Author Topic: Canine arthritis  (Read 262 times)

Fiz

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Canine arthritis
« on: 25 May 2020 03:49PM »
I hope it's okay to have a thread on health of a dog! 

My dog Tizzie was taken by my daughter to a lady who has fostered my dog two or three times before when I have been in hospital when I went into hospital in March. Before that Tizzie was healthy and fit and was being walked every week by a professional walker for miles at pace. She will be eleven towards the end of July and knowing Golden Retrievers are prone to hip problems I had researched a breeder who had a litter from a bitch and stud dog both of whom had been scored at the lowest scores possible for hip and elbow problems so felt she was unlikely to experience any problems until she was old. I was in hospital ten days and the lady kindly kept her two extra weeks because I had a second bout of pneumonia once home and was very weak and incapacitated and she would have kept her longer if I hadn't been very insistent about Tizzie being returned. I got no answer from many messages and was considering calling the police! Prior to that, the lady had always responded to any message within minutes but it was clear for some reason she didn't want to return her. I wondered at the time if the lady judged me for why I had been in hospital but the reason could have been concern for Tizzie. On returning her the lady stayed at a distance and my Tizzie came straight to me all excited but immediately I could see Tizzie was hunched and in pain. The lady said that Tizzie has been stiff and in pain and that her back legs are weak and had given way. Later in the conversation she mentioned having to stop Tizzie playing with her daughter's six month old black Labrador puppy because it was too much for her. I'd seen videos of her in the past romping with the puppy as they do and loving it. So I thought that was a strange comment. Also I have always kept Tizzie at a healthy weight and am always praised by the vet for that when I take her for her annual jabs and Tizzie was overweight and round with no sign of a waist. During the first two days Tizzie couldn't get up or down stairs and was obviously in severe pain and very stiff. I telephoned my Godmother who although has only owned terriers is a highly qualified dog groomer and so I felt she might have knowledge of conditions and might give me advice. She recommended YuMove a joint supplement and I ordered that straight away and she's been on the maximum dose of that since as well as another joint supplement. My first conversation with the vet was the vet saying this arthritis seeing as it came on so suddenly and severely would most likely have been triggered by an injury and that now she will possibly have a chronic injury but also that it has triggered arthritis that she would have got soon at her age any way. It's now a matter of managing her pain as much as possible to give her the best quality of life and "hopefully get a few years out of her"  >crying< . Tizzie is on daily NSAID medication to reduce pain and inflammation and that mostly has improved things though there are occasions when her legs just buckle and she can barely get up. I've managed to get her weight back to normal so she's a healthy weight again now. 

The vet said that lying around would make her stiffness and pain worse so I should walk her three or four times a day for short walks. No sprinting or throwing balls or anything. Obviously I am shielding so can't walk her like I would like to. When I first had this instruction I walked her twice daily in the park adjacent to my house. It's so adjacent we step from my drive onto the grass in the park and no lead is needed. I never met anyone in the park so felt that the risk to me was minimal. I never touch anything in the park and don't even touch my footwear. When I was taking her twice, Tizzie was definitely in less pain and less stiff and had managed to get upstairs to bed and down in the morning with no problem, well slowly and wobbly but no collapse and no obvious pain. 

Since the restrictions eased I went to take her into the park in the afternoon and found groups of people kicking a football about and other groups of teens or a family group sat on the grass chatting and that freaked me so I came back in. So she's just had the one walk a day since that Thursday and her pain has visibly worsened and her back legs have completely buckled several times and it breaks my heart to see it. Her health comes before mine in many ways so I'm pushing through my Covid fear to take her out. But really she needs at least another walk each day to keep her mobile and pain free, the one walk a day isn't enough. I am frightened that if I walk in the park with people in it that even if I keep as much distance as possible, some friendly person might come and try to have a 2 metre social distancing chat and I want people 100 metres away minimum and that would freak me out. So that has prevented my second walk so far but her increasing pain and weakness is pushing me to take action and go anyway and try and keep well away from people.

I've never owned a dog with arthritis. I did expect her to get arthritis in her last year or two but thought it would be a gradual slow decline and when she was at least two years older before any sign of it so this has been a massive shock. Almost certainly she injured herself playing with the puppy (not the lady's fault, it could have happened in my park when she was playing with any other dog) and that has triggered her into major arthritis. I am hating seeing her in pain and am so frustrated at this Covid thing preventing me from going into the park three or four times a day for a few minutes. It's a grass area in the middle of a housing estate so not large. Perfect for her to run around though and there are bushes that border the railway line that she loves exploring and because it's small I don't need to walk far. Hardly at all on bad pain days, I can take a few steps into the park and she runs off for a while and comes back. If there wasn't one more entrance to the park that she could run out of, I would do that more but her hearing isn't great following ear infections (another Golden Retriever thing) so I can't be that far from her to make sure she comes when I call. I have worked hard at improving her recall though so she's much better at coming immediately when I call which is reassuring. I have wondered about lead walking her around the block but worry my pain will get to a point when I can't get back which is always my worry when walking and that I will meet someone and need to cross roads to avoid them or won't be able to avoid other walkers. This must be an issue for other dog owners who need to shield for their own protection. She can no longer go on her walks with the dog walker even though he's started up again. She went once but collapsed and it was a few minutes before she could stand.

All I know is that she is in more pain and is much weaker just since having just one park walk so I just have to face my fear and take her out a second time. I am finding it so hard seeing her so weak. Poor baby. She's my sole companion and I just hadn't expected such a sudden deterioration. I knew I would find this end stage hard as I'm not good at watching people in pain but hadn't expected it to happen in a period of under four weeks from a fit healthy dog that can walk and run miles to a dog that collapses and staggers to stand and walk. It's like my young healthy dog returned ten years older. Most days as I hobble round the park in pain, I think I must look like I'm 80, I think we're a right pair. 

Grateful for advice on arthritic dogs. I think we're in this for the long haul.

Sunshine

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Re: Canine arthritis
« Reply #1 on: 26 May 2020 09:56AM »
 >bighugs<

Megs my border collie had arthritis and was given Gabapentin and Tramadol, I think from onset to saying goodbye to her was about three years. She kept her spark for a long time and was able to play with Bran when we got him as a puppy in 2015 and we were never told that she need to be walked to reduce her pain. In my opinion it is unfair on you and your dog to push so hard to go out because of the distress it causes you and the fact she will feel that distress. How about playing ball and fetch etc with her in the garden get her moving to and fro, and see how she goes?

Fiz

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Re: Canine arthritis
« Reply #2 on: 03 Jun 2020 11:14AM »
The vet told me no ball play because sprinting is harmful for worn joints apparently. The reason I walk her round the park is because on the days that I don't, her pain and stiffness is so much worse the following day. The articles I have read say that not moving stiffens up the joints. It's good that she follows me around the downstairs during the day though because that's keeping her moving. 

I'm kind of thinking that the medication and park walks will give her about three years so that fits with your dog too. 

She's definitely still enjoying life and the pain killers are working well so for now we are okay.

huhn

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Re: Canine arthritis
« Reply #3 on: 03 Jun 2020 12:21PM »
how is it with swimming?
just thinking warm water is good and taking weight off must help.

other little comment ,as a child i had a hamster .he was over 3 years old and had a stroke and was like a very old man.

Fiz

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Re: Canine arthritis
« Reply #4 on: 15 Jun 2020 04:20PM »
She collapsed just after she got out of a pond she'd been swimming in recently but she does love swimming. Our vet recommended hydrotherapy for her and she'd love that as she adores water.  And wearing the buoyancy jacket would mean it would strengthen her joints in a gentle and bearable way. The canine hydrotherapy pools are all open again now but my local pool wasn't taking on new dogs so there's a waiting list but having spoken to the business owner when she realised that I wasn't looking for a weekly slot (can't afford that) she said she would squeeze Tizzie in here and there so she has her assessment session the week after next. I'm hopeful that with having got the pain under control that strengthening her back legs and hip ligaments in the water should make a big difference.  Here's hoping.