T Nation

Dog Question


#1

Got a 4+ year old femal lab. She's pretty stout, about 80 lbs. Definitely a great companion for my GF and I. She's a very happy dog, loves to be around people and other dogs alike,

Anywho...

The Lab loves to chill out and will chose chilling over playing. We initially thought it's because she came from a puppy mill, had a litter of pups early in life which has mellowed her quite a bit.

The problem is this. When she gets up, she limps on her left front leg for about a dozen steps, then after moving around a bit she's fine.

We think that this malady is limiting her, like she wants to do more but knows that she'll be in pain so just stays put to circumvent the discomfort.

I think she's having joint issues, again it's not in her rear legs as hip displagia would normally present, it's in her front leg.

Here is my plan to assist with her discomfort.

  1. Increase activity, take her and my Husky on regimented walks every day.

  2. Initiate regimen of Glucosamine and monitor for one month.

  3. Begin Massages two times a day.

  4. Get her up and moving more often.

  5. Monitor her weight to ensure that she's not gaining any more, and assess if weight loss is helping her joints.

  6. Get her to the beach at least once a week to make her swim.

Now, I've seen dogs, labs especially, who have weighed more than she does and be just as active as any Jack Russel. To look at her you wouldn't recognize obesity, she very muscled and damn strong. I'm just concerned that early puppy-birth along with her body mass has permanently damaged her joints to the point where she cant enjoy her life to the fullest.

So am I on the right track? Is there more I can do for her? Is there something that I'm planning to do that is contraindicated in this case?

We are planning a visit to the vet after about a month of the above mentioned regimen depending on the results.

Thanks in advance for your input,

GAINER


#2

I would go to the Vet and get it x-rayed, it might be elbow displaysia or a shoulder issue. especially possibly coming from a puppy mill there could be other issues not showing themselves yet.


#3

I've owned labs before. Don't remember any issue like that with them. Could be arthiritis setting in.

I have a German Short Haired pointer who is always stretching and limping but runs like a champ in the field. She benefits from activity, especially during bird season.

I'd also suggest a check up at the vet in case it's a sprain or small fracture.

My tip for hunting dogs at least is to feed them egg yolks. I eat the whites every morning and I give them the yolks. They love them and I think it's good nutrition.


#4

Glucosamine did wonders for my dog. He started severly limping around eight years
of age. After about two months of taking it, he was as active as I've ever seen him.

I assume you are in a warm climate because you mentioned the beach and it is October. My dog loves the snow, and will dig down into it and sleep. I notice that after this, he walks like he is very stiff. Not much point in this statement, I just want to rule out cold weather as a contributing factor.


#5

I breed dogs (pitbulls); here is my input: First, most pets ARE overweight - to the untrained eye, most pet owners only spot the most obviously overweight dogs. In fact, when a dog is fit like a human athlete, folks most often think the dog is too thin or underweight. So, make sure the weight issue is in order b/c even if this problem is transient, over time, the weight issue will cause problems.

I don't run to the vet everytime something pops up; but if it doesn't resolve or its long standing, see a vet as someone pointed out. Most problems where folks run to the vet, such as limping, usually resolve on their own.

I would up the swimming while you're experiencing this problem; its the best form of exercise in this situation - non weight bearing - especially if this will be a chronic problem.

Most dogs regardless of breed, generally quiet down after motherhood; but each dog is different. I wouldn't be too alarmed and dogs have higher pain tolerance, generally, than we do, so she may, or may not, be suffering. If the problem goes away quickly, it sounds like something chronic and not acute...else she probably wouldn't get better as she "warmed up".

Just some thoughts - nothing comprehensive. Good luck with her.


#6

You could consider adding some fish oil, flax seed oil and ground flax seeds to her diet, too. I have a 6 yo male black lab, they're great dogs :slight_smile:


#7

Hmmmm.... I'd put the bitch to sleep and as far as the dog it's a good plan.


#8

I'd visit the vet. We had a retriever that had a very similar thing - she'd struggle to get up, and take a few steps before she got going - and she was slightly arthritic.
I'd also agree about weight: our idea, as owners, of whjat the optimum weight of a pet should be is often way off the mark.
Good luck, and I hope you get things sorted.

Dan


#9

I thought of arthritis as a possible problem. I knew a family w/ an older yellow lab who limped around a lot. I remember they told me that labs are prone to arthritis, but I never researched it myself.

Sounds like glucosamine is a good idea. I hope it works.


#10

EG,

I asked a similar question a few months back and got a great response from the folks here. Glucos/chondr/msm and massage has helped my golden a lot. She is 11. Your 4 year old probably has a temporary injury that , as another poster said, wil resolve itself. Good luck, look up my thread,(called "dog hip problems" I think...) go blue.


#11

Mad Titant, good one! :smiley:


#12

Figured I'd update...

It's been about a week on her above listed regimen and she seems to be doing much better.

Yesterday she actually brought me a toy and wanted me to play with her, which is huge. She usually greets me when I get home then goes back to chilling, but yesterday she was all stoked to play and run around.

So things are looking up,

Thanks all for your input

GAINER


#13

I use glucosamine and fish oil with my pits with excellent success. I also have a 125lbs., 11yr. old rottie/dane cross and he's still very active with no joint issues. Make sure you're using a good quality dog food and, as someone else mentioned, watch her weight. One of the local grocery stores often has a sale on salmon for $.50 a can. I buy up about 30 at a time and give each dog a 1/4 can with each meal along with a salmon cap.
Labs are proned to getting a little heavier. When you look down at your dog from the top, they should be fish shaped, that is..... taper at the waist. For most breeds it's good if you can see a hint of ribs.
If the limp returns, get some x-rays done. I know it can be pricey, but that's the cost of animal companionship.
Congrats on your new family member