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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, it is a long time since I have been on here and it's lovely to see so many names I remember from years ago. I would really value your thoughts - Max is being treated by our vet for front leg lameness and we are scratching our heads a bit.

He has never limped and has good hip/elbow scores - x-rays taken when he was a year at castration showed "normal" joints - we asked the vet to do them for our own peace of mind. He is a tall boy, quite big frame but weighs 35kg (increased 2kg since lockdown, walks have been same length but less off lead romps). February this year the evening after a 1 hour street lead walk he started to limp a few strides when getting out of his bed in the evening. Mornnings and walks were normal. So we tried rest for a week and resume, happened again so we saw the vet - tried metacam 5days and rest/gentle resume. Seemed easier for a few weeks, but stiff at times - always evening. Then just before Easter the evening limp got worse. We also found a 50p size soft lump behind his left elbow which was aspirated - lipoma (phew!).

Our vet had him in for elbow x-rays and diagnosed "early onset arthritis" - he agreed the x-rays aged 1 were absolutely normal. Suggested starting Cartrophen course. First 2 injections showed good improvement, then since the 3rd one last week he has been worse overall. We always felt the left leg was worse but the vet said both were affected. However it is really clear in the last couple of weeks that the left is worse - when he sits he avoid weight bearing on the left by leaning to the right.

Only other thing I've noticed is he seems worse getting up after he has rested on his left side with his head leaning up against the side of his bed, ie stretching left side of his neck and shoulder. He is better getting up from a firm surface.

We will see the vet Friday for 4th cartrophen and a chat. I felt positive after the first 2 but am concerned he has gone backwards since the 3rd. I am aware x-rays don't show everything. I trust our vet completely but feel uncertain at what point to consider further diagnostics - ct/mri? Or specialist referral? Is that jumping the gun?

Sorry for the ramble, I am aware many of you have a lot of experience of these problems with older dogs, and would value any thoughts to get my head straight before we see the vet next. I did buy some Yumove, but decided to wait and see how Max responded on Cartrophen first so as not to muddy the picture. Exercise wise we are sticking to 30 mins lead walk 1 or 2 x daily as advised by the vet.

Thank you, Mandy
 

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Everyone will advise you something different. With my oldies I use a small regular dose of something like Metacam (my vet is aware), plus a whole plant Sativa hemp/cannabis paste (with no THC).

I know people pooh pooh CBD but many aren’t aware it’s not an instant fix. You have to “reawaken” the endocannabinoid system which can take several weeks and start with a very low dose and gradually increase until you reach the sweet spot. It’s also vital to get it from a trusted source who are correctly registered and perform and publish test results. I use whole plant paste because this is what the oils are derived from and it’s slightly stronger and I find it easier to dose (for my dogs and for myself).

I give green sativa paste to Carys for pain relief (she not longer needs Metacam) and I can most definitely tell if she misses a dose, I used to give Betty a purple paste which was slightly stronger but from an indica hybrid. Sativa has uplifting properties, indica and indica hybrid are more calming. So you wouldn’t give a Sativa based oil to an older dog with doggie dementia for example. Many CBD sellers don’t even identify which strain their product is made from. That’s definitely a red light for me. I get mine from a herbalist based in Suffolk.
 
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Hello Mandy. Good to hear from you again, though sad that is with a problem with Max. Below are my thoughts and experiences.

Firstly, and maybe a question for your vet. "Is it possible to do anything about this?" To me this is all important, because if the answer is "No" then to me there is no point in throwing more money just to give it a name. Arthritis is more usually about palliative care, managing the pain, rather than a cure.

But you say there is a lipoma behind the left elbow, and the left front is what appears to be giving him the most problem. Fatty lumps are something elderly Labradors are susceptible. In the main they cause little problem and can safely be ignored, but as a question, maybe for your vet, "Could it be pressing on the elbow, causing a restriction of movement? Could this be having a bearing on his condition?" I've known in happen.

My Anna started having arthritic problems when she was 9 (Her hip score was 2/2 so certainly not due to poor hips.) I also are now getting twinges, so on days when I know I'm going to get problems, such as working days on the shoot, I take a paracetamol. So I figured the same sort of thing with Anna, giving her a dose of metacam for her bad days. But talking to my vet, that was wrong. Because metacam builds up in the body over a period of time, to treat just the bad days requires a full dose, where treating every day enables you to reduce the dose down to a holding dose. In Anna's case she weighed 32kg but I was dosing her initially the dose for a 10kg dog! (OK, in later years I did have to increase it, but never got to more than the dosage for a 15kg dog.

There are other supplements you can try such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin. It pays to experiment with these because not all are equal for all dogs. I've known some people get good results using one make where other people get on better with another. Also generally speaking, the human varieties tend to be cheaper than that designed for dogs. Also Nicola mentions CBD oil which I know some swear by. So it pays to experiment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your reply Maddie - that gives me something to think about. I realise there is going to be some trial and error along the way. I'd heard about people using CBD for pain but hadn't realised it was an option for dogs as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hello Mandy. Good to hear from you again, though sad that is with a problem with Max. Below are my thoughts and experiences.

Firstly, and maybe a question for your vet. "Is it possible to do anything about this?" To me this is all important, because if the answer is "No" then to me there is no point in throwing more money just to give it a name. Arthritis is more usually about palliative care, managing the pain, rather than a cure.

But you say there is a lipoma behind the left elbow, and the left front is what appears to be giving him the most problem. Fatty lumps are something elderly Labradors are susceptible. In the main they cause little problem and can safely be ignored, but as a question, maybe for your vet, "Could it be pressing on the elbow, causing a restriction of movement? Could this be having a bearing on his condition?" I've known in happen.

My Anna started having arthritic problems when she was 9 (Her hip score was 2/2 so certainly not due to poor hips.) I also are now getting twinges, so on days when I know I'm going to get problems, such as working days on the shoot, I take a paracetamol. So I figured the same sort of thing with Anna, giving her a dose of metacam for her bad days. But talking to my vet, that was wrong. Because metacam builds up in the body over a period of time, to treat just the bad days requires a full dose, where treating every day enables you to reduce the dose down to a holding dose. In Anna's case she weighed 32kg but I was dosing her initially the dose for a 10kg dog! (OK, in later years I did have to increase it, but never got to more than the dosage for a 15kg dog.

There are other supplements you can try such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin. It pays to experiment with these because not all are equal for all dogs. I've known some people get good results using one make where other people get on better with another. Also generally speaking, the human varieties tend to be cheaper than that designed for dogs. Also Nicola mentions CBD oil which I know some swear by. So it pays to experiment.
Thanks John - I have read some of the old threads and was interested to see how you tweaked the metacam dose with good effect.

I am an osteopath so I'm used to helping my human patients navigate problems with OA, when to involve the GP or request more diagnostics etc. I suppose it's the equivalent of going to see the GP yourself and your brain turning to jelly - I speak to the vet, defer to him and go into "trust" mode, but have a nagging doubt that they x-rayed his elbows and seem confident that is the problem, but when he first examined Max he said his joint movement was good. I know from humans that x-rays show up incidental OA that may not be the source of someone's pain at that point in time, and don't know if that is the case as much with dogs. I did ask if they had considered his shoulder to rule that out and he was confident it was the elbows.

With dogs, does there come a point if OA results in loose fragments of cartilage in the joint space that warrants arthroscopy? I used to share a horse and what looked like a knee x-ray that wasn't too bad, turned out when a specialist looked at it via MRI to be a torn joint capsule with several large cartilage fragments and he needed surgery.

I am definitely open to trying joint supplements and think I will try that once we have a clear idea of the results after 4th cartrophen injection.

I guess we are struggling because he seemed fine one minute, and since Mid Feb has been suddenly been unable to do more than short lead walks - it all feels quite sudden - although he is 10 I think we are in denial :(. Thank you for your comments though - that is really helpful. Hopefully we'll have a good chat with the vet Friday,
Mandy
 

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One thing to remember, as I posted on another thread today about teeth, "but with a half way reasonable diet rarely get much problems with their teeth. I guess part of that is that a dog's teeth only have to last around 13 to 16 years, where our teeth have to last 75 to 100 years!" And so it is with so many things. Human's joints have a far longer time to get really bad in compared to dogs. Even horses joints need to last 2 to 3 times as long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
One thing to remember, as I posted on another thread today about teeth, "but with a half way reasonable diet rarely get much problems with their teeth. I guess part of that is that a dog's teeth only have to last around 13 to 16 years, where our teeth have to last 75 to 100 years!" And so it is with so many things. Human's joints have a far longer time to get really bad in compared to dogs. Even horses joints need to last 2 to 3 times as long.
Very true John, thank you
 

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Sorry to hear Max has an issue.

Our Judy is 12 and a half years young now and had terrible ED years ago. We stayed away from surgery and have been using "natural" or non-invasive methods ever since. Varying degrees of success.
Recently Jude has had a couple of bad flare ups which is heart breaking to see as she is so stoic but all we can do is our absolute best for her.

Our current approach is (deep breath):-
Weight control - 32kg is her absolute maximum!
As of last week - Metacam daily dropped from 30ml to 20ml with target of 15ml every other day
Mobile Bones in breakfast (used to be green lipped mussell)
1 CBD capsule
Senoquin tablet x 1
Chews and treats glucosamine based
40 minute walk daily
30 to 45 mins of hydro weekly / fornightly
Mats on the floor, memory foam beds

I've just bought some devils claw to see how that goes.

That's just Jude...!!!! Her liddle bruv slightly less approach but also needs extra care and attention as he got diagnosed with bi-lateral HD in January....

Good luck with Max
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sorry to hear Max has an issue.

Our Judy is 12 and a half years young now and had terrible ED years ago. We stayed away from surgery and have been using "natural" or non-invasive methods ever since. Varying degrees of success.
Recently Jude has had a couple of bad flare ups which is heart breaking to see as she is so stoic but all we can do is our absolute best for her.

Our current approach is (deep breath):-
Weight control - 32kg is her absolute maximum!
As of last week - Metacam daily dropped from 30ml to 20ml with target of 15ml every other day
Mobile Bones in breakfast (used to be green lipped mussell)
1 CBD capsule
Senoquin tablet x 1
Chews and treats glucosamine based
40 minute walk daily
30 to 45 mins of hydro weekly / fornightly
Mats on the floor, memory foam beds

I've just bought some devils claw to see how that goes.

That's just Jude...!!!! Her liddle bruv slightly less approach but also needs extra care and attention as he got diagnosed with bi-lateral HD in January....

Good luck with Max
Hi, thank you for your reply - I am sorry for taking so long to thank you, but it's been a mad couple of weeks with a poorly husband joining in with lame Max. That is helpful to see how you have managed things with Jude. I am getting my head round the way forward being about best management rather than a cure, and that it it will likely involve some trial and error.

Since I posted here, we saw the vet for the 4th cartrophen and as the 3rd week had not been good, he advised sticking to 30 min lead walks twice a day and review, which we did last week. Basically he wants us to try over the next 2 weeks to increase to 45 mins twice daily on lead, then off lead and see how it goes. If he seems ok (a few steps limping after rest ok, but not getting worse), keep persevering, but see the vet again if worse.

He is open to us trying hydro, but wants to check first how he responds to increasing weightbearing walking. If he doesn't tolerate that, rather than hydro, he would want to do some more tests to be sure what is going on - depending on how he is, that might be shoulder x-ray as well, and he wants us to video Max so he can see him limping to guide the tests.

He talked about the possibility of MRI or arthroscopy of they suspect a cartilage fragment/flap as that wouldn't necessarily respond to conservative care. He also said try Yumove, then see if that helps and maybe try alternatives - see what works for him.

At the moment, our observations are he is definitely worse on the left side, he can manage with 2 steady 20-30 min lead walks a day, but once he goes up/down slopes, bounds out of his bed (as he did last week!), lays on his left side propped up on his left elbow or trots on more on his walk - he limps more after and it seems to be a very fragile equilibrium without any progress. The cartrophen does not seem to have helped us overall.

So that's us for now. Thanks again for your reply - as you say it is heartbreaking watching them struggle. Through the last few years when my husband, mum and dad have struggled with their health, Max has been my constant sanity check, bar the odd sickness bout, and we both want to do the absolute best for him that we can.
 
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