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Help! Arthritic dog driving us all to distraction.

(8 Posts)
AnnieLobeseder Fri 01-Mar-13 00:32:24

Yes, I know she needs to see a vet, and we will get an appointment asap but in the mean time, in anticipation of another night of no sleep, I'd like to ask if anyone has any advice please.

We have an 11yo lab-cross with arthritis in her left hip, which causes her some discomfort, leg shaking etc. She's on Loxicom which is an anti-inflammatory and pain-killer. The vet told us to start with a 30kg dog dose (the syringe it comes with is graduated by dog weight) once a day and then back off to the minimum we could get away with to keep her comfortable.

We had her on 10 for the warmer months and she was fine. But recently she's been very unsettled at night. The dogs sleep downstairs but she was banging on the stairgate and crying so we started to let her upstairs. We thought that the colder weather might be making her hip worse so we've been varying the dose between 15 and 20.

The problem is that with the higher dose she just seems to be more unsettled at night. We've given up having her upstairs because she just stomps around all night, banging her tail and flapping her great ears on the cupboard doors and we get no sleep.

If we put her back downstairs, she bashes the stairgate and cries all night. Again, so sleep.

She constantly wants to go outside but just sits out there. She's always liked spending time outside, but this has really increased. As soon as we let her in she's back at the door asking to go out 5 mins later.

We did think that doses of 10 twice a day might be the answer, instead of 20 once a day. We tried that yesterday and it seemed to work. She slept all night, hooray!

But at this very moment she's standing at the front door panting and crying to be let out. But she'll just sit in the garden until she hears a noise and starts barking, which isn't great for neighbourly relations. And she's very unhappy. I just know no-one is going to get any sleep tonight. sad

I know we need to take her back to the vet asap, but as I sit here facing another sleepless night, I thought I'd ask if anyone has any advice?

AnnieLobeseder Fri 01-Mar-13 02:37:34

Well, it's even later now, she has finally passed out. Don't know if an extra dose of meds, some massage and cuddles helped, or if she's just exhausted (I know I am!). Hopefully she'll go through to morning. Poor old thing. sad

I guess this post got lost in all the spam that's out there tonight, and there aren't many people up at this hour anyway.

So I'm finally off to bed. But this could well be repeated tomorrow. Or even in another hour, so any advice still very welcome.

It's DD2's birthday tomorrow (today), hope I'm not too tired and grumpy. sad

Selks Fri 01-Mar-13 02:58:16

Poor old sore doggy, and poor you. I hope you and DD (DearDog) get a good nights sleep and you have a lovely day tomorrow.

TotallyBursar Fri 01-Mar-13 03:25:53

Poor old girl, and you.

Have you noticed any changes in her bowel movements? NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal upset - she may be feeling the urge to go and so want out to then find the urge passes.
She may find that the cold weather (while actualyl exacerbating her symptoms generally cold/dampness) feels better to her if she has a very hot or inflamed hip joint.
What bed does she sleep on? The best bed we've found for arthritic animals is memory foam (well that and the hospital heated air matresses but they aren't good for houses!) - most beds either don't have sufficient support or cushioning, or are very soft initially but compress under the pet's weight overnight - the joints are under stress or they end up sleeping on a harder surface than you think. As arthritic joint seize during prolonged periods of disuse (overnight etc) these types of beds don't help as they make it more difficult for that animal to move in their sleep comfortably and can be difficult to get down on to or up from.
There are other things like this, like the massage - gentle moving of the joint before sleep - etc that your vet should be able to help with.
Discuss with them twice daily dosing - you can still reduce therapeutic dosages but overnight pain is controlled better. Gut protectants can be trialled if you think it's necessary but also you can discuss other age related issues it may be to make sure there are no new developments that coincidentally ocurred. I don't know what your vet does but most will give a blanket advice sheet re exercise and diet ammendments to trial and then re-evalutate these with you when you find what does/doesn't help. They should be able to give you more input and treatment options as Metacam is only one type/stage - they may change to Rimadyl (just like people different drugs can be more effective) for example.
Do you take her to any hydrotherapy to help keep her muscle tone on that leg?

Sorry you're all having a rubbish time, I hope you have a lovely birthday party tomorrow!

poachedeggs Fri 01-Mar-13 06:44:47

Lots of things be going on here so you really do need to see your vet.

It may be unrelated to the arthritis, or it may be pain, or it may be the meds. So a full exam, bloods and a review of her current treatment would be the best place to start.

How you get it sorted, how miserable for you all. Happy birthday to your DD.

AnnieLobeseder Fri 01-Mar-13 08:46:59

TotallyBursar - thanks for the detailed response! I think you're right about the gastrointestinal trouble, her tum wasn't half making some funny noises before she settled down last night.

We did get her a very expensive memory foam bed but the pesky critter would rather sleep on the floor or Small Dog's tatty little bed which is, as you say, not very supportive and far too small for her (he mostly sleeps on the sofa)! She sleeps in it sometimes, but not as much as she should, as it would be better for her.

I'll ask the vet about hydrotherapy (does swimming in the duck pond count?! grin ) too. She loves water.

Scuttlebutter Fri 01-Mar-13 09:22:00

So glad you are seeing your vet. I would also consider if your dog is warm enough overnight - they might benefit from a blanket or housecoat. Our darling girl died last year after having arthritis quite badly for a couple of years but we found several things helped. Make sure you are super vigilant about weight (especially for a lab) - no extra weight means reducing strain on joints. As others have said, try a range of painkillers till you find the right one that works. We found hydrotherapy to be brilliant. If I'm honest, it bought her an extra year of good quality of life - that was priceless. She went weekly to start, then dropped to fortnightly. She loved going and it really helped - it's super for arthritis. Your vet should be able to give you a referral. Some people have found excellent results with Cartrophen injections - we tried it and it didn't make much difference but I know others who have had great results.

Good luck. stdavids

Melissakitkat Fri 01-Mar-13 09:31:48

Our cat had arthritis - she was on monthly steroid injections which really bought her bounce back. Good luck at the vets am sure they will have a solution. Hugs x

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