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Hi all,, question about aging BC and hip dysplasia


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Hi all, I have a 13yo bc.He has been with us his whole life and does have hip dysplasia.He is also deaf.His hips are getting worse.Some days he is in severe pain and will barely move his back legs just taking either baby steps or hopping.He can no longer get up on the furniture and we bought him a bed which he loves..The vet recommended either Aspirin(which we give him anyway on bad days) or Rimadyl.The thing is Ive heard bad things about Rimadyl and after my little chihuahua broke her leg the vet gave us the Rimadyl and it made her very sick.

Ive not used the glucosamine/chondroiten either as my moms dog started vomiting blood after a few weeks of taking this.


Also I dont know when to decide that he has just had enough..I was told by the vet that if a dog shows pain that he is in even more pain then that.In other words he could be in tremendous pain and not even show it till its unbearable.So how does one decide? I am not the kind of person to let a pet suffer because Im selfish and want them to stay longer then they are able.But I know he still has good days and has fun too.Im definitely not ready and I dont believe he is either but I do know that day is coming.


Any help or ideas to make his last days more comfortable? How much longer do I let this go on??

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Hi, Joann, and welcome to the boards. Having a pair of 13-year-olds myself right now, I can appreciate what you're facing with your dog, too.


I do think that when our companions are older and have medical issues we're just managing, we are constantly re-evaluating their quality of life and making treatment decisions accordingly. But, at least from your initial post, I wouldn't be ready to give up on your dog just yet.


I am really sorry to hear of your mom's dog's bad reaction to glucosamine supplements, but I think you'll find far more people have used them over extended periods of time without problems than have had problems. In fact, your mom's dog's reaction was the first bad one I've heard about, and I've had one or more dogs on such supplements for probably close to a decade. The specific product I've used with success is the Glycoflex line (from Vetri-Science), but I'm sure other folks here can recommend other options, as well. In your situation, I would probably try at least a glucosamine/chondroiten supplement and maybe some other supplements.


But, of course, you know your dog and can best determine his current quality of life. I believe someone here posted a link in a previous discussion to a protocol people can follow as they are making decisions about dogs in more hospice-type situations. I'm not finding it right now, but I remember thinking it was a helpful set of questions and issues to consider.


Best of luck as you care for and make decisions for your dog. What's his name, by the way? :rolleyes:

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While there are risks to the use of NSAIDs (Rimadyl, Metacam, etc), they can be wonderful in taking away serious pain and restoring quality of life. I used it on 2 old dogs a few years ago after weighing the risks. I decided I would rather have my old girls lead a shorter life if it meant comfort. My old Golden and my old BC took it for 3+ years and the biggest side effect was my wallet was a lot lighter.


Talk to your vet about your options.


Give your old girl a scritch for me...old dogs have a special place in my heart.

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My dog has been on daily glucosamine, ester-c and fish oil for over 5 years and has had no side effects. He has hip dysplasia, but you would hardly know it except on really cold days or sometimes after a really long game of frisbee. I also had an old dog that was on Rimadyl for her last year of life. It definitely increased her quality of life. I would have had to put her down because of the pain if I hadn't used it.

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I've never heard of a dog having a bad reaction to glucosomine/chondroitin. Are you sure it was actually related to the supplement and not from something else? Mick gave me a scare once puking blood...dumbass ate pine needles and they scratched up his throat. My mother had a GSD that was on glucosomine for much of her life and rimadyl for the last few years of her life. She didn't suffer any significant side effects and none from the glucosomine. She was a great dog with the family, but an absolute health/temperment mess. Ah, yes, a wonderful example of an AKC show GSD. Her temperament cut her show career short (although she did show well). She eventually was PTS at 10 or so due to cancer, after being riddled with hip dysplasia and pannus.


Mick has been prescribed rimadyl a couple times, once after his neutering and once after an injury...neither time did he suffer any side effects, except I took him off it after a day both times. Pain killers were making him run around too much, instead of resting, but Mick was under two years old in both cases...plus he already suffers from a seemingly total lack of self-preservation.

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I guess it could have been something besides the chondroiton.I was just going by what she told me.It was an older rottie that actually ended up dying that same year. Maybe something else was wrong.

But Ive really scared of the Rimadyl, Ive read that BC were very sensitive to it.IDK has anyone tried Tramadol for thier dogs? Its what my sisters dog was taking and it worked well for them without any side affects.

I do think it is time for something on an everyday basis instead of just once in awhile.

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I've had Border collies on Rimadyl on a long-term basis with absolutely no problems. I've also heard of dogs who couldn't tolerate it.


You do need to be careful of "vicious circles". Dog is in pain because joints hurt; doesn't use affected limb; muscles atrophy; limbs hurt more; dog uses affected limb less... This is why they say that exercise is the best therapy for hip dysplasia. But this is only effective if the dog is exercising all affected limbs equally, which is why pain medication is not just a matter of keeping your pet from suffering, it's actually a form of therapy.


I tend to give my dogs Rimadyl only the morning dose; that helps them feel like exercising, which in turn builds up muscle mass that stabilizes the hips that keeps everything in place. (My dogs don't tend to exercise much between dinnertime and breakfast). Just make sure you do a baseline blood test (for liver function) and repeat it periodically. You might also consider giving any dog on such therapy milk thistle and SAM-E for liver support.


Tramadol, I think, has more of a narcotic effect. I've only used it on a short-term basis (a day or two after neutering; a week or two after more major surgery). It's nice to have the narcotic effect after surgery when you need to keep them quiet, but on a chronic (routine) basis?


I've also had dogs on joint supplements (Dasuquin) with absolutely no evidence of adverse effects. I do know that Adequan (injections) CAN have adverse interactions with steroids (e.g., prednisone) because of its anti-clotting tendencies; that's why it's a prescription drug. I also have heard a lot of people swear by it for hip dysplasia and related joint issues.


I think dogs also benefit from fish oils for hip dypslasia but perhaps that's more if given when it's first discovered rather than when arthritis has set in? You'd have to ask a vet about that one.


But every dog is different. My current Border collie can't tolerate metronidazole - he vomits profusely. You never know until you try something. Just be vigilant.


And good luck!

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Forgive me if you've already done this and just haven't mentioned it, but have you had a sit-down with your vet in which you review your dog's current health situation, lay out your concerns, and collect all of the vet's treatment ideas so you can bring that information home and research your options further? I know it can be helpful to solicit people's opinions in a forum like this one--and I am also learning from reading folks' replies--but I don't think there is any substitute for a serious talk with a vet who knows you and has treated your dog.


I think this talk would give you a chance to present your goals for your dog and to learn what (medically and behaviorally) can help meet those goals. Then you can take some time to think over those options and do more research before getting back to your vet to decide on a plan of care. I know that, especially with my seniors, it helps me to have some time to process my options so that I can come to a decision I'm comfortable with. And my vet is really good about talking me through things on the phone: for example, I can call her and say, "Here are the five things I'm thinking might help, and I want to try them in this order for these reasons. Do you see any problems with this plan, or would you suggest any revisions to it?"


Then, I can put a plan into place with more confidence and less second-guessing or worrying--and I can sleep easier at night knowing that I've done a reasonable amount of work on my end to make the best decisions for my dogs. I am really fortunate to have a vet who respects my choices, and I hope you do, too. It makes senior care so much easier!

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I am on a low dose of Tramadol for my pain. I was give the option of Vicoden or oxycontin...but I asked for a lower dose pain pill that was not like Vicoden. I was on the oxycontine after my open heart surgery and it made me really doopy..it did work but I wanted off it asap.


The Tramodal helps me with my permanent shoulder and chest pain, just enough for it not to hurt but not high enough to make me feel drugged. We had it on Shiro, the old dog for the last part of her life and it helped her quite a bit.


Tess is on gluco/chron/ha, etc and she runs around like a pup. I give her Metacam if I see her get stiff. She alos get nightly massages from me and goes to the chiro. I changed to a good dog food and she is on the dog supplements as well as yucca powder. The chiro just suggest to put her on salmon ol...so I will get her some of that (as well as me)


She also swims which helps her TONS! She can still clear a four foot fence. She is over 12 yrs old.

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Joann, you have my sympathy. We've had to let 3 old dogs go in as many years, and it's never easy.


As for glucosamine/chondroitant, I honestly think your mother's dog had to've reacted to something else. I've known countless dogs to use it to no ill effects, and we give it to our old guys, too. My 11-1/2 year old BC gets a chewie every morning with breakfast, as does my husband's 11 year old Corgi mix. The Corgi-X had gotten so stiff he couldn't even hop into my hubby's Kia sedan, but now on glucosamine, he's 100% better and even is back to balancing on his haunches for tricks.


Granted, your old guy with dysplasia has a harder go, but I think within 3 weeks you'd see some improvement. I have no fear of joint supplements and I think it's so worth a try.


As for Rimadyl ... it does work. So I'd say it's a case of balancing your dog's pain now against the relief he may get until you have to let him go. Talk to your vet, talk to several vets, but don't base your decision on the scare stories on the internet. Your dog's comfort is your measuring stick and I think you'll know when it's time. But do try a good joint supplement. It'll take a couple weeks to load on but it can only help. You may even be pleasantly surprised. :rolleyes:


Also, they do make low dose dog asprin. I keep some for use with my dogs. Children's asprin works, too. If you give it with some food, I think it would be easier on his tummy. :D


Good luck, and hug your sweet old thing for me. :D

Cheers ~



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If you are concerned about rimadyl then ask the vet about alternatives. I am currently using deramaxx instead of rimadyl but have no issue rimadyl. Once of my acds was on it for a couple months at a time. She is accident prone. My toy poodle was even on it after his back issues.


I would sit down with your vet and find out the different options. If the vet is only willing to give you 2-3 options when there are obviously more out there then maybe you need a second opinion.


I am a firm believer in Quality of Life, not Quantity of life. If there is a drug out there to help a dog be pain-free for whatever time they have left I am all for it even if it shortens the lifespan.


It is hard to make decisions. My eldest is 12 now (one of the acds and the accident prone one) and well she is starting to show her age. She still plays flyball after 2 knee surgeries but those days are also numbered. All I can say is good luck.

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Shonie is on Metacam, a non steroidal anti inflammatory, and Tramadol daily. If I forget/run out of one or the other, I see the difference pretty quick.


The Tramadol is an opiate, I think, but my vet is fairly conservative when it comes to drug use, particularly long term, and he has no problem recommending the Metacam/Tramadol regimen.


I agree with Kim, who I see is up to 5 devils now :rolleyes: Quality of life is crucial, and more important for these active, very intelligent dogs than quantity. I hope you're able to find some things to help your boy get the most out of life.



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I have a co-worker who has a medium size dog with bad hips as well and he has switched his dog to hills prescription diet j/d. now i know hills isnt the greatest food out there but the amount of supplements for the joints is very high and he has seen a huge improvement just on this food alone. before i would never really believe in all of these vet diets but some of them actually help and i would never had known until he tried it himself. just another thought to go along with his other medications. also fatty acid supplements help with inflammation not a great deal but it can also help (ie. eicosacaps) and GlycoFlex III is a must...

unfortunately, all the NSAIDS all put some type of stress on the liver so make sure you do frequent blood panels to monitor.... But if you use all the supplements you may be able to lower the dosage with NSAIDS.

warming pads help too...


I know there are tons of things that you can try and i know most of them will help make him feel more comfortable, but only you and your pet will know when its time. i think dogs and the owners have a special language that no one else will understand except the two of you... its just part of the bond that you create....


wishing you the best...

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