I have a 9 year old yellow Lab, who already had confirmed hip dysplasia at age 4.5 when I adopted him. For the last two years, he has been on Rimadyl 2x per day and seems to have been doing fine with his arthritis. However, in the last 2-3 weeks, his left back leg suddenly began to cause him problems--he will hop or lose strength in it occasionally. I do not know whether he injured himself in any way His vet strictly limited his activity for a week and gave me Tramadol, which he has been getting (2 pills perday). Shortly after that, the limiping and hopping went away, but then he started trembling several times a day (whole body trembling). During the days that he was trembling, oddly, he was not limping at all. The trembling would often start suddenly if I asked him if he wanted to go for a walk. The trembling is accompanied by his ears going back and panting. Once he gets up and we start on the walk, he was fine and even pulled me along on the walk.
I have another appt with his regular vet next week. They have not recommended more hip x-rays as it is very apparent he has bad arthritis and dysplasia (every time he moves his hip, you can hear the bones creaking). His blood work came back fine. He's already on a glucosamine supplement.
Finances is not an issue and I would even consider a hip replacement if it would be helpful. Any suggestions? Is the trembling a pain indicator? It seems to come and go sporatically and is not brought on by anything> It almost seems like anxiety, but he has not had anxiety issues with me before.
Any help is appreciated. He's a very happy and sweet Lab.
I think that you should have X-Rays of his knees and spine performed. Hip dysplasia can through off the gait enough that it cause problems in other joints. A dog with a Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis of Bony Bi syndrome (chronic severe arthritis) will improve with movement. My other advise is to get acupuncture and physical therapy, and possibly chiropractic for your dog. A consult with a veterinary orthopedic surgeon is also advised, especially if after X-Rays a concurrent cranial cruciate tear is found, or other problem that could be repaired and inproved with surgery. If nothing is deemed reparable than there is always the holistics.
You can find an acupuncturist, and chiropracter at the American holistic veterinary medical association or the Chi Institute of Veterinary Acupuncture or IVAS.
Thank you for your response. We're going back to see his regular vet on Monday. I will discuss with him doing further x-rays. Thankfully, I have a vet who is open to acupuncture and chiropractic and the vet clinic we go to includes an acupuncture and chiropractic specialist.
I want to lend support and my personal experience to the idea of exercise for arthritis. I have pretty bad arthritis in several joints, and it didn't get better until I built up enough muscle to stabilize the area and take some stress off the bones. The same thing happened with two of my dogs - one with hip dysplasia and the other after TPLO surgery. Since arthritis was the main problem, and surgery had already been done, it was very important to keep my dogs active for as long as possible. Steady walking once a day as a minimum (and better twice a day) made a huge difference in their mobility and kept the pain manageable without medication for a number of years. We're also very lucky to have a swimming pool, and if your dogs like to swim, that is excellent physical therapy because it takes so much gravity off the body.
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