CyclonePride - I am a veterinarian. Class of 99. You can try adequan (monthly injections). It was developed for race horses, and is now labeled for dogs. It works really well. You can also try diet - Hill's Prescription J/D. I would avoid cortisone/steroids as this point. They have the most side effects. Hydrotherapy and Laser therapy are also beneficial if available from your veterinarian.
Been through this with a lab. In the desperate stages we used Rimadyl. Side impact on the liver aren't good, but in their later years it sure made a difference. Afterwards I was also told that acupuncture can make a difference.
I'm not a vet but I have a 12 year old terrier that developed some problems after tearing her doggie acl. We have her on omega 3 fish oil and glucosamine. It takes a while for it to kick in so it might be a while before you see any noticeable results. We can't do rimadyl because she already has some liver issues so they gave us tramadol but she spits that out more than she swallows so I don't use it very often.
Some days are better than others but we go for a walk every morning, without exception. Some days it's to the park and back and sometimes she barely gets around the block. When it's really bad we take her in a doggie stroller (don't laugh, it's a Burlety Tail Wagon) and go to a park where she can see something new. She definately perks up with new "adventures" and it's helped that several of my neighbors have gotten young puppies. Of course she can't keep up with them but it's a real motivator to get her moving and that seems to be a key to keeping her mobile.
Like others have mentioned, swimming is an ideal excercise. In the summer she has access to water and that really helps. Make sure wherever your dog sleeps that it is padded, maybe even heated if she would put up with it and if stretching and massaging her helps then do that also(our park board offered a one time class so it's not as far out as it sounds).
Your dog has slowed up but should have a lot of good years left. You just might need to rethink the kinds and intensities of activities you choose to have her participate in.
Really appreciate the posts. When she's warmed up, she's almost her old self, but when she's not, it's terrible to watch and all you can think about in the back of your mind is whether she'll eventually have to be put down.
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