My Dog’s Arthritis

my dog runs at Clearville beach, Lake ErieMy Standard Poodle Leo has arthritis in his spine and left hip. Joint degeneration. His running, jumping and dancing on hind legs must be curtailed. I am sad and furious.

He’s maybe 9, no longer a young dog. So you might say: he’s had good years, aging happens. I’d agree – but. He only had 3 “good years.”

Leo spent 5 years of his life in a cage, not running, probably not even walking much. When he came to us, he had trouble climbing a step. At first, he just didn’t know what to do, he’d clearly never seen steps before. But even when he figured out how, he didn’t have the strength in his legs to do it. He gained strength. He loves to run fast, climb hills and dance.

He’d been a breeding dog in a Georgia puppy mill. That’s why I don’t know his exact age. I know from the record that came with him that he’d been purchased December 12, 2003. He was at least 6 months at that time, I figure. I doubt they get them until they’re of breeding age. Why feed unproductive mouths?

Poodle running at Conservation Area, St. ThomasHe got out in September 2008 via a rescue group and came to Canada. He and his Labradoodle cellmates were not seized in a raid that closed the puppy mill. The rescue group bought them. They were old breeding stock, used up, and young dogs who hadn’t sold. No one put the miller  out of business, he just got cash to buy new stock. I know it was a man, white-haired. They’re the only people that Leo was truly scared of when he came to us.

So his joint degeneration makes me angry, angry at that white-haired man in Georgia and all puppy mill operators. They use up animals’ God-given vitality without care about what quality of life those generations of dogs will have. They abuse animals in order to make themselves “a living.”

Joint degeneration ends agility

The note on Leo’s rescue assessment says he’s “a really nice friendly Poodle doing agility jump at Moore Water Gardens Port Stanleyboy. He would do great for agility or obedience.” He loves agility.  I took him to a horse show once and he jumped the low bars set up for kids and ponies.

Now he eats ‘joint health’ kibble with glucosamine and omega fatty acids. He takes anti-inflammatory and pain pills. The medications are his for life, as worry is mine when he slips or limps. I hope only to avoid surgery. He can still run, his doctor says, just don’t overdo it, watch for signs of pain. Get in the habit of nice walks.

Puppy mill or not, he might develop arthritis at his age. My other dogs did. But they had more than three years of healthy freedom before bone and joint degeneration afflicted them.

Raise dishes

Here’s a simple thing I did: put his dishes in flowerpots. The higher one is for Leo’s bowl raised in flower pot for dog with joint degenerationdog bowls raised with two sizes of flower pots photo D Stewartfood so he doesn’t have to lean down, thereby avoiding strain on his joints. The lower one is for water that he shares with smaller pets. Here are more good hints for arthritic dogs.

Country Club for Pets in London ON set up the agility course that Leo tried near Port Stanley at Moore Water Gardens. Since I posted this (St. Thomas Dog Blog Dec. 30/11), Leo’s arthritis has worsened but he still gets around. We tried laser therapy but his condition is too bad for it to help. For younger animals or less severe arthritis, it’s well worth a try.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Facebooktwitterpinterestmailby feather

4 thoughts on “My Dog’s Arthritis”

  1. Most dogs will get arthritis at some point in their lives. The reason why that happens depends on quite a few factors. Things such as injuries, skeletal abnormalities, nutrition, obesity … Nutrition can often overcome genetics!

    Addressing the potential triggers – treating injuries, feeding quality diet, keeping ideal weight, regular exercise … these things can go a long way in preventing arthritis.

    As for treating arthritis when it’s already there, there are many options, which again include nutrients and physical activity, but also things such as laser therapy, acupuncture, stem cell therapy … drugs too but I list them last because I am not a fan and I know that the non-drug treatments can work miracles.

  2. I love the flower pot idea, very clever. My Toby has all sorts of joint issues too, but due to aging or genetic susceptibility. He was fortunate to be be rescued as pup, and I’ve had him most of his life. He was part of an unwanted farm litter left by the roadside.

    1. Thank you Yvonne, I was pleased with myself. I’d used a low cardboard box for my other dog Jack and put a piece of that plastic ‘knit’ shelf liner stuff on it to keep the bowl in place. But Leo is a very enthusiastic eater so box and bowl went all over the floor unless I held it still. Both for food and water, the flower pots are working perfectly. Toby was lucky to end up with you. I hope his littermates made out ok too. Glad you wrote.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *