Arthritis in hips?

fiwen30

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Took my dog Rogan to the vet this morning, as he’d started limping for a few steps on his right hind after lying down for long periods of time. He’s a 9.5 year old Rough Collie/Jack Russell, and has been on joint supplements for about 9 months. He’s always been...at a genetic disadvantage, as he has the short, knobbly, Jack Russell legs, with an albeit slimmer version of the Rough Collie body on top. I like to keep him on the leaner side, and he’s 21kg currently. Had always suspected he’d have problems with his legs, but hadn’t expected the vet to come out and say he was reluctant to the point of impossibility to flex his hips, and expects that he has severe late stage arthritis in both hips.

She doesn’t mince words, and said she was ‘surprised he wasn’t more crippled’, and I just feel absolutely wretched.

He’s in for X-rays on Wednesday to asses the severity, and has been sent home with some Loxicom till then, but she thinks it likely he’ll need to go to a stronger painkiller ASAP. She also suggested looking into hydrotherapy & acupuncture. He’s just such a sweet, amenable dog, and it’s absolutely killing me that he’s likely been in pain without me knowing.

I know it can’t be cured, and that anything we try will only attempt to delay the progression, but I want to do all that I can for him.

We have a low sofa that he lies on, and we’re looking at getting a ramp for it. We also, typically, just placed an order for a house-full of new laminate floors - was thinking either rugs & runners to out down between spaces, or I’d seen these grippy socks that can help dogs with slippy floors? He has a low bed made of foam and stuffing, but is there something that would be better for arthritis?

So what have your experiences been with arthritis in the hips? Any recommendations for beds, ramps/steps, treatments, complementary therapies, or medications? And at what point was enough, enough? Any sympathy and good vibes would also be much appreciated, didn’t expect to get such dreadful news this morning, but then it is still 2020 after all.
 

fankino04

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No practical advice to offer I'm afraid, we've added rugs and runners for ours as she has quite a bit of muscle wastage now in her old age and the laminate floor makes it tricky to get up without a lot of slipping and sliding (she still manages to find the small uncovered areas to lie on though as she likes the cold floor), we bought socks for the previous old boy that were great for preventing him slipping on the floor but then got soaked when he went outside in the garden if it had rained and the outdoor boots irritated him if he had them on too long so didn't find them overly helpful.
Sending positive vibes and good wishes for some better news soon x
 

FinnishLapphund

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I've gone for the acupuncture option with 3 old bitches who developed different skeletal/joint related problems with old age. It worked so well, that when an old cat I had, also developed some weakness in her back (this was over 12 years ago, I don't remember exactly what it was, but it was towards the back/lower end of the spine, and visible on x-rays), my veterinarian said the cat would need daily pain killers for the rest of her life. I said that I was taking 2 bitches for acupuncture, and wanted to also try that with the cat, so they sent Selma's x-rays to the big veterinary hospital. Because they sadly don't do acupuncture on "my" clinic.

I called the big hospital which does do it, and talked to the physio nurse who had done acupuncture on my bitches. She said they had only tried it one cat before, and it didn't go well, but since I had an appointment for 2 of my bitches, and since they were so easy to do, she would increase the appointment time, so I could bring Selma as well, and they would give it a try.

As I recall, afterwards, she said she hadn't booked anyone else directly after me, because she thought she would have some scratches, and possible bites, that she would have to take care of. But an around 14 years old Selma had seen my bitches get their acupuncture first, and had then laid on the table as if she'd been getting acupuncture her whole life.
Next visit I think they did the bitches, and the cat at the same time, so I had 3 of them laying nicely with needles in them. I have a vague memory of the nurse showing it to a colleague who came to ask her something.

Anyhow, the reason we took Selma to the veterinarian was because we had noticed she had started to be reluctant to jump up in furnitures, and had started to not even want to jump up 50 cm to the lowest shelf in the cat tree where we have the cat food bowl/bowls. When we saw that, we suddenly realised that we couldn't remember when we had last seen her up in either of the other two taller cat trees, and she used to use them quite regularly.

In the evening after the first acupuncture session, Selma climbed straight up to the highest shelf of the floor to ceiling cat tree in our kitchen. She moved like a young cat again, jumped up to her food in the third cat tree without problems etc. She got a bit stiffer again before her second acupuncture session, but after a few sessions the stiffness stayed away for around 1 year, and then she had a new round of acupuncture.


With the bitches I noticed the acupuncture sessions had better effect if I took them for a short walk directly after a session, perhaps around 1 km or so. Fortunately Selma the cat didn't seem to need that, or perhaps the acupuncture would have had even better effect if I had been able to take also her for a short leash walk afterwards.

I know it isn't a miracle cure, and that acupuncture doesn't help everyone, but I usually recommend pet owners in your, or similar, situations to try it with their pet.

I have tried acupuncture myself, too. 2, 3 years ago, and it did help with the wonky nerves in my left shoulder. But even the Swedish health care have it's limits, after X months my problem should have been rehabilitated, and if I wanted/needed more acupuncture after that, I would have had to pay to go to someone privately.
My left shoulder would be very happy for some new sessions, but since it is myself, not my pets, it seems too expensive. Besides, with the Coronavirus around, it really is completely out of the question.


By the way, have you considered those click together wood/fake wood floors that you supposedly easily could put in?
ETA With the cost of buying a new house it might become a bit too expensive to do the whole house, but perhaps for the room where you think your dog will spend most time, it could be doable?
 
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splashgirl45

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i dont have a good story i am afraid, my lurcher had gradually slowed down and didnt seem to be happy. i thought it was her heart as she'd had a heart murmer for years so took her to the vet expecting heart meds and she would be ok but heart was same as usual, not worse, they diagnosed arthritis in both hips, gave me pain medication(tramadol) but it made no difference over a week so i PTS just before her 13th birthday.. i was devastated...mine was maybe different to yours as mine couldn't have things like metacam as she had a very sensitive stomach . she was also very worried about vets etc so i didnt even consider x rays or acupuncture as it would cause her so much stress. good luck with yours...
 

Pearlsasinger

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I have successfully had acupuncture for myself an 2 different horses, although I haven't had it for a dog. I have a friend who is delighted with the effects that hydrotherapy have had on her 2 dogs, (1x Border Collie and 1 x Golden Retriever) both aged about 10 and both with arthritic hips, the Goldie particularly was struggling with exercise.

I have had bigger dogs on medication for years because of arthritis, going right back to the days when a Lab was on bute.
 

meleeka

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Im not sure what your vet is hoping to achieve with xrays. It seems pointless to confirm what is already obvious.

My dog was on Yumove Advance, then Onsior and then Codeine (£8pm from the chemist). She went on for two years after she was diagnosed and I’m pleased to say that the above kept her pain free until something else got her.
 

fiwen30

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Thanks so much everyone, I’m feeling a touch better about it now.

Glad to hear the positive feedback about acupuncture & hydrotherapy - the clinic we’re going to actually does both, as well as veterinary physio & massage. We picked up a new coat to keep his hips warm on the short walks he’s allowed to take, as well as a pair of outdoor grippy booties for his back feet. He wasn’t sure at first, but was soon trotting along like a pro - so proud of him!

X-ray is to confirm diagnosis and the severity of said diagnosis, and to make sure it’s nothing more sinister going on. Once we know what stage the arthritis is at, then we can get started on an appropriate treatment path for him.

CT - I hadn’t seen those hammock beds before, will have to take a look. Most orthopaedic beds are very deep, and he’s only got short legs and can sometimes struggle with them.

Will let you know how we get on on Wednesday.

Edit to add: these are the Yumove supplements he’s been on for the past 9 months - https://yumove.co.uk/products/yumove-one-a-day?variant=30288888430647 is there anything better that anyone could recommend? Their range is so vast, it’s difficult to know which is best.
 

splashgirl45

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my collie cross has arthritis in her front legs, she is 14 1/2 and has been on yumove advance 360 for the last year and it has really helped her. they are only available through the vet and are about £70 for 120 so much more expensive than the one you are using.. you can sometimes find it on line but it is still about£50
 
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PurBee

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My old boy is getting like that too....stiff from laying down and takes a while to get moving. He’s parsons jack russel cross with staff. I rescued him off my brother who rescued him from a centre. He’s 15 now, about 20-25kg. He’s not holding weight well now, especially this year, and he has lymphoma since 2012, so h’es done remarkably well....scamps around the farm still eager to try to outrun the deer. He’s been on supportive supplements and nutrition, getting rid of grains and soy that are loaded in commercial petfood brands really helped him - but i know it wont be long before these conditions get to him badly. Its sad to see them go through it so im keeping a close eye. He’s doing so well for his age really.

The grippy booties work well on laminate - it’ll really help your lad navigate those slippy floors with ease, giving his joints more stability.
 

GSD Woman

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I don't know if it would help at this stage but Adequan, spelling ? mark, might be an option. I've had a couple of vets recommend that I use it on my two as a preventive measure. Also, if physio the British term for chiropractic?
 

OldNag

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Following with interest as one of my JRTs has been diagnosed with arthritis in shoulder. Already on Yumove Plus. Metacam is not suiting her tummy, so need to find an alternative. Back to vets today for Cartrophen jab too.

I was wondering about acupuncture too. She is only 8.

Ref the hammock bed - my Mum made one for our lab years ago. She made a basic frame from 2x2, with legs that took it off the ground about 8" and stretched carpet over it. It worked beautifully and dog loved it. We used thinnish bedding on top of the carpet for some padding.
 

wren123

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My elderly lab has yumove advance 360 that you can only get from the vet. It is truly wondrous stuff, twice I've taken her off and within a week she stays to get stiff getting out of bed, starts taking it again, not stiff, much livelier. She been on cheaper yumove from Amazon for a couple of years, it seemed to have no effect.

Metacam doesn't seem to have any effect on her arthritis.

She had had xrays and has arthritis in her elbow.
 
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FinnishLapphund

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@OldNag If you're unlucky, acupuncture doesn't help your bitch, but I would definitely think it was worth giving it a try. My cat's reaction to acupuncture was perhaps a bit exceptional, maybe it had something to do with cats being more flexible in their bodies, I don't know.
With the 3 bitches, as I recall it, it took anything from 1 to 4 sessions, before I became certain that the improvement I thought I saw was real, and not just something I imagined.

After a few acupuncture sessions, neither of my late 3 bitches, nor cat, needed daily pain medication. 1 of the bitches had a daily supplement pill with Green-lipped mussel, and glucosamine, but I don't remember if I also gave that to the other 2.
I'm certain I didn't give any supplement pill to the cat. Not that she was that difficult to give the pain medication pill to, while she did get those, but I did need to hold her, and I'm sure I would have remembered having to do that once daily for around 2, 3 years.

Also tried hydrotherapy followed by some stretching with the bitches, and I'm certain it was good for them/their muscles, but it didn't help them with their stiffness, nor pain, quite the same way which acupuncture did.
 

FinnishLapphund

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Perhaps a pointless post, but a footnote, there is a difference between Traditional Chinese acupuncture, and Western medical acupuncture.
The later is like a limited version of the Traditional course, it is based on evidence, and anatomy. The Traditional acupuncture is based on anatomy, but also on the idea of the flow of Qi through the body.

The first acupuncturist I took my first old Buhund to, many years ago, mainly for her old stiff hips + a bone growth on her spine, was a veterinarian educated in the Traditional acupuncture system. But after some years the veterinarian moved to another area, so when I wanted to try acupuncture with 2 other old bitches, and later also the cat, I had to use a physio nurse educated in Western acupuncture instead.

I didn't know that Western acupuncture existed, and that that is the course which most (all?) physio nurses who can do acupuncture is educated in. I thought acupuncturists = Traditional acupuncture.

This probably doesn't make much difference for most pet owners considering acupuncture for their pets. But if you have a tricky case, then perhaps it could be an option to try looking for someone educated in Traditional acupuncture.

Or if you perhaps are like me, and thinks that when they anyway is laying there with enough needles to look like a porcupine wannabe, why not add some more needles, to see if it could help my dog's old age affected hearing to improve a little again. Well, then you need someone with the Traditional education, because they're not taught the ear treatment points in the Western acupuncture courses (according to my veterinary physio nurse).

When she got old, Nessie could eventually not hear you if you came up behind her, when her ears was pointing forwards. After that she also had ear needles during her acupuncture sessions, I'm not saying a miracle happened, and restored her hearing to that of a young dog again, but she could yet again hear when someone came up behind her, regardless in which direction her ears was pointed. That was enough for me to consider the added ear needles a great success.
(ETA The distance in which she could hear a recall in the garden also improved with some metres, so it wasn't that she by coincidence learnt to feel the vibrations in the floor or something like that, which I mistook for the ear needles being effective.)

But when my next 2 bitches got acupuncture, and I thought that one of them could perhaps benefit from also getting some ear needles, that is when I found out the difference between Traditional, and Western acupuncture, because the physio nurse didn't know where the ear treatment points where, and basically considered them as non evidence based treatment points.
However, the acupuncture she could do, did help with the old age stiffness, and joint/bone changes which we were actually there for.

Feeling as if I sound like a petulant child, the veterinarian with Traditional acupunture education also had a little gizmo to find the treatment points/Qi. She did say that she didn't know if it really made any difference, but she felt it helped her find the right treatment points. Neither the veterinary physio nurse, nor the physio nurse who gave me acupunture, used a gizmo. I felt a bit deprived by that.
 
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GSD Woman

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One of the vets where I work does acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbs. I asked her if she would do my back and she said yes but not today.
A friend uses a holistic vet for acupuncture and chiro. I will take Rudy to see her if he pops out of the weaves. That is how I know he needs an adjustment.
 

fiwen30

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Thank you everyone, its been pretty overwhelming, but I’ve been reading all your posts and researching too.

He’s due in for his X-rays today, and I was up most of the night with worry.

Isn’t it awful how sometimes you only ‘see’ something, once you’ve been told about it? Now that I know, I’m second-guessing every perceived behaviour these past few weeks through the lense of ‘severe arthritis’, and I feel bloody awful.

I don’t think the Loxicom he was prescribed has been touching the pain. Either that, or he’s still very sore from whatever sort of manipulation the vet did during her examination - did I mention my least favourite part about COVID is not being able to go inside the vet clinic with my pets anymore?

We’d gladly take any good wishes you have spare, I’ve a feeling it’s going to be a difficult day.
 

FinnishLapphund

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Fingers crossed, hope it goes as well as possible today.

And yes, it is awful when we sometimes don't notice something, and it turns out to be something serious. Welcome to the HAP group (Homeblind Anonymous Petowners).
A group for those who have at one or more occasions had a pet with a slowly progressing illness, causing such minimal changes that we became used to them, and started to view them as the new normal = home blindness.
Then **boom**, one day we noticed something was wrong, and in hindsight view the last days/weeks/months in a completely different light. Usually accompanied with feelings of guilt, and thoughts like 'I should have reacted sooner', and 'How could I not notice xx'.

But remember that the most important thing is that now that you do know about his problem, you're trying to help him. Until human's become mind-readers, that's the best any owner could do.

It feels so strange hearing about owners not knowing what, or how, things happened with their pet in the examination room. I'm very grateful that my veterinarians have not had to impose such restrictions (at least not yet).
My veterinarians have a sign outside their clinic saying that only 1 person should come in with the pet/pets, and they also inform people of it over the phone. Not that everyone seems to follow that request, but the majority seems to, judging by how it has looked at mine more than I want to count number of visits this year.

Again, hope it goes as well as possible today, and please, try to not second-guess the past too much.
{{{Hugs}}}
 

OldNag

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How did you get on today Fiwen? Mine's now been changed onto Previcox so I hope that starts to take effect.

Bit peed off to find my insurance claim for mine has been rejected though. If I hadn't swapped insurers last year would be OK but apparently there's a note on her file that she's had a sore elbow a few years back (which I don't remember at all) before I swapped to this insurer so there isn't much I can do apart from cough up. Will have to suck it up but may need to sell a kidney...
 

fiwen30

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Thank you so much FL, that’s so kind of you to say.

Just home after collecting him, with news that I have mixed feeling about.

It was a different vet today than on Monday (neither vet is his regular vet, who is currently off work for a week). Today’s vet said that his X-rays were practically clear - his right hip is a slightly different shape than his left, but not worryingly so. She also said she was able to manipulate his hips while he was sedated, and didn’t hear or feel anything untoward. A big discrepancy from Monday’s vet, who proclaimed his hips to be rigid to the point of surprise that he ‘wasn’t more crippled’. Today’s vet thinks he must’ve been resisting on Monday, but when sedated he could be manipulated fully; but surely if he was resisting it could’ve been a pain reaction, which would be absent under sedation?

Today’s vet also said that arthritis is such a difficult thing, and that one dog can be lame with pain but show clear X-rays, whereas another can run miles a day and have final stage X-rays.

So it should be good news, but it doesn’t feel like it somehow? I just don’t know how we’ve got 2 such differing diagnoses.

We’ve been sent home to continue with the Loxicom, as he has been more stiff, sore, and pottery since his appointment on Monday. If there’s no improvement in the next couple of days, then we can come back for more/different pain killers, and can also look into physio and this laser(?) treatment that they provide. All his blood work was clear also.

What do you all think?
 

Goldenstar

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Pearl had bad hips she was a puppy from two health checked parents but there you go .
she lived to sixteen and a half ,her xrays where awful but she did well the vets where always surprised watching her at home she had far more pain from the paw which she overused digging than from her hips .
We avoided letting her get cold we exercised to her level of choice and as she aged that meant letting her self exercise loose at home rather than going for walks .
We controlled her weight
she was cheerful and happy to the end and it’s was a heart attack at the very end .
 

FinnishLapphund

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I think that what the second veterinarian said makes sense. Resistance doesn't have to be pain related, it could also be a reaction to having a person (and not just any person, without a veterinarian) examine their body, pulling in things, and they don't understand why...

I've read something about that veterinarians is able to give sedations simply intended to allow the pet to relax, and not feel moderate discomfort. Which I presume have to do with making sure that there isn't tensions in the muscles that prevents how the legs/joints/body can be manipulated, instead making it possible for a pro to detect if it really is a fault in a joint/skeleton which causes any potential limitations during the manipulation.

It does sound like good news that they didn't find anything definitely negative, but as an owner you would like to get a clear answer, that is the problem, followed by and this is how we deal with it.
Now you're more in a limbo, trial, and error, try various things to see if something helps.

The good thing is that it is only Wednesday, so if it continues to feel as if the Loxicom doesn't help, maybe you could call them on Friday, and discuss if you could get another medication to try? Instead of having to wait over the whole weekend.
Fingers crossed for that the medication begins to noticeably help. And if they offer physio training, and/or laser, then in your shoes I would probably want to try both.
 

CorvusCorax

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Thank you so much FL, that’s so kind of you to say.

Just home after collecting him, with news that I have mixed feeling about.

It was a different vet today than on Monday (neither vet is his regular vet, who is currently off work for a week). Today’s vet said that his X-rays were practically clear - his right hip is a slightly different shape than his left, but not worryingly so. She also said she was able to manipulate his hips while he was sedated, and didn’t hear or feel anything untoward. A big discrepancy from Monday’s vet, who proclaimed his hips to be rigid to the point of surprise that he ‘wasn’t more crippled’. Today’s vet thinks he must’ve been resisting on Monday, but when sedated he could be manipulated fully; but surely if he was resisting it could’ve been a pain reaction, which would be absent under sedation?

Today’s vet also said that arthritis is such a difficult thing, and that one dog can be lame with pain but show clear X-rays, whereas another can run miles a day and have final stage X-rays.

So it should be good news, but it doesn’t feel like it somehow? I just don’t know how we’ve got 2 such differing diagnoses.

We’ve been sent home to continue with the Loxicom, as he has been more stiff, sore, and pottery since his appointment on Monday. If there’s no improvement in the next couple of days, then we can come back for more/different pain killers, and can also look into physio and this laser(?) treatment that they provide. All his blood work was clear also.

What do you all think?
After a rough fumble by a vet I was told early last year, after my dog pulled up lame after jumping a low hurdle, that it was his hips and it 'happens to them all' (his breed).
That is a huge red flag to me when a vet says this as all our dogs have been hip x-rayed and we've not had a dysplastic dog since 1972 when my Mum started having it done.

Went to a different vet and x-rayed hips, elbows, spine, stifle and his hips were as good at 7 as they were at 12 months and he was rested, given Loxicom and brought back into work carefully.
The only thing to note was that his vertebrae are very short which explains his tail carriage and his not-fantastic style over a jump.

This is why I would ALWAYS x-ray and not just take someone's word for it.
 

fiwen30

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After a rough fumble by a vet I was told early last year, after my dog pulled up lame after jumping a low hurdle, that it was his hips and it 'happens to them all' (his breed).
That is a huge red flag to me when a vet says this as all our dogs have been hip x-rayed and we've not had a dysplastic dog since 1972 when my Mum started having it done.

Went to a different vet and x-rayed hips, elbows, spine, stifle and his hips were as good at 7 as they were at 12 months and he was rested, given Loxicom and brought back into work carefully.
The only thing to note was that his vertebrae are very short which explains his tail carriage and his not-fantastic style over a jump.

This is why I would ALWAYS x-ray and not just take someone's word for it.
Yes absolutely, there was never a chance that we wouldn’t not be doing these initial X-rays and bloods!

It’s difficult to see him stuff and sore from his X-rays & the manipulation whilst sedated, but hoping that it’s only temporary and that the Loxicom will help. Still taking him to the hydro appointment we made on the 7th, it’s something I’ve been thinking about for him for a while, and hopefully it will do him some good. They also offer physio, massage, and acupuncture, depending on what the assessment shows might be best.

Will keep this thread updated on our progress, but today it’s enough to know that he’s not an urgent case, and that my partner and I can look forward to collecting our new house keys this afternoon!
 
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