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arthritis in 17 year old dog

Species: Dog
Breed: White German Shepard
Age: More than 15 ye
I have a 17 year old female german shepard/black lab/collie mix that weighs 45 pounds. She has been having trouble getting up from a lying position. She suffers from arthritis and we've been treating her with aspirin. She is still able to stand and walk and she is still eating and drinking very well. She does urinate and deficate in the house though. Both my boyfriend and I work, so she is alone a portion of the day. Two weeks ago she couldn't get up from a lying position, and when we found her, she had tried so hard to get up that she actually wore a quarter sized open wound on her shoulder blade. My boyfriend has considered euthanizing her, because she doesn't lead a quality life. I heard there are prescription medications that can help ease the arthritis pain. She is petrified of our local veterianian and I don't want to stress her out just for them to tell me that it may be time. Do you have any suggestions as to whether or not I should attempt to prolong her life?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Oh, I am sorry to hear that buddy is having problems. 17 is quite old for any dog.

I really do think it may be worthwhile to have your vet prescribe some antiinflammatory medication. Aspirin has some effect but we have drugs that work much better. Also, aspirin can be hard on the kidneys and stomach as well.

Unfortunately though, your vet will not be able to prescribe medications without examining Buddy.

Your vet may prescribe Metacam, Rimadyl, Previcox or Deramaxx all of which are really good for arthritis. Additionally they may advise some injections called either Cartrophen or Adequan which also really help with the health of her joints. In really severe cases I sometimes also add a medication called Tramadol, but your vet will likely try other medicines first.

At this point we really need to do *something*. It doesn't seem fair to leave her the way she is. What I would likely be advising if I was your vet is to try two weeks of some good anti-inflammatories and then see how she is doing. If she is still having serious mobility issues then I would agree that her quality of life is not good.

One other thought...you could talk to your vet about a surgical procedure called hip denervation. Dogs handle this surgery extremely well. What it does is remove the nerve endings in the hip so that there is no pain. For most dogs the recovery time is really quick. However, it can be a little pricey.

I really hope she does ok.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you Dr. Marie for your prompt response. I took Buddy to an Animal Hospital. Upon examination, the vet noticed that Buddy would cross her hind legs upon standing. This is not arthritis, but nerve damage which is common in larger breeds. The vet said that she most likely is not in pain, but this could eventually cause permanent paralysis. He said euthanization is an option, but not necessary at this time. He prescribed her Prednisone. She is still eating and drinking good and is now under 24 hour care. I'm going to make her as comfortable as possible and will continue to prolong her life as long as there are no changes. Thank you again for your response. I am so glad I decided to take her to the Animal Hospital.

Teri


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thanks for the update Teri. Yes, the crossing of the back legs tells us that there is some nerve damage in the spine. Hopefully the prednisone will help with inflammation in the spine and give her a better quality of life!

Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.