Bad Hips in German Shepherd - Hills Joint Defence Dog Food.(5 Posts)
Does anyone have experience of this dog food ?
Our German Shepherd is 9 years old. We resuced her 5 years ago. She is a very high energy dog. Since we have had her, she has had problems with arthritis in her front elbows, which we managed with Loxicom/Metacam and rest.
Her back hips are now starting to go. We were expecting this, but not so soon. She is on rest from walkies, with Loxicon, and a prescription diet of Hills J/D. We also have her referred for hydrotherapy.
Have just been doing some research on the Hills food, and it doesnt appear to be of very good nutritional quality. Does anyone have any experience with it, or use an alternative?
She is such a lovely, big (6 .5 stone!), high energy dog, and no walkies is making her very depressed! We are happy to pay extra for a good quality food that may assist her condition.
Any additional advise is also welcome on how we could manage this.
You will probably see some benefits with the hydrotherapy. Get this started as soon as possible. Our arthritic elderly greyhound bitch has been doing brilliantly on it. I was in tears at the vet the last time, as she'd reached the top of the pain relief ladder and I was imagining the worst - the hydro has been a lifesaver, quite literally. She can't wait to go there, rushes in wagging her tail and dashes up to the treadmill area, wiggling with excitement. At this rate we are seriously considering her graduating to the free swimming area. She is panting much less, not making the loud groans when she settles and is so much more perky, and less stiff. My friend who has a mastiff bitch has been using it for ages for her arthritis and it has given her a couple of extra years with good quality of life.
I'm not sure how this weight is for her height but I would say it's important to keep them as lean as you possibly can, possibly even fractionally underweight - those joints don't need to be carrying any extra weight. We feed raw, so I can't advise on this particular kibble, but would be highly sceptical of claims made. Like many people here, I trust and respect my vets absolutely, but would be wary of these types of diets unless there were very clear and specific medical reasons indicated (and arthritis by itself wouldn't be one). Unfortunately, a lot of vet practices sell these foods on commission.
Yes hydrotherapy is fantastic - apart from anything else it's the best way for dogs like these to get some proper exercise without putting weight and strain on the joints. They can build up to working really quite hard - whether it's treadmill or just swimming (at our pool they have jets to increase the resistance in the water if needed) - so should be able to tire out even a high-energy dog! The hydrotherapist should be able to judge the appropriate level to start at, and you can usually build it up gently week by week.
Is it arthritis in her hips? Our Rottie suffers with this (only mild so far, thankfully), and we've had good results with Cartrophen injections, also give him glucosamine supplements with his food. Haven't tried prescription foods, personally prefer to just use a good quality dry food (we use Orijen) and add supplements as you need, that way you get to control the dosage without changing the amount of food!
Thank you for your responses.
The vet said her weight is fine, but to not let it go any higher, so we have cut out treats. She is a very tall dog.
She has arthritis is her front elbow for about 4 years, which has been fairly easy to manage, however, its only over the last month we have noticed her hips / backend to drop down, and she sometimes struggles with steps and stairs. She struggled to jump into the car on Monday, and since then it just gives way for a second a few times a day. I think it isnt arthritis but one of the hip disorders. It doesnt appear to be both hips just one side. She also sits funny. It came on very quickly though.
The hydrotherapy sounds like a positive, so cant wait to give this ago. We tend to take her swimming in a river a few times a week, which she loves, but I am not sure whether the cold does her any good now. I also think her running belly flops into the water may not be good for her either!
I hope the hydrotherapy goes well, if she's already a swimmer she ought to take to it no problem - ours isn't, and took quite a bit of persuading into the pool the first few times!
We also got a ramp for the car, maybe that would be something to consider if she's starting to struggle with that. Ours can still manage to jump up/down, but I think the jumping down in particular is not great for their joints, especially heavier dogs.
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