Q. My 12-year-old, 59-pound Labrador’s hind legs are giving out and now one of her front legs is, too. She’s lost interest in begging for favorite treats. She’s had two months of Adequan injections, and now takes Rimadyl and Dasaquin. I don’t believe in letting an animal suffer, but my Lab is still young at heart.
A. Your family is facing many of the same challenges that other owners of geriatric Labrador Retrievers often face. Osteoarthritis is unfortunately very common in this breed. You are already providing most of the conventional treatments, including NSAIDS (Rimadyl), Adequan injections (hyaluranic acid for joint fluid health), and Dasaquin (a neutraceutical).
In a recent discussion of veterinarians regarding osteoarthritis treatments, here is the consensus regarding the most effective treatments:
1. Glycoflex by Vetriscience contains Perna mussel extracts that provide many of the products that are beneficial for joint health.
2. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements improve joint health
3. Acupuncture, especially electro-acupuncture, has been very beneficial in some cases. It is important that the veterinarian performing the procedure has the appropriate training, certification and experience.
4. Canine massage and physical therapy sessions, including an underwater treadmill.
5. Tramadol (Ultram), an oral pain medication with very few side effects, which can be given with Rimadyl.
6. Class 4 laser treatment has been very effective for relieving pain due to arthritis in dogs.
Explore these additional options with your veterinarian before making any life or death decisions. It sounds like your Lab is still young at heart and would appreciate your efforts to keep her pain-free.