Knee Dislocation & Hip Dysplasia

Leia Loves SticksWhen we brought Leia home from the shelter there were a few things we didn’t know. We didn’t know she loves chasing a stick, we didn’t know she would gain 20 lbs in the first 2 months home, and we didn’t know she had patellar luxation. In fact, we didn’t find out for a while, until one day Leia went to stand up from a nap and whined. Then we started noticing it more: limping after hard play, being slow to get up and down, not wanting to walk as far as she use to… it broke our hearts. So we went to the vet for a check and to see what could be done. Leia was diagnosed with patellar luxation (dislocating knees) and had had this for a while. Both patellar luxation and hip dysplasia are somewhat common in large breed dogs. Symptoms can include limping, a skip in their step, bunny hopping with their back legs, swaying gait, refusal to stand on one leg, decreased activity, reduced interest in walking, trouble or reluctance to go up or down stairs, pain and tenderness, and slow or painful transitions form laying or sitting to standing (and vice versa).

There are generally 4 things you can do about these issues to help treat/manage it.

Knee and Hip Surgery

scalpelOne option is surgery. We learned that patellar luxation surgery can cost $1,500 to $3,000 dollars per knee, and our vet stated we would probably need to do one at a time with recovery time between (not all vets recommend separate surgeries). There is more than one type of surgery for hip dysplasia depending on the cause and severity of the issue, but in general the various surgeries can range from $1,500 to $3,000 and if you are considering replacing both hips it is from $7,000 to $12,000. Ouch!

Another route (and the one we chose) was managed care though supplements, pain management, and therapy.

DasuquinSupplements for Joint Health

Supplements can make a huge difference in how your dog feels on a daily basis. We put Leia on Dasuquin with MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) soft chews.  She loves the flavor and eats them like they are treats! We noticed the change after just a week of use. She moved easier, she moved faster, less whining when she got up and down. Dasuquin does not fix the problem, but it does make it much easier to live with. She is comfortable, happy, and demands her chew with breakfast.

Dasuquin contains Glucosamin and chondroitin  which helps with inflammation and joint health and may help reduce your pets need for pain medication. Also consider supplements with Omega3s such as Fish Oil soft gels. Our vet allowed us to give them twice daily in addition to the Dasuquin and Leia enjoys having them.

Pain Management

Our vet prescribed Previcox which is for pain and inflammation, is fast acting, and has worked well when Leia has occasional bad days (I think we have taken 3 in the past year). You do have options though! Some vets recommend Metacam  for pain and inflammation. It has the additional benefit of a good flavor, but it is not cheap. If you need a more cost effective option, talk to your vet about Meloxicam, it is affordable and with the help of some peanut butter, hotdog, or a pill pocket it can be easy to give.

PrevicoxAnother option is to get cortisone injections which can provide some pain relief, reduce inflammation, and generally lasts between 8 and 12 weeks. Cortisone is an injectable steroid medication and can lead to increased thirst, appetite, and can have additional negative side effects. Your vet should always be consulted before giving a cortisone injection.

Remember, some of these medications are used in humans as well, which can mean big savings for you! If your veterinarian is going to prescribe some medications for your pet, you might want to read this! Most medications are made for human consumption, some are not – so ASK! Find out exactly how many milligrams you are being prescribed and how many pills you are getting. Then, ask them how much the medications are going to cost.

Pull out your cell phone and check out the GoodRX  website or the GoodRX Mobile app. GoodRX allows you to enter your medication and zip code and compare prices nearby. Also consider getting a prescription and seeing if you can get it filled at Target, Publix, Walmart, or Sam’s Club. Most carry some medications that are prescribed for pets (and if you ever need antibiotics, they are free at Publix).  If you have a Walgreens or CVS card, you might find that these medications are cheaper at your local pharmacy. If it is not a medication you can get at a local pharmacy, check the price online at sites like 1800PetMeds. Many medications can be purchased for less online with a prescription. Also, ask your vet if they price-match, some vets have started doing this and it could save you a bit of money!

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy This option is often overlooked, and  I am really not sure why. There are several options when it comes to physical therapy and my very first suggestion is to talk to your vet before you implement any sort of in-home physical therapy. Some exercises include sit-stands (where you have your dog sit for a period of time, then stand, then sit again), short walks (if your dog appears sore or is limping at the end of the walk it is too much), hydrotherapy (including swimming and walking on a submerged aquatic treadmill), walking in figure 8’s and other exercises. It is important to use muscles or they will not improve, but not over use them to the point of damage. Here is a brief video about exercising dogs with hip dysplasia. Some exercises suggested for patellar luxation are contraindicated for hip dysplasia and vice versa, so it is very important to consult your vet &/or an orthopedic specialist.

A gentle massage and a warm (not hot) heating pad can provide additional relief.  Here is a brief video about  massage to address pain and there is are several videos about massage in general, as well as acupressure which can help with mobility, comfort and even anxiety and stress!   It is also important for your dog to maintain a healthy weight, as additional weight puts additional stress on joints. Talk to your vet about what your dog’s target weight should be to best protect joints and maintain overall health.

In Closing

Whether you choose surgery, supplements, pain management,  physical therapy, or a combination of any of the above, we hope you and your dog will benefit from the information presented.  Always consult with your veterinarian before taking a new course of action in order to ensure it is best for your pup, and consider consulting a canine orthopedic specialist, canine physical therapist, or canine massage therapist.  You are your dog’s advocate, if your veterinarian does not bring up these options, feel free to ask them how your dog might be able to benefit from them. Hopefully with some of these options your pup will find more pain-free days and reasons to keep that tail wagging!

 

 

Save Money on Prescription Medications for Your Dog

Save Money on Prescription Drugs for your DogYou know that feeling when you’re standing at the counter at the vet?  You’ve waited forever, your dog has been examined, you’ve been given a diagnosis and part of you is relieved, and part of you feels overwhelmed knowing you’re about ready to get the bill!  I know that what you really want to do is get out of there, but slow down!

If your veterinarian is going to prescribe some medications for your pet, you might want to read this!  Most medications are made for human consumption, some are not – so ASK!

Find out exactly how many milligrams you are being prescribed and how many pills you are getting.  Then, ask them how much the medications are going to cost.  Pull out your cell phone and look it up!  Download this app http://www.goodrx.com/ on your phone, plug in your zip code and poof!  If you have a Walgreens or CVS card, you might find that these medications are cheaper at your local pharmacy.

If you find that you can save a substantial amount, and you don’t need the medication immediately, ask for a written prescription!

Did You Know?  

Did you know that if your dog has hip dysplasia your vet might recommend using Metacam.  Metacam is awesome, my Reckless was on it for years.  The honey-flavored liquid was easy to dispense, and she loved the taste, but it was costing me about $25 a week.  I later learned that Metacam is really Meloxicam!  If anyone in your family has ever suffered from joint pain, a shoulder or knee injury they were probably given Meloxicam.  I talked to my vet about the difference – one is a liquid and the other is a pull.  For 30 tables, 15 MG the Meloxicam in pill form is $4 a month at Walmart, Target and many other pharmacies!

 

Also Read Over-the-Counter-Medication

Natural Heartworm Preventatives

BoBo, rescued heartworm positive, was heartworm negative in 8 months with monthly heartgard!

BoBo, rescued heartworm positive, was heartworm negative in 8 months with monthly heartgard!

I can’t recommend any alternative products to prevent heartworm disease in your dog, because I haven’t tried any!  You should, however, know the risks with any medication.  Bart’s Mom wrote today that he sometimes vomits when she gives him his heartworm preventative.  My China did too.  We have only had two dogs experience seizures after taking their heartgard.  Both dogs were male Border Collies, both dogs were exactly 51 pounds, and both dogs were given 50-100 pound heartgard.  Please be careful.

I can tell you that in trying to help Claire Bear, I ordered a kit of things, thinking it would help her.  The kit included treats, liquids, and powers.  The caveat to the “kit” was that it would not work if you didn’t alter the dog’s diet.  This begs the question, would Claire get better because of the mysterious potion I was making her, or because I changed her diet?  I am returning the product… it was useless.

If you have any articles you’d like to share, or can recommend any alternatives, please leave a comment on this page for us to share!

I also must warn you that there are a lot of scams out there.  Be careful where you place your credit card information!

One writer feeds raw, garlic, diatomaceous earth, and Heartworm Free product.  http://www.dogster.com/forums/Dog_Health/thread/709391

Product called Heartworm Free.  http://www.heartwormfree.com/products.htm

Heartworm preventative starts with diet.  http://voices.yahoo.com/heartworm-prevention-dogs-drugs-vs-herbal-treatments-8581441.html

SkeptVet says there’s no such thing!  http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2013/06/there-is-no-natural-or-holistic-heartworm-prevention-or-treatment-proven-to-be-safe-and-effective/

and don’t forget, we can get interceptor!  http://thedogliberator.com/need-interceptor/

 

Over-The-Counter Medications For Dogs

It’s 9:15pm on a Sunday night and your dog has developed diarrhea.  What do you do?  Rush to the emergency vet?  Maybe.  Or maybe not.  Dog owners know that sometimes a simple over-the-counter med will do the trick, at least until their regular vet is open.  Here is some advice concerning medications that may help, obtained from Walker Valley Veterinary Hospital. Please check the site directly before giving your dog any meds in case it has been updated. And, of course, consult with your personal vet whenever possible.:

You may help to ease your pet’s symptoms with the use of some over-the-counter medicines.  However, it’s never a good idea to just assume a human medication will be a safe and effective treatment for your pet.  Contact your veterinarian before starting any medical therapy, to discuss your options.  Always let the veterinarian know your pet’s symptoms and what you have been treating it with.  As with all illnesses, persistent symptoms warrant a trip to the doctor’s office.


WARNING!  DO NOT GIVE!
Acetaminophen(Tylenol) and Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) are toxic to both cats and dogs, even in small doses.  Pepto Bismol can also be highly toxic in cats.

Here is a list of over-the-counter medications that can be safely used for your pet.  Please read everything before administering an OTC medication to your pet.  If it is not on this list — do not give it!

KAOPECTATE/IMODIUM (loperamide):
Can be given to some dogs and cats for diarrhea.  WARNING: Certain dog breeds related to Collies may have adverse reactions to Imodium (loperamide/ivermectin).  Do not give this medicine to Collies, Shelties, Australian Shephards and Long-haired Whippits. See this site for more detailed information.  (Thanks to Ken Brookner for this correction.)

For those animals for which this medicine is appropriate give 1 teaspoon for every 20 pounds.  This dosage can be repeated every 4-6 hours for 24 hours, or until symptoms begin to resolve.

PEPTO-BISMOL:
Can be administered to dogs (never cats!) with upset stomach or vomiting.  Give one teaspoon per 20 pounds of weight every 4-6 hours for 24 hours, or until symptoms begin to resolve.

BENADRYL(Diphenhydramine):
Benadryl is an antihistamine that helps relieve swellings and itching from allergic reactions and is used long-term to treat allergies.  The dose is one milligram for every pound given twice daily.  (Although safe to use, Benadryl is not very effective in cats, and other antihistamines are more commonly prescribed.)

Benadryl Dosage for Dogs,
1 mg per pound, Twice Daily
weight     /          amount
12 lbs      /            12 milligrams (pediatric dose)
25 lbs      /            25 milligrams (1 adult capsule)
50 lbs     /             50 milligrams (2 adult capsules)

ASPIRIN:
Can be given short term to dogs (never cats!) to help relieve inflammation and pain.  Buffered Aspirin (Bufferin) is easier on the stomach but regular (non-coated) aspirin can also be used.  Aspirin may be given once or twice a day.  Always give aspirin with food.

Aspirin has potent blood thinning properties, and continued usage may be dangerous in some animals. For long term pain relief there are safer veterinary-specific alternatives.

Aspirin Dosage for dogs
Once or twice a day, with food
weight                     /   amount
less than 10 lbs   /     ½ baby aspirin
10-30 lbs              /      1 baby aspirin
30-50 lbs              /      ½ regular aspirin
50-100 lbs           /       1 regular aspirin
over 100 lbs        /       2 regular aspirin

DRAMAMINE (Dimenhydrinate):
Dramamine is an antihistamine that works well at preventing motion sickness in both cats and dogs.  This drug works best if given at least ½ hour prior to travel.

Dramamine Dosage for dogs
½ hour prior to travel
weight     /   amount
small        /   12.5 milligrams
medium  /   25 milligrams
large         /    50 milligrams

TAGAMET (Cimetidine)/PEPCID-AC/ZANTAC:
Reduces the amount of stomach acids and can be dispensed to dogs and cats suffering from ulcers, acid reflux or belly ache. Sometimes they are used to prevent ulcers in animals taking other medications. These medications are given once to twice daily. It’s best to discuss the exact dosage with your veterinarian.

Tagamet/Pepcid-AC/Zantac Dosage for Dogs
one or twice daily
weight                       /     amount
less than 20 lbs     /      ¼ tablet
20-60 lbs                 /      ½ tablet
over 60 lbs             /        1 whole tablet

HYDROCORTISONE:
Can help to relieve itchy, raw or irritated skin. It can be used topically to reduce itching from hives, hot spots, and insect bites and stings. Apply a small amount up to two times daily.

GAS-X (Simethicone):
Simethicone is used in dogs to help with unusual flatulence or gas discomfort. Any dog suspected of Bloat should get 2 doses immediately before transport to the Emergency Clinic.

GAS-X Dosage for Dogs
weight         /     amount
small           /      ¼ adult dose
medium     /      ½ adult dose
large           /       1 adult dose

GLUCOSAMINE:
Glucosamine (and glucosamine in combination with chondroitin sulfate) is used to treat joint pain associated with athritis. This is a long term treatment whose effects may not be immediately noticeable.

Glucosamine Dosage for Dogs
weight                /     amount
under 25 lbs    /    500 milligrams
25-50 lbs          /   1000 milligrams
over 50 lbs      /    1500 milligrams

ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENTS:
Are helpful in the treatment of small wounds, bites or minor infections.  Always thouroughly clean the wound with soap and water first.

ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP:
Can be use to clean any wound or injury.

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE:
1 – 10 teaspoons given orally will induce vomiting.  (See toxicities.) Hydrogen peroxide is not as effective to clean wounds as antibacterial soap and water.

NASAL SPRAYS:
Saline nasal spray and pediatric nasal sprays (Little Noses) can be given in kittens, cats, puppies, and dogs to alleviate dryness and nasal congestion associated with a cold.  No other type of OTC nasal medication should be used unless prescribed by your veterinarian.

More Helpful Information

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Bringing your new dog home

Click here to read “Starting out Right” .  This page contains everything there is know about bringing one of our rescued puppies or dogs to your new home!

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