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    1. #1
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      tennysonlab's Avatar
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      What to expect as Odin ages

      Hi, I'm Dawn, some of you might remember me from before the board crashed. I have Odin, an 11 year old Lab who had a Mast Cell Tumor removed from his face. Since the surgery he has started to slow down tremendously. I know that he has hip dysplasia from x-rays that were done when we were investigating why he was leaking some urine when relaxed, and am concerned that he is getting worse. He tends to slip a lot more than he ever did in the past on the linoleum floor (thankfully it is only in the kitchen), and he doesn't always pick up one of his back legs when he walks and will drag it a tiny bit. I live on a first floor apartment and he only has to step up one small step to get into the doorway, but yesterday he tried climbing up my neighbor's porch steps (5 or 6 normal steps, not extra steep or anything), and it was heartbreaking to watch him struggle. He also had trouble going down the steps and stumbled. On our walks around the block (about 15 minutes), he now stops several times and doesn't want to move. He will continue the walk, but at the end is so slow and panting heavily. He grunts and groans more and more when he is lying down and getting up. He is on glucosamine and chondroitin, and a buffered aspirin twice a day. He still perks up at the dog park to meet other dogs (he has a fetish for little dogs) and will play for a minute or two with my other Lab, Gaea, but not nearly like he used to.

      I was hoping to get some insight as to what I should be doing next. In the morning I am scheduling a vet visit to have him looked at this week (it's been 6 months since the surgery and I felt it was time to go back anyway), but I am not sure what to expect. I know she has mentioned there are several different anti-inflammatory and pain medicines that he can go on, but other than that, I am at a loss. He is about 100 pounds and is an English strain, so he is a large Lab. He gets two cups of food a day, one cup in the am and one in the pm, a biscuit with his pills twice a day and veggies/fruit as snacks (mostly celery and carrots--although I have read they are high in histamines and I should avoid them, but I don't know another low calorie alternative he could have). I can't walk him more because he gets so winded and it is starting to get very hot here and I don't have access to a pool to get him swimming, and even if I did, he hates the water. My vet mentioned when we were there in January that this might be his last year, especially after I mentioned I was concerned about him slowing down so much. I don't have a lot of experience with a senior dog and am just wondering what you all might suggest to help him stay comfortable and also what the vet might suggest we do. I don't mind putting him on stronger medicines, as what we have him on now was just a starting point. Is there something that is preferred? Should my vet do more x-rays to see how his hips have changed over the years? He has memory foam beds, beds made from pillows and blankets to sleep on as getting into the bed was nixed after he started leaking urine and having trouble getting up into the bed. We already assist him in getting into the back of the car and I am looking at getting a sling to help me lift him when my BF can't help out.

    2. #2
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      I would listen to the vet and get him on some anti-infl and pain meds immediately. He must lose weight! I have had some BIG Labs but even the biggest guy didn't need to weigh 100 pounds at that age. Get him some diet food and start excersing him when he gets the meds going. There's a lot of life left in him and he wants to live it.

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      tennysonlab (06-23-2014)

    4. #3
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      Hi, I guess I know how you feel:
      slippery and potentially dangerous linoleum kitchen floor - been there, done that
      one flight of stairs up to the elevator and another one down and out of the building
      slow walks etc.
      All of that was my Lynn. At first I tried to blame the kitchen floor problem on her hard and callusy paws, then on too long claws and finally we avoided kitchen altogether. With some patience we managed to conquer the stairs three times a day, our walks were slow, but we walked - she called the shots because she knew better than me how tired she was and if she was in pain. I tried to keep her weight as low as possible without causing malnutrition, just slightly over 70 pounds, and it worked. Finally when she was 13+ she almost fell down the stairs when we were leaving the building, so I took her to the vet for X rays to find out what exactly was wrong and get some advice. We ended up with bilateral hip arthritis and started NSAID and joint supplement treatment - worked for more than a year and even on her last day we took a regular morning walk, already shortened and very slow, but a walk because as long as you're moving, you're still alive.
      Not much help here, just wanted to say I understand how you feel and share the little I know. There are members here with a lot of experience with seniors, so they may give you some more useful advice. The best of luck to you and Odin and don't give up, these things are manageable. Fingers crossed for both of you.
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      You shall never be forgotten, my friend

      Mel *6/14/2013
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      tennysonlab (06-23-2014)

    6. #4
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      lovealab2's Avatar
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      My old girl got to where she was petrified to walk on the hardwood floors in my house. Big problem since my whole downstairs is hardwood! I had to put down a path of carpet runners in the kitchen, around to her bed area, and one to the outside door. It was not very pretty but it helped greatly. We also built a ramp over the one step out to the garage door.

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      tennysonlab (06-23-2014)

    8. #5
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      Your post broke my heart, sending you a ((((hug)))).

      I am not a fan of anti-inflammatory meds but I understand many have success with them without serious problems. Please make sure your vet does bloodwork before starting them and frequently while on them. Making sure they eat and giving a dose of Pepcid prior to the meds is very helpful. Tramadol is another pain reliever you could talk to your vet about. Definitely something to keep on hand for bad days.

      Wishing you the best of luck as your journey with Odin in his senior years goes on.
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      Maxx and Emma Jean

      Ozzy - 10/2002 - 06/2011 - Rest well my sweet boy. You are forever remembered, forever missed, forever in my heart.

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      tennysonlab (06-23-2014)

    10. #6
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      POPTOP's Avatar
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      It's so hard to see our seniors struggle. Having had seniors in our house for years now, all slippery floors, at the very least, have carpet runners. It's not a fashion statement but I could care less. Home Depot sells the rubber backed runners by the foot, easy to keep clean, easy to wash off.

      Mardi is at the point now where there are more days she needs Tramadol than not. Also, with Melody, who had lower spine arthritis, I found that the Tramadol helped with incontinence. She had bowel incontinence and did not even know it was happening. I'd just clean up and we would go on about our day.

      Sending gentle hugs.

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      tennysonlab (06-23-2014)

    12. #7
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      We have a 13 y/o boy.

      You are going to have to put throw rugs down on all slippery floors just to be safe.

      G/C is not enough of a supplement. You need to include MSM and hyalauronic acid...take a look at Canine Hylasport.

      Ask your vet about some stronger pain meds. Hudler takes 100mg of tramadol 2x a day and 1 7.5mg meloxicam daily (if you go this route ask the vet for the human meloxicam prescription $4 a month at Walmart vs. $120 a month for Metacam). Make sure they do a blood test before any meds. But your vet will know.

      Drop the weight you can, but some dogs are big. Hudler is a 90# dog. He'll never be a 70# dog. Do what you can to help his weight.
      Jen & Tickle!
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      tennysonlab (06-23-2014)

    14. #8
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      Thanks everyone. I want to do everything I can to ensure he is happy and not in pain. We have an appointment Wednesday afternoon to talk about new medicines. The glucosamin supplement he is on has the MSM and the hyalauronic acid, but he's been on that since I first got him and the vet mentioned it was a good idea as a preventative. I will definitely ask for a script for meloxicam is she mentions it. I am writing down all of your suggestions to discuss them with the vet. We had hoped that he would only need the aspirin, but when he stopped wanting to go for walks, I knew that just wasn't cutting it. I too worry about the long term effects as I know what happens in humans. I have several back issues and have been told I will have to be on anti-inflammatory meds for life and it terrifies me as my aunt passed in December from pancreatic cancer that was exacerbated by the lesions covering from a lifetime on meds.

      I will get some carpet runners for the kitchen. Does anyone use the socks with grips?

      I hope that once we find the right dose of medicine he can get out more. It's hot during the day so we just walk in the morning and at night, but he loved going on them and I hope he will enjoy them again.

      Thanks again, and I will keep you all posted on how he does.

    15. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to tennysonlab For This Useful Post:

      Annette47 (06-23-2014), MikeLynn (06-23-2014)

    16. #9
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      I was in the same situation a while back with Buddy who will be 13 next month.
      First, the panting could be related to Laryngeal Paralysis, pretty common in Labs.
      You can read up on it.
      Second, I had tried Bufferin with buddy, and it didnt do much, the vets put him
      on Meloxicam(anti inflammatory) and Gabapentin(nerve pain).
      The difference in Buddy was amazing !
      He wanted to go up the stairs again (a year back we installed a carpet runner
      just for him). His appetite was back, it just made such a big difference.
      Its so hard to know when they are in pain.
      He is also on one pepcid a day. Buddy is 95 lbs, and skinny. He is a Field Lab
      and does not need to lose weight. He also has lots of fatty tumors.
      The LP causes him to poop sometimes and not even be aware of it. sometimes
      in his sleep, other times whenever, I dont care, I am glad he is still here with us !
      Almost forgot to mention, every evening around 5 he gets Alzheimers symptoms.
      Painting, pacing digging, agitated, I give him Quiet moments and in 1/2 hour he
      is much less anxious. another thing to consider..........
      Last edited by bearbuddymarie; 06-23-2014 at 03:12 PM. Reason: add

    17. The Following User Says Thank You to bearbuddymarie For This Useful Post:

      tennysonlab (06-23-2014)

    18. #10
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      dynamicgang's Avatar
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      Make sure his back isn't bothering him. That would be one thing I would check.


      The Dynamic Gang

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      tennysonlab (06-23-2014)

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