traces of anything in it and put new food in that I cooked for her that she likes. She will only smell it and then looks at me like I'm possibly trying to poison her.

So I'm really not sure what to do. She is too smart for the pill pockets and now won't eat so I have no way of getting meds into her. Should I get her a new food bowl? Try feeding her in a different place? At this point she probably regards anything coming from me with suspicion (which hurts because I'm the one she comes to when she isn't feeling well or is hurt). Should my husband try and feed her? Any ideas/comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

Also, my house looks like a pharmacy and I can't possibly try and get that many meds into her in any one day. I'm at a loss on what to be giving her to help the dysplasia. My preference is not to use the Metacam since after 3 days there was no improvement and the side effects that I've read about are awful. I would also prefer not to be giving her the Tramadol which I think is a human pain killer and also has side effects. So any experience with this condition and what worked would also be beneficial. She needs to lose weight so getting her moving again is super important.

Thanks for reading this hugely, long post!
The Bear Family
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Old December 16th, 2011, 10:10 AM
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Winston Winston is offline
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Wow sounds like you have had it rough lately! Can you try crushing the pill and mixing it into the food? Try cheese , hotdogs, piece of bread? you could also trying adding something stinky to the food after crushing the pill so she cant smell it.

I have used the metacam before. You can get a liquid form and a pill form ? which one are you using?
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Old December 16th, 2011, 10:34 AM
theBears theBears is offline
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Originally Posted by Winston View Post
Wow sounds like you have had it rough lately! Can you try crushing the pill and mixing it into the food? Try cheese , hotdogs, piece of bread? you could also trying adding something stinky to the food after crushing the pill so she cant smell it.

I have used the metacam before. You can get a liquid form and a pill form ? which one are you using?
Hmmm, cheese. I hadn't thought of that option! Maybe I can get a lower fat cheese and try putting the pills in there? She likes cheese a lot and will maybe swallow it whole without pulling it apart! We've tried bread but she pulls it apart, eats the bread and leaves the pill. She's a crafty one!

We have the liquid Metacam. I've read about a side effect of bleeding ulcers if they don't eat with it so I was putting in on her food as she seemed to be eating only about once a day (that is when she was still eating) and I didn't want a big span of time between the meds and when she ate.
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Old December 16th, 2011, 11:22 AM
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I know it would be another vet visit, but it might be worth taking her to a completely different vet and having her looked at with a completely different set of eyes. It's possible that the jump did not aggravate the dysplasia, but instead caused some soft-tissue damage. If you can find a vet with some orthopedic experience they might be able to diagnose the injury without too many expensive tests.

My big concern would be that she's not eating. We've had dysplastic dogs and even at their worst, they never lost their appetite from the condition. What happens if you discontinue the pain meds? Is she immediately more painful in the leg? If she's not, I think I would hold off on the Tramadol and Metacam for a while and see if her appetite improves. We've had dogs lose appetite on Tramadol before.

How are her stools? Is she urinating on schedule? Poopin' on schedule?
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