Author Topic: What do you do with an old dog?  (Read 1602 times)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
What do you do with an old dog?
« on: April 22, 2015, 09:53:46 am »
Dear old Morph, our beloved red setter, is 11 now. He's had excellent health for the past 3 years (I stopped paying for insurance when he was 8 because the premiums were too high, and it was a good move) but for the last couple of longer-than-usual walks he has come back very knackered. On Monday, I took him to the vet to get an assessment of how he's doing. They checked all his joints, his heart and lungs and did some blood tests to assess his kidney and liver functions. Everything came back tickety-boo apart from his joints. They are arthritic, and his wrists especially so. This is not at all surprising for a 30kg active 11-year-old dog. He had a pain-killing injection and the vet seemed to expect me to start shelling out for lots of expensive treatment.

The problem is, on his normal walk, he's fine. He trots around in a very sprightly fashion showing no sign whatever of any pain. If he finds a ball or a stick he's happy to chase it - slowly - and is still very playful. Most evenings he comes to me for entertainment, which usually involved bouncing a ball and him trying to intercept it, and his reactions are still quick enough that he can biff it away with a paw and steal it from me.

The vet phoned back this morning with the result of the blood tests and Mrs. Wow took the call. She told the vet all of the above, but the vet made the comment "He's probably in pain all the time but dogs can be but just don't show it." My immediate question would have been "How do you know?" Does the vet get the dog to fill in a questionnaire describing its pain on a scale of 1 to 10?

The expense is one thing, but I have no desire to lumber Morphy's final year or two on this mortal coil with all sorts of unnecessary treatment and stressful visits to the vet. I'm very inclined just to cut out the longer walks and, if and when the shorter ones become a problem, have a rethink. My very good friend Peliroja of this parish has had some extremely helpful things to say about salmon oil and a supplement named Seraquin.

What does the panel think?
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Otto

  • Biking Bad
Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2015, 10:41:04 am »
Metacalm

http://www.petprescription.co.uk/products/metacam%20oral%20suspension%20for%20dogs/?gclid=CPCe1JfPicUCFWXMtAodUB0Aeg

I use it for my old cat he has a dicky hip and it has him leaping about like a good un

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2015, 10:46:41 am »
Good stuff but watch out for digestive complications.  One of our labs has incipient arthritis in his hips and we put him on it for a while, but he started throwing up every few nights. We stopped it and he doesn't seem any the worse.

I reckon that reducing the exercise quota as you describe is probably the best way to go.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2015, 11:05:58 am »
I'm not at all keen on NSAIDs, having taken them myself for a while. Morph has a delicate digestive system and his regular food is Beta Sensitive (salmon & rice). Since he's been on that, the enormous flatulence that used to affect him is nothing like so bad as it was on the cheaper stuff.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2015, 12:22:45 pm »
If I were you, I would talk to the vet about painkiller options, and give him shorter walks. If an hour makes him tired and sore, give him 45 minutes. If that's too much for him, 30 minutes. Avoiding inducing pain is better than treating pain.

The vet phoned back this morning with the result of the blood tests and Mrs. Wow took the call. She told the vet all of the above, but the vet made the comment "He's probably in pain all the time but dogs can be but just don't show it." My immediate question would have been "How do you know?" Does the vet get the dog to fill in a questionnaire describing its pain on a scale of 1 to 10?
No, the vet can tell by the degree of damage visible in his joints.
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


Cudzoziemiec

  • Waking up now, put the kettle on!
Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2015, 03:48:35 pm »
I know nothing about dogs, but I read recently - and I think it was in the Wow establishment newspaper - that it's now been proved babies (human ones) feel pain. It had never occurred to me it would be thought they didn't (have they never seen a baby getting an injection? or reacting to the sight of the needle after having an injection?), but apparently it was. Whereas it's now been proved they do feel pain, and the proof was brain scans - the same areas of the brain 'light up' as when adults feel pain. So presumably the same brain scan technique could show that a dog is in pain (assuming we know which areas of the canine brain are responsible for pain - I'm guessing that with something like that, it would be similar across all vertebrate species).
Days become simply the spaces between dreams, spaces between the shifting floors of time...

Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2015, 06:51:08 pm »
Exercise reduction, supplements (salmon oil and Seraquin), and you might consider adding turmeric to his diet. It's a natural anti inflammatory and many people have seen great results from feeding it to arthritic pets. (There's a turmeric user group on Facebook with info on how to feed it.) Hydrotherapy worked wonders for Tilley and helped reduce her pain and stiffness.

Leans to lovely Morph. 

Ruthie

  • Her Majester
Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #7 on: April 24, 2015, 02:40:16 pm »
Dogs and children play when they're in pain.  It's a coping mechanism.  I know this about children because it's part of my job.  I know this about dogs because I've had an arthritic dog.

At the point where his playfulness is inhibited by his pain, he's probably been in pain for a while already.  But you know that, because you've got arthritis too.

I think you should look into painkilling options to improve his quality of life in his old age.  If that's too expensive, have him put down.  Pain is bad enough when you're human and can understand it, but for an animal we have the option of ending the suffering.
Milk please, no sugar.

T42

  • Old fool in a hurry
Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2015, 03:48:47 pm »
Chum of mine who's an agility trainer swears by glucosamine.  Dunno if it makes them feel better, or him.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2015, 07:38:20 pm »
Our vet told us we would know when it was time for our last old boy to go and we did, and when she arrived to ease his passing she took one look and said "Yes it's time"

Enjoy his time with you. The end is coming: but that is true for us all.

PH
Bees do nothing invariably.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2015, 07:58:32 pm »
I have ordered some stuff from the internet. The first to arrive was 1kg of turmeric. He had a spoonful with his dinner. He seems very lively but I'm not sure that he has eaten much. He often leaves his food for a while before he eats it.

While he seems perfectly happy, he's fine. If he starts to get distressed - of which there is no sign at all, other than after long walks - then we'll have a rethink. He has been very good company today and I suspect that there might well be another year or two of life in the old boy yet.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2015, 08:31:52 pm »
You should feed the turmeric with olive oil and some ground pepper. It makes it work better, apparently!

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2015, 09:22:23 pm »
What is the recommended dose? A dessert spoon full with each meal, or is that too much?
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2015, 09:29:39 pm »
I'm eating turmeric in tablets, 500mg a pop, so I'll say a small tea spoon per meal. Tilley had bit of the runs when she tried it out. Take it easy with our Murphy and many leans.
#bollockstobrexit

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2015, 09:29:57 pm »
Should you serve it as a curry?

Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2015, 09:34:42 pm »
The group I'm a member of recommends that you mix it into a paste with olive or coconut oil and ground pepper (you can keep the paste in the fridge) and add 2-3 teaspoons of the paste to the dog's food every day.

Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2015, 11:26:04 am »
Poor Morphy. I hadn't seen this thread when I asked you about him last weekend. It sounds like shorter walks are one solution for now.

The problem with dogs is that they often don't understand they are old and the mind is willing when the body is weak; this is how Cam managed to pull a muscle the other week trying to hunt down a squirrel. I might try the tumeric thing with her as the vet also said she had a small amount of arthritis in one of her rear legs, but nothing requiring treatment as yet, and now she's recovered from her pulled muscle she is back to her old spritely self. And ex-strays certainly aren't fussy about what they eat...

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2015, 01:48:26 am »
Morphy is still like a puppy in his attitude to a lot of stuff. He generally wakes up in the evening and demands a game of some sort, barking shrilly at me until I concede. On his normal park walk you wouldn't know there was anything the matter with him 99% of the time, although occasionally he has a front-paw stumble, which I think is down to his joint problems. He's still a very happy dog.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2015, 01:56:19 am »
Our old dogs have experienced considerable relief from Carprofen and Meloxicam drugs.  They clearly relieved pain, assisted ease of movement and improved quality of life in final months.  One was monthly injections and the other daily in food (different dogs).
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Re: What do you do with an old dog?
« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2015, 08:09:09 pm »
The problem with dogs is that they often don't understand they are old and the mind is willing when the body is weak

This is exactly what we see with our dear old TempĂȘte. He is a a sort of long haired yellow labrador. We will celebrate his 15th birthday next month. Well, we hope so.  Until last year, he was happy to go jogging with us for 10 miles. Now, even a 200 metres walk is a huge challenge. He's still happy to go out for a walk, but after 200 metres, his rear legs cannot support his weight anymore, and he needs to rest for 10 minutes before he can walk back home. Very sad  :( :(