One of the most common problems of older and larger dogs is arthritis. Many dogs are encouraged to JUMP for the ball when they are young. This causes jolts to the back legs and brings on early arthritis. By all means PLAY ball with your dog but don't let them JUMP - throw the ball 'lower' so your dog can catch it but doesn't leap up into the air. Also as your dog starts to get older discuss with your vet the possibility of adding some GLUCOSAMINE SULFATE, MSM and Omega 3 oils to your pets diet. Please note NEVER give GLUCOSAMINE to an animal with Diabetes without speaking with your vet and researching first (see Diabetes page for more info). Another product that has had good word of mouth is LEVEL 5000 which can be bought through the web or through better pet supply stores.
Prevention Magazine (July 2001) did an article on a new European study that now has PROVEN Glucosamine DOES help the pain of Arthritis as well as improve the condition. It did say that it can take weeks to notice the difference but it now offers a proven natural alternative to medication. For more on the study visit PREVENTION MAGAZINE (Links page)
Nutrition and health care for the longevity of dogs and cats
by Susan G. Wynn, D.V.M.
Arthritis: Degenerative osteoarthritis is common in larger breeds of dogs, in which spondylosis--the breakdown of vertebral structure--and genetically determined hip dysplasia are rampant. Certain breeds, such as German shepherds, Labrador retrievers and Saint Bernards, are more susceptible than others. Smaller breeds of dogs, in part because of longer life spans, may also develop arthritis. Although older cats may experience some arthritis, it is not as common in felines.
It is vital to get a good diagnosis before treating arthritis in older animals. Many pet owners assume that decreased mobility is arthritis when, in fact, metabolic, cardiovascular, neurologic or other problems may be present.
The primary therapies to include when treating arthritic pets are diet and glycosaminoglycan (GAG). GAGs are complex carbohydrates, called polysaccharides, that are integral to joint-cartilage structure. The animal's diet should consist of good-quality natural or home-prepared food. Dogs eating poor-quality diets appear to have more pain and develop bone spurs more readily than those on good diets. Although this is anecdotal clinical experience and the mechanism is unknown, some veterinarians theorize that cheaper foods containing antigenic substances may cause allergic or immune-mediated reactions that target joint components.
Research to support supplementing with polysulfated GAGs is growing. Dogs respond well, though subtly, to GAG, so it is best to begin the therapy as early in the disease as possible. I recommend a product containing glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, manganese and vitamin C.
There are many ways to try to ease the pain and discomfort of all to common arthritic symptoms. Some such as the drug Rimadyl (Carprofen) are controversial. It is up to you and your vet to see what might be the best choice for your dog. No matter what you decide natural supplements can be used in conjunction or as your main treatment. Please remember to never give your dog a buffered or enteric coated aspirin IF it is on medication such as Rimadyl. For more info on the dangers and precautions one must take if using Rimadyl please visit the SENIOR DOGS PROJECT. Please also note that some breeds of dogs seem to have a lesser tolerance for this drug and and are of a higher risk of dying from it. Do your research and be informed before making a decision on whether to use it or not. In the UK and Austrailia there is a drug that hopefully will make it to the UK and replace Rimadyl. It had proven to be safe and effective. Further info on this drug will be posted here in the near future.
On a personal note- from one of members: "My dog Kismet (above) was a German Shepherd mix who was literally 'collapsing' at the age of 12. With low doses of Rimadyl combined with the below Supplement he gained back full normal use of his legs. He only lost use of his legs again only a couple of weeks after we celebrated his 15th birthday. This was along with severe atrophy and bladder control loss. Only then did he suffer and was subsequently euthanized. We gained 3 wonderful year with him. This did entail monitoring him regularly with the Rimadyl. Everyone's experience with this drug will be different."
Glucosamine Sulfate (chondrotin not needed)
|Arthritis and Adequan|
|Arthritis or joint inflammation is common in dogs and cats. Usually caused by degenerative joint disease, affected animals show lameness, weakness and pain. Until recent years medical treatment has been aimed at pain relief only, with surgical intervention as a costly and stressful alternative.|
Spondylosis & Degenerative Spinal Diseases
If your veterinarian has told you your dog has spinal degeneration (spinal myelopathy) and that there is nothing you can do to stop the progression of weakness and rear end stiffness that eventually becomes rear end paralysis, he may be wrong. As Dr. Belfield's program has had many successes with spinal degeneration.
If your dog has been diagnosed with Spondylosis, this program will also help with that, but it will not totally cure spondylosis. The program comes from a really good California veterinarian, Dr. Wendell O. Belfield of San Jose, CA. In the mid-1970's, Dr. Belfield put together an all natural supplement program to CURE spinal degeneration. He was successful. The program is cheap and effective.
Generally it can have the dog RUNNING, climbing stairs and jumping onto your bed in 5-7 weeks. It works by strengthening the dog's immune system.
Here is what Dr. Belfield wrote in his book, "How To Have A Healthier Dog" by Wendell O. Belfield and Martin Zucker:
"What happens in this condition is a deterioration of the tissues in and around the vertebrae. The cause may be related to the aging process. The breakdown causes inflammation and some degree of pressure on the spinal nerves that supply the hind quarters. Difficulty in control of muscle movement and walking develops into a paralysis. The animal goes down in the hind quarter and pathetically drags himself around on his front legs.
I have seen forelegs become affected also. The legs get stiff and unsteady and eventually the animal is down altogether and can't get up. Symptoms: Poor appetite, pain and sensitivity in the spinal region. Progressive loss of control of the hind leg muscles with accompanying dragging of the paws, swaying of the hind end, and reduced ability to walk and jump. Eventually develops into a hind quarter paralysis and can move forward, affecting the forelegs and the brain. Most frequently seen in aging dogs."
The cure for this condition is deceptively simple:
Vitamin C (Ester C preferred) and Vitamin E are given per the age and weight of the dog. If you require this information, get in touch, or you can get Dr. Belfield's book from your library or from his web site. The information is in a chart in the center of the book.
The rest of the program consists of:
Comprehensive vit/min supplement (I use Theralin VMP vit/min tablets by Lambert Kay - you can get them cheapest from Cherrybrook 1-800-524-0820 or Jeffers pet catalog 1-800-533-3377) Dose per instructions on the bottle. I STRONGLY suggest that you use only Theralin VMP. An owner who used a less comprehensive vit/min found that her dog did not respond for 3 weeks longer than any other dog on the program.
I also give BYS (garlic/yeast tablets) It's loaded with B vitamins. Also from Cherrybrook - Dose is per instructions on the bottle. A side benefit is that it gives the dog's skin a smell that fleas and ticks find offensive, so they tend to stay off the dog. People cannot smell anything different.
I get the C & E at the drugstore. Don't bother to buy C with rose hips, according to Belfield it does nothing to help the C work. I do, however, buy the brand that says on the label, "No soy, no sugar, no preservatives, etc." Do not buy time released vitamin C. If you feel compelled to use a buffered C, get sodium ascorbate (Ester C) as Belfield says it is least likely to cause diarrhea and that it is the one that works best in dogs. I've always used regular vitamin C with my dogs. I smear cream cheese on the pills and give them with the dog's meal.
Give the above with food as vitamins are absorbed better that way and the food buffers the dog's stomach against the acidity of the vitamin C. If the dog's stool becomes mushy, it's the C. Back down on the dose and gradually over a week or so build it back up to the proper level, OR start lower than recommended and slowly build up to the proper amount over a 3 week period.
Belfield is not a crazy vet. His methods are currently being taught to vet students. The supplement program takes 5 -7 weeks to totally strengthen the dog's immune system. I've seen dogs respond in a week and heard of one case where it took a Great Dane 7 weeks. Belfield's program is GREAT for skin problems, chronic ear infections, and rear end problems with older dogs (spinal degeneration).
The information for the above supplementation program is based on the work of Dr. Wendell O. Belfield, a San Jose, CA veterinarian. Dr. Belfield does not specifically advocate the use of Theralin VMP or BYS. You can buy Dr. Belfield's book through his web site: http://www.belfield.com/books.html
If your pet needs help walking you can also get a CANINE CART