Share advice for keeping your aging dog happy and healthy


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Barked: Mon Jul 1, '13 12:09pm PST 
I have a 16year old mixed breed Maltese/dachshund type dog. For the last couple of years I noticed him slowing down and sleeping more and more. Six months ago the vet suggested I try Rimadyl for his arthritis.
Since then he has been like a new dog! A few times a day he is like a manic puppy, tearing round the house. Slight problem is due to his age he is now nearly completely blind and deaf so often runs into the furniture etc (although this never seems to bother him).
I have recently read about the dangers of Rimadyl. Does anyone approve of this drug? I keep watching out now for sudden side effects or sudden death, but my dog is 16 years old, isn't it better that he has quality of life now, even if there is a risk the drug shortens his life?
Opinions gratefully received, please note that before Rimadyl he was sleeping nearly 23 hours per day !

Member Since
Barked: Tue Jul 2, '13 12:11pm PST 
hi- my dog coco is a lasha aspso and he is also on novox, the generic pill he is 15/16 or 16/17. he has bad back legs. he has been on it for 2 months now. coco had a mct tumor removed in 2009, did a good recovery. his back legs are like jello my dog also cannot see good he has a corneal birthday was yesterday and he made 11 yrs with me, I found him abandoned in a lot on 6/28/2002. he also sleeps a lot. what is good news is he still has an appetite like a sailor. I love him dearly and I am alone in this life. i will lose him very soon - everything reminds me of him i say his name a million times I cannot get another dog because im 66 and cannot do no more cold winters. u can reach me here-code name peaches-1176977. im new to this site if u can explain it to me how to correspond-super
Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
Barked: Tue Jul 30, '13 4:16pm PST 
It will come down to you knowing your dog best. Rimadyl is a dangerous drug, especially for long-term use. Any NSAID will be, although some are noted to be a bit milder. I have heard from many people who prefer Previcox and/or Trama-dol (there is no hyphen; this word triggers Dogster's not G-rated filter), for example. But as you've seen, it absolutely does stop pain.

Regardless of what you choose, I would try to wean his dose back so you're giving as little as possible. Many times a dog doesn't need the full dose, or can get by with an as-needed or every-other-day, or week-on, week-off schedule. Considering his liver is at stake, playing around a little may be very worthwhile.

There are complimentary therapies for arthritis as well. Glucosamine and condrotion supplements can do wonders. It takes a couple weeks to get into their system, and some supplements work better than others. I'm currently using Cool Dog Holistic Joint for my girls and I'm very happy with it, although they're on it for maintenance, not therapy.

Our holistic vet had Vance on Xymogen DJD Factors for his spondylitis and arthritis, and it worked very well. Not 100%, but nothing will be. He was greatly improved while on it, though. It is a human supplement, so you would have to research dosing. I coupled this with an omega 3 supplement, as O3's are a natural anti-inflammatory and typically lacking in our food supply.

Controlled movement helps arthritis as well. There are an increasing number of animal physical therapists offering exercises like laser therapy, hydrotherapy and ball work. Wizard of Paws is my semi-local place, and their website offers quite a bit of information. There are products in their store comprehensive enough for you to DIY ball work, too.

Although more controversial, chiropractic care can be immensely helpful. I have heard of people having luck with acupuncture as well, although I haven't tried it personally.

These are the things I used to keep Vance mobile. They worked well enough, with some blah days and an occasional very bad day thrown in. I am thankful I didn't have to make a call on whether to start NSAIDS or not. He had serious liver disease already, so I would have been buying him a few more happy days or weeks, not months or years.

Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Tue Jul 30, '13 5:22pm PST 
There are some breeds that are MUCH more sensitive to Rimadyl as well. Labradors are one and in their case, as little as one dose can be fatal.
Tram-adol is for pain only, it is not an anti-inflammatory drug.
I, the human, have taken trama-dol AND the human equivalent of Rimadyl for over 15 years and I have bloodwork every 6 months with NO liver changes at all in all those years, fortunately.
I own labs and poodles and have some Chinese Cresteds and Frenchies. I wouldn't hesitate to give Rimadyl to the cresteds or Frenchies (with proper blood work as recommended), but would NEVER allow even one dose to be given to any of the labs, and would seriously hesitate to give it to the poodles.

When the night- closes in I will- be there
Barked: Fri Aug 2, '13 10:26am PST 
I use acupuncture periodically for Sabs and the results are amazing. She needs treatment roughly every 6 months not monthly as recommended.
That said I also use Metacam every once in a while as needed. I personally would never use Rimadyl, but I have GSDs who are also at high risk for liver complications from it. Even on the Metacam blood work is recommended every 6 months which is why we use it on an as needed basis.
You might try using it only as needed instead of daily.

I dig in mud- puddles!
Barked: Sat Aug 3, '13 8:19am PST 
I've also heard very good things about acupuncture.

Rexy has been on Rimadyl for the last month or so to help her cope with worsening arthritis and advanced hip dysplasia. We had the preliminary bloodwork done beforehand.

Please be aware that all drugs have side effects, and different dogs react differently to them. FWIW my two cats have had dramatically different reactions to Trama-dol (hyphenated because Dogster thinks this word is not fit for the forums confused ).

You can also look into Traumeel and Zeel (homeopathic preparations). There are a few Dogsters that have had success with these. You can also look into adding a supplement that contains green lipped mussel (GLM) to his diet. I've been giving GLM to Rexy for just over a week, and I believe we may be seeing positive results as yesterday was the first day we've been able to give her only one dose of Rimadyl to get through the day.