Our senior dog developed her first of multiple dog tumors and started limping noticeably almost a year ago. I, the mom and owner, got all depressed and preparing obsessively for her trip to the rainbow bridge. I was so wrong. I lack experience in older dogs, that was all. The vet biopsied the tumor, declared it benign and asked me to put her on dog supplements, primarily dog glucosamine. I started her on those immediately and the change happened equally fast. I got my dog back. I was warned that there would be more tumors and not to worry so much. That came true. As for the supplements, I started her out on K-9 Liquid Health with glucosamine and MSM and when she "leveled" out I tried the Petco Joint Support III tablets. The switch gave her another boost. I plan to keep alternating her supplements about once a year.
Last weekend, while the vet's office was closed, my senior dog got worse than last time. She seemed unable to hold herself up. I waited patiently for my own vet because I don't trust the emergency clinic as much. I also gave her rimadyl that I had asked the vet to provide me with for emergencies.
Monday morning, we were at the vet's. Within a few minutes of our visit, the vet had a diagnosis ready. This wasn't a relapse. It wasn't even associated to the newly emerged tumors. The vet pulled a one inch piece of stick out of the front paw of my not really sick dog! But I had already checked my dog out meticulously! I hadn't missed it. It had simply pushed itself out, rejected by the dog's body, on that morning. The vet prescribed antibiotics for the affected area that was slightly pussy and swollen and proceeded to do a general exam. It is really important for older dogs to be seen by their vet regularly.
The vet was satisfied with my senior dog food choice. I have her on Blue Buffalo Dry Dog Food, Fish and Sweet Potato Recipe because of the main ingredients that even a human would consume. She was also happy to hear about the dog supplements, but she said I was missing one important dog supplement: omega-3 fatty acids. For my dog of 64lbs, the vet was very specific; the recommended dosage for a dog of that size is 500mg. My vet stressed the importance of omega-3 fatty acids for older dogs. A series of studies published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) has shed light on the benefits derived by this supplement for dogs with osteoarthritis. I suppose everyone knows that an eleven year old is definitely afflicted by dog arthritis. While dog arthritis does not mean sick dog, it does mean special care.
The special care of an older dog suffering from arthritis is simple: keep the weight down (overweight dogs suffer more), consistent and regular exercise, dog glucosamine, and now omega-3 has been added to the list, along with a good quality dog food, not necessarily a specific senior dog food.
Once again, a couple of short days after the emergency dog vet visit, I see my spotted senior dog happily running around. Tomorrow I will start her again on her usual exercise regiment.