Elderly labrador

680 viewsCanine Arthritis Management
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Hello all.  I have a 12-year-old female chocolate Labrador weighs around 30kg.  For the past 3/4 years, she has suffered with her back legs and the vets advised it was arthritis.  She also has pancreatitis, and 2 years ago she suffered from some form of neck/back seizure.

She is a very energetic dog and loves being out, usually 2 half hour walks and one hour walk a day, we like to keep it the same.  Up until a couple of days ago, she seemed to be the same as always, stiff when waking but after an early walk was ok.  But now she is having problems sitting, its as if she cant bend her back leg.  Also when having a bowel movement she releases a little bit then jumps up and moves away to do a bit more.

She is on Yumove and one 120mg Carprodyl daily (Vet’s advice) and also has a memory foam bed.  I am trying to find out if there is anything more I can be doing for her to help, she doesn’t appear to be in pain like she did with pancreatitis or neck/back pain.

 

Thanks

 

Janine

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She is a perfect weight for her height according to the vet, she is a tall choc lab, but she is heavier at the front so I guess she is using these muscles more to compensate for the back leg.

I would try and get her weight down, keeping them slightly under their ideal weight reduces pressure on joints.  Look at gradually decreasing her weight by around 5%, so about 1.5kg off and see if that helps.  My collie has an ideal weight of around 18kg but keeping her below 17.5kg improves her mobility a lot.  When judging weight go by the look and feel of the dog not weight charts or height charts.  I don’t have any images on my computer at the moment but if you search for dog body scoring charts it will bring some up to show you what you are looking for.

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Thank you for the reply.  I have tried hydrotherapy but she really only likes to swim in the sea and I could see it was stressing her out.  When I reduce her walks, i.e because like now it is too hot to take her during the day, her joints seem to get worse.  I may look into massage therapy though as she does seem to like it when I massage her legs.

She is a perfect weight for her height according to the vet, she is a tall choc lab, but she is heavier at the front so I guess she is using these muscles more to compensate for the back leg.

Thanks for the advice, just want to do all I can for her in her old age

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I second what Kathryn says Janine.

Have a look at our website to help you identify how your dog is showing you signs of chronic pain;

Identifying Signs of Arthritis

 

Looking at home modifications such as rugs on slippery floors, avoiding stairs, exercising within her limitations and complementary therapies will all help. Everything is there on the website to help you along, but being able to identify her chronic pain indicators (stiffness for example and now, how she is sitting) will help you to decide what things work for her and what doesn’t.

Is she overweight? Weight loss has a massive impact on aiding pain relief, relieving load on the joints as well as fat being an inflammatory source – fuel on the fire. Ask your vet nurse for their opinion and advice.

Also,  I can only make assumptions but the neck/back pain may have been related to muscle pain, caused by muscles used in compensation for the joints that aren’t working properly. So, she may be heavy at the front end as these muscles are used to pull her forward, as she avoids using her hindlimbs to propel her forwards, if this makes sense. These muscles are overworked, tense and sore. Massage or Myotherapy may well be very beneficial to her if this does apply to her.

Answered question
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Hi there.

With chronic pain the signs are usually more subtle as compared to the acute pain of pancreatitis.

Perhaps consider if massage therapy might be good for her? Or could you replace one of her days walking with a hydrotherapy session as this will place less impact on the joints.

Have you tried reducing the lengths of her walks at all to see if she is better with less exercise?

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