Amberfield’s Dare Me Not (Abbey) (9/13/89 – 9/19/05)
Most of us would not consider our dogs to be seniors at age 7 but they are in fact just that.
It is very important to take your dog, no matter what age, to the vet for a yearly check up (even if no vaccinations are due) and you should do blood work yearly from the age of 7 on to be sure that all organs are functioning properly.
If any area of blood work is out of range and it is caught early there are holistic approaches that can be taken to reverse the problem or just keep it in check and prevent it from getting worse.
I believe in going holistic whenever possible. However, there are times that synthetic medications must be used. This is something to discuss with your vet, or better yet, a holistic vet.
Senior dogs will at some point begin to slow down and be less active from age and often times from arthritis. Arthritis is not diagnosed thru blood work but rather physical exam and better yet, x-rays.
It is important to help the less active dog to maintain muscle mass by feeding a high quality dog food with enough quality protein at about 26% or higher. Protein builds muscle in dogs just like it does in humans. Protein to maintain muscle also supports, joints, bones, tendons and ligaments.
Less carbs are better too. Too many carbs can contribute to inflammation. Grain free food would be a good choice. Or a home cooked diet. You can get a lot of info on home cooking at http://www.dogaware.com/arthritis.html#diet
The fat content is also important as dogs draw their energy from fat first. (unlike humans that draw their energy from carbohydrates first). I suggest around 15% fat. Note: as long as the dog has no issues metabolizing fat – blood work will show this – the 15% should be fine. If your dog is diagnosed with poor fat metabolism Lecithin can correct this. Abbey had this problem and within 6 months there were improvements and within 1 year fat metabolism was normal and she was able to maintain her weight on about 15% fat. Be sure and talk with your vet (or holistic vet) about this as Lecithin is made from soy and can pose problems for an allergic dog. On the other hand a very inactive senior may gain too much weight on a 15% fat food. You may need a lower fat but do not cut on protein. And its best to feed a food with quality protein. If a food says its 26% but the protein is derived from corn, ………. this is not a good choice. You want specific meat (chicken, lamb, etc) as your protein source. Meat is more easily digested than corn, for any dog, but especially for a senior whose organs are not functioning as they once were.
Mild to moderate activity is beneficial for arthritic dogs in helping to maintain the muscle to support the joints, bones tendons and ligaments. Cold weather will aggravate arthritis so best to keep your senior warm. Plush dog beds with egg carton type filling and magnetic products are also beneficial. For magnetic products go to www.mynikken.net/futurehealth
If you read nothing else in this blog please read this:
NSAIDS for pain are what most vets will prescribe: Rimadyl, Derramaxx, Metacam (and there are others) can cause severe kidney and liver failure – especially in Labradors and other breeds. Your dog should have full bloodwork to check these organ functions prior to starting these meds and those organ functions should be checked on a regular basis while on NSAIDS. Please do your research first.
And please be aware that:
” Switching from one NSAID (including aspirin) to another, or from an NSAID to prednisone (or vice versa), can be dangerous. It is best to wait AT LEAST a week in between, preferably longer, before starting the new drug.”
Tramadol is a pain med (not an NSAID – non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) but it can help a lot of dogs and is much less invasive than NSAIDS. See info here:
Some natural supplements for pain:
Vitamin C: high doses (to bowel tolerance) Vit C makes the adrenal gland produce natural steroids which helps reduce inflammation. I have used as much as 6000-8000mg daily.
Update: While I had good results with Vit. C recent studies have found that vitamin C can actually make arthritis worse! See Excess Vitamin C May Worsen Osteoarthritis
DLPA– DL Phenylalanine (all natural) – makes the body produce natural endorphins – the bodies own pain killers. Some drugs can not be combined with this product- such as MAO inhibitors and if certain other health conditions exist. I had good results with this.
Glucosamine Hydrochloride and Chondroitin Sulfate: for joint support. It is now recommended to start on this prior to seeing symptoms – as a preventative by some vets. A G/C supplement without the Hydro and Sulfate has been said to be less effective.
EPA/DHA: (eicosapentaenoic acid/docosahexaenoic acid) Preferably (180mg/120mg) fish “body” (not liver) oil. This should be given with a vitamin E supplement if not already included in the product. Giving fish oil without vit. E can cause a defficieny of E in the body (same goes for humans) You can give fish oil at 1000mg/10 lbs of body weight for arthritis or other pain. If just giving for coat issues 1000-2000 daily should be sufficient. Vit. E would be 200-400 iu daily. If you are giving multiple fish oil capsules you need only give the E once per day.
The source of vit. E is important: alpha-tocopherol is best. See info at this link
3/4/2010: Please see this link on contaminated fish oil capsules and note the companies mentioned (GNC, CVS, etc.) and make an informed decision on where you buy your product.
Also please note: that I have contacted the company I mention above for EPA/DHA (Progressive) and here is information from their supplier that their product is tested and safe:
Permission to crosspost:
“March 3, 2010
Dear Valued Customer,
We have become aware of a private plaintiffs’ lawsuit filed in California on Tuesday March 2, 2010 under California’s unique Proposition 65 law with respect to PCB levels found in various supplements. Ocean Nutrition Canada (ONC) believes the press release issued by the plaintiffs is misleading with respect to our fish oil products and has a sensational headline that does not accurately reflect the Omega-3 EPA/DHA fish oil industry. The plaintiff’s press release and Q&A session implied that many fish oil supplements have illegally not disclosed information relating to PCBs and present a risk to consumers. They make these statements based on their view that no specific “Maximum Allowable Dose Levels” (MADLs) related to reproductive toxicity have been identified; notwithstanding the fact that Proposition 65 Safe Harbor Limits of 0.09 part per million have existed for many years. To help in understanding the current situation we provide the following information:
All fish oil supplements containing Ocean Nutrition MEG-3 ingredients are absolutely safe for consumption and meet or are better than the existing safe harbor limits set under California’s Proposition 65.
The title of the plaintiffs’ press release is misleading because only one of the products identified was a fish body oil, which is representative of the Omega-3 fish oil supplements sold by most manufacturers.
The other 9 products identified included cod liver oil, shark liver oil, and salmon oil.
The fish body oil product that was identified appears to meet the existing regulatory “safe harbor” limits set by the State of California for PCBs under Proposition 65.
Three of the ten products identified were over the Proposition 65 safe harbor limits for PCBs — those products contained cod liver oil or salmon oil and none of these products was supplied by ONC.
Proposition 65 has a long standing Safe Harbor Limit related to carcinogenic activity (i.e. NSRL (No Significant Risk Level) of 0.09 parts per million. It is ONC’s belief that all supplements should meet this standard.
Suggesting consumers switch to plant-based sources of Omega-3 is potentially irresponsible given the more limited health benefits associated with plant sources.
The lawsuit and related communications by the plaintiffs appear to be aimed at causing an unnecessary scare and their PR campaign risks the continuation of the dietary deficiency of Omega-3 EPA/DHA. ONC and other GOED members stand by the safety of their fish oil products and believe they meet the safe harbor limits for PCBs under California’s unique Proposition 65 regime. ONC believes the majority of fish oil on the market is safe for all consumers, including pregnant women, and it would be a travesty to dissuade pregnant women not to consume fish oil. Many studies over the years support the benefits of fish oil for pregnant women and their fetuses. All of ONC’s fish oils contain only trace levels of PCBs. Consumption of the maximum recommended dosage of capsules made with this oil represents a fraction of California’s regulatory “safe harbor” limit for PCBs promulgated under Proposition 65, at most. ONC has always advised its customers to review their labeling to ensure they meet guidelines set out by each state and by federal authorities.Further Insights and Information:Not all Omega-3 oils are the same. Understanding the source, quality, and refinement purification process used are important for consumers so they have confidence in their product choice. MEG-3® fish oils are sourced predominantly from anchovy, which are fished from pristine waters off the west coast of South America. Our input raw material oils from the fishery (i.e. pre-refining) are lower in PCBs than established guidelines for finished products. ONC’s facilities are inspected and approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limit for PCBs in infant foods (the most stringent level of any food) is 2 parts per million, which means that the FDA level here is more than twice the Proposition 65 level. In Australia, limits do not exist for fish oils specifically but do exist for PCBs in other foods. For example, the maximum limit in milk/eggs is 0.2 parts per million and in fish, it is 0.5 parts per million. Again, the current California Proposition 65 level of 0.09 parts per million is already significant below those levels. ONC oils meet or are better than the stringent PCB safety levels in the European Union and set by the WHO. Putting aside the sensational issues these plaintiffs have raised based on California’s unique Proposition 65 regime, ONC oils meet or are better than all global regulatory and safety standards and are the only Omega-3 oils in the world verified for quality by the United States Pharmacopeia. ONC oils meet or are better than the GOED voluntary monograph standards for PCB levels of 0.09 parts per million. ONC standard oils have been notified as GRAS by the FDA and approved at safe PCB levels of 0.20 parts per million. In fact, ONC oils are actually over 20 times below this level. The plaintiffs in this lawsuit are saying there is no safe level of PCBs related to reproductive toxicity, so all fish oils must subject to additional labeling requirements. Most fish, meat, eggs, milk and many other food products in the United States contain some trace (safe) levels of PCBs and would also be subject to this new prop 65 standard of labeling. This makes no sense. Most importantly for you, our customer, and for your consumers, the MEG-3® brand continues to signify an ingredient that people associate with a pure, safe and trusted source of Omega-3 EPA/DHA.We hope this letter has provided value for yourself and your customers. Should additional clarification or support be required please do not hesitate to contact us through our customer service desk, (Sherry Stark 902-480-3185 firstname.lastname@example.org ), through your sales representative or by contacting any of the undersigned.
Sincerely, Ocean Nutrition Canada LimitedJon Getzinger, MBA, Chief Sales and Marketing OfficerRobert Orr, President & CEOKim Pattenden-Davison, B.Sc., CQT, Acting Director, Quality Assurance Hilary M. Lloyd, MRPharmS, Director of Regulatory Affairs”
You can get a lot of info on this subject and holistic approaches for pain under the arthritis section at www.dogaware.com and the supplement, kidney failure sections.
Other products that some have found to help:
Glyco Flex Stage 2 by Vetri-Science: http://www.vetri-science.com/ Beta-tyme (natural cortizone) : http://www.bestforyourpet.com/prod/betat.html
Dog Gone Pain: (DGP) www.doggonepain.com I personally did not see results with this but have only tried it on one dog and every dog is different. Note: DGP: http://www.dgpresearch.info/dgpingredients.pdf
Alfalfa: http://www.b-naturals.com/alfalfa-1-lb-p-7 Consider 500mg/10 lbs of weight for pain. Once you see results cut down to 1/3 to 1/2 the dosage. I had good results with alfalfa for hip dysplasia back in the 70’s but back than did not know this hi dosage was safe. If you are unsure of the dosage check with your vet.
Another note on alfalfa: My product has the basic warnings about pregnancy etc., but it also says to discontinue use 2 weeks prior to surgery. Something else to discuss with your vet. While I have used most of what I mention above with success, I am not a veterinarian and I recommend you discussing this with your vet prior to administering. You will most likely be better off with a holistic vet if your vet is of the “old school” and doesn’t believe in the holistic approach. I also want to mention that if you are giving more than one dosage of any of these products it is best to split it up between a.m. and p.m. meals.
Search for holistic vets in your area here: http://www.vetlocator.com/holisticandalternative.php
(edited 11/27/07) Learned something new today regarding arthritis and wanted to share it here.“Apple Cider Vinegar is proving most beneficial to people or animals with arthritis because it breaks down calcium deposits in the joints while remineralizing the bones. It has proven to be equally beneficial to dogs with hip dysplasia.”
I have used ACV for many things for my dogs but never new the benefits for arthritis or HD.
(Edited 3/11/08) This product is something I am just learning about and know people using it for pain in lieu of expensive Adequan injections with wonderful results.
(Edited 3/5/09) This is from a fellow dog owner with a Lab, Charlie, that has arthritis and hip dysplasia:
Liquidambar 15: http://www.onlynaturalpet.com/product_detail.aspx?item_guid=F48D27C6-73B5-4319-BB11-5FD3E1F1D6F6&click=2083&mf=2
“I have been giving it to him for 2 months now. It was started along with acupuncture therapy. 4 treatments total. And I have to say Charlie’s limp has gone away. He walks and runs now and seems to be pain free.”
“I give him 2 tablets a day. I started 2-2X a day then backed off.
My vet even takes this himself and his back problems have improved.
Here is some info on this:
“Seven Forests Liquidambar 15 is a Chinese herbal remedy to invigorate meridians and vessels, relieve inflammation. Sample Indications for use include back pain, disc problems (inflammation, extrusion), bone hyperplasia, arthralgia affecting hips and/or spine, sciatica. 100 tablets.Ingredients: Liquidambar, Pyrola, Geranium, Cibotium, Pterospermum, Photinia, Kadsura, Morus twig, Loranthus, Chuan-shan-long, Rehmannia, Myrrh, Carthamus, Persica, Achyranthes”
Adequan injections can also help. Talk with your vet about this as you can learn to give injections at home.
Cold laser therapy is another option for arthritis and many other issues. Here is my blog with more info:
Cold Laser Therapy For Dogs
I hope the above is helpful and if anyone has any questions or comments please feel free. Give your senior a hug for me. I miss my Abbey every day.