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[align=center] My black lab is 9 years old and over the past 18 months the distance that he walks has seriously declined from 90 minutes down to 20 minutes and he tells me when he's had enough, turns round and plops down about 4 times on the way back which is only about 200 yds, there is no laboured breathing and no sign of distress he's just had enough. He is under the vet for a bad licking problem where his feet were red raw on all 4 legs, though this has hopefully been resolved, he is on steroids and painkillers + fuciderm for skin treatment though this has reduced to virtually nil as it has been treated successfully. It's the giving up on walking a friend told me that they hit a wall, some earlier than others and the vet had said at least he knows when he's had enough
any opinion
philipanthony
 

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I'm sorry to read Stanley is tiring quickly and he has had skin problems.

I can't honestly say any of mine slowed down at nine as obviously as that. It seemed to creep up on me that they were getting older. I remember thinking when on earth are they going to slow down, especially Jake he was so energetic. As soon as he did I regretted wanting him too. I remember having to sit and wait until Sophie could carry on. My son walked too far one day and had to end up carrying her home but this was much later than nine. I used to take them swimming in the lake more when they were older and we didn't walk so far. I wouldn't ever let them in the river though incase they weren't strong enough to take the current. I think it helped their ageing joints. I also kept a careful eye on their weight ( I wish I kept and eye on my own).

Has the vet spoke to you about arthritis? That was a problem for us but you could rule that out with a chat to the vet about Stanley's habits and an examination.

I wonder if Stanely just hasn't recovered fully and his muscles and fitness needs to be built up again. It can take a long time to get over health problems and even if outwardly he appears okay he may still be weak. If he is arthritic there are lots of supplements that can help him and slow the progression down.

I would have another chat with the vet and maybe he could give Stanely a good top to tail check up just to make sure that he hasn't developed a low grade heart murmur but that is highly unlikely because he would have heard it when he was being treated with the steroids. Just for peace of mind it would be good to rule things out. I hope you update us soon that Stanley is slowly increasing his distance and getting fitter very soon.

Amanda
 

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I have to say that I would be concerned by a 9 year old who would/could only walk 20 minutes. I would have a full vet check. Moss is 8.5 - but still beating collies at agility, coming running 5-10 miles with me and walking for hours!
What's Stanley's weight like? Does he take joint supplements?

Angela
 

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I have a 9 yr old, she is going like a rocket now that it is cooler, she always slows down when the weather is hot but she has not slowed down at all. However about a year ago I thought she was ageing and not herself so I took her to the vet as she has had mast cell tumours removed before, so I got her checked. It turned out to be a minor bladder infection so she had a course of ABs and, as I say is back to normal Nutter status.
I would be inclined to have a check up, his heart and also in case he has anything like back pain preventing him from moving in comfort.
I hope you find out the cause
 
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9yrs isn't really old, well not unless there's something significantly wrong with them. I'd get him checked over by a vet to see if he has any pain anywhere, and a few blood tests in case he has Thyroid problems/Vit B deficiency/some other health problem which is slowing him down.

The only dog I've had slow down at 9yrs old did so because she had Lung Cancer. All my others have been like spring chickens at that age. Even my black Lab Mojo, who only has one good leg out of 4, can still go for hours and can keep up with any youngsters. I'd be most concerned if she suddenly slowed down like your boy has.

The only Labs I've seen who have become plodders at that age have been so because they were grossly overweight. Generally fit and healthy Labs remain Young at Heart for a good long time.

I hope you find out what the problem is and your lad finds his Oomph again.
 

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All manner of things could be causing the premature slowing down as other have mentioned.

Has he had a full blood panel to check all his levels?

Back problems can also cause slowing down, vets often miss this as happened with Jack and it was only through looking at alternative therapists we realised that his spine was out of alignment.

Also steroids and other chemicals can cause Liver dysfunction if used over a period of time as well as adding weight.

I had a dog that would plod and stop at various points on a walk and this was because she had Hip Dysplasia and as she got older it became more painful.
 

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As Jules and Natalie say. Normally with a thing like Arthritis there will be obvious signs such as stiffness, limping and difficulty standing up after walking. If you are not seeing those signs then you really do need to look further into it. My Beth for example used to accompany me while I was instructing a class at 13 years old, spending the afternoon demonstrating to the puppies, Then ask when we were going for a walk! Only one of mine broke down early, but she did have a medical reason for it.

At 9 years old your dog is certainly middle aged, but nowhere near old and should be expecting another 4 years yet.

Regards, John
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Labrador Aging

Well thanks for all the comments, Stanley has always been active and never overweight, we'd go for long walks in Sherwood Forest, then he developed his lick problem where he would get down to the muscle on all four legs it was a nightmare trying to prevent him, socks, anti lick spray, germaline, mustard etc. this was allways frequented by vet visits. Some people suggest the reason is boredom. After a caravan holiday his sores prompted another visit to try and sort the problem. The vet Camilla was the only one who suggested that it could be due to pain and set about on a course of treatment, anti biotic's, pain killers and the steroid cream, when the anti biotic course was complete he was put on the steroids and has started to gain weight, though we restict his food intake. Camilla has taken and run blood tests and everything is fine, the last test was a urine test (that was fun and games getting the sample). I dont think there is anything wrong there otherwise Camilla would have contacted us, though Stanley goes back in 2 weeks, his heart is fine.
The slowing down in walking came on over 18 months and now he just goes so far stops, looks up, turns round and comes home. He doesn't seem to be in pain, though he has stiffened up a bit it's just saddening knowing what used to be.
He's such a lovelly boy, intelligent, faithfull and alert it's just as if he couldn't be bothered
Philip anthony
 

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Have his joints been x rayed and checked? He licked all 4 legs? What is he fed, has this been considered as an allergy cause? Has his mouth/ears been checked for damage that is causing discomfort that the licking helps to relieve? How long has he been having problems for now? I would be pushing vet for answers and getting second opinions etc I think. It does sound like the poor boy is in some sort of discomfort....

Hope you can help him get sorted.
 
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