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Anyone here have/had experience of a labrador with arthritis?

(33 Posts)
JuneFromBethesda Tue 20-Oct-15 18:34:34

We're looking to adopt a rescue lab and have seen a lovely dog in need of a home. She's 5 years old, otherwise in good health but has arthritis in one elbow. The woman from the rescue said this may have put other prospective owners off due to insurance costs.

It hasn't put me off grin but as I haven't owned a dog before (had dogs as a child but haven't been responsible for one as an adult) I'm clueless about pet insurance generally and how it works. Presumably the fact that she already has arthritis will increase the premiums; once a lab has arthritis in one joint is it inevitable that it will develop all over? What sort of care does a lab with arthritis require?

The woman from the rescue said beyond needing to limit excessive exercise, and giving occasional anti-inflammatories, you wouldn't know the dog has arthritis. I don't have a problem taking on a dog with mild health issues but I want to make sure we have a good understanding of what we're committing to before we make a decision.

Thank you smile

tabulahrasa Tue 20-Oct-15 19:09:15

An existing condition doesn't raise the premiums, it just isn't covered and you can't claim for it. So any treatment it will ever need isn't insured. Whether that would be just that elbow or anything arthritis or joint related I couldn't tell you though.

If she has arthritis in one elbow at that age, it's likely that either there's something slightly off in that elbow or that something has happened to it's not inevitable that she'll develop arthritis in other joints, but, it is more likely, partly because she'll compensate for the dodgy one and it can impact the rest of her.

Impact...well dogs aren't hugely good at limiting their own exercise, so you'll need to work out what's enough but not too much and be strict with it. Swimming is good exercise without putting strain on it though and labs usually love water.

You'll want her as lean as possible, verging on too thin as that really does make a difference...but she's a lab so be prepared for her to tell you she's dying of starvation, lol.

With elbows, jumping down is really bad, so you want to keep her off furniture so she's not jumping down from it and jumping from a car boot is really bad, also stairs aren't great, so no running up and down stairs all day.

You might want to think about joint supplements as well.

Also - even if her other joints remain fine until old age, that elbow will more than likely get worse, so you will be looking at some point at daily medication rather than occasional, which won't be covered by's not hugely expensive as medication goes, but just so you're aware of it.

villainousbroodmare Tue 20-Oct-15 19:20:25

Absolutely everything Tabulah has just said.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 20-Oct-15 19:30:36

My 8 year old lab has has arthritis since he was two, sad, in both front legs. But he's doing ok.

I've recently bought him a biochem collar which he wears every day, and which I was hugely sceptical and sniffy about. It was recommended by our dog sitter. It seems to have worked wonders.

I buy him yumove from Amazon, and he has Rimadyl from the vets, this is v expensive. We are hoping to wean him off these.

We dont claim anything on insurance, so I cant help you there.

.....But I can reassure you in that he has an excellent quality of life with it. He limps sometimes. But he can walk and even run easily for 30-40 minutes twice a day. He's a bit stiffer around April and September, I think because of the weather changing seasons. He's never been a jumpy dog so that's no problem. He ambles around the garden and loves laying down out there. He's doing well. It wouldn't put me off having another with arthritis.

JuneFromBethesda Tue 20-Oct-15 19:33:37

Thank you tabulah, that's really helpful. The rescue woman said that the anti-inflammatories/supplements could be bought at no great cost - although I'm aware that she really wants to find a home for the dog so was giving me, if not exactly the hard sell, the positive side of things!

I need to give it some thought - we still have to go through the home check as well - but nothing I've heard so far has put me off smile

JuneFromBethesda Tue 20-Oct-15 19:36:22

Crossed posts with you ThroughThickAndThin - thank you, that's really reassuring and good to hear that your dog is still happy and getting on with life!

I will research biochem collars now!

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 20-Oct-15 19:38:34

Sorry op, I've just checked his collar its Bioflow.

tabulahrasa Tue 20-Oct-15 19:39:00

My dog is a bit bigger than a lab and NSAIDs were about £30 odds for a bottle that lasted about 3 months having it every day, that'd last longer for a smaller dog.

He's on yumove and salmon oil and from memory they add up to about £25 for roughly 2 months supply and again it goes by size.

So for both I paid a fiver a week, so not huge amounts, but not pennies either...though you might save on food by keeping them thin, rofl

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 20-Oct-15 19:45:14

Yes tabulah forgot to advise the op to keep the dogs weight down.

A sainsburys delivery man stroked my lab and said to him "arent you beautiful, I know one who looks just like you but not so chubby" blush. Hes not fat, but clearly could do with losing a bit. We're working on it, but so hard with labs with their heart melting eyes pleading with you.

JuneFromBethesda Tue 20-Oct-15 20:20:12

Thanks both, really appreciate the advice.

honeyroar Tue 20-Oct-15 22:09:49

We have two labs, the 9 yr old has arthiritis confirmed, and I expect the 6yr old will one day. We give them a glucosamine tablet and an omega fish oils capsule daily (cheaper to buy them for humans at a supermarket than order animal ones). The older lab has gone onto Metacam (has a cruciate injury too but would be for arthiritis possibly). For a big lab it's £50 for about 3 months supply. My friend told me about something called inflacam that is the same but half the price). Even Metacam can be found cheaper online if you have a prescription.

Re the insurance, they will exclude any treatments to do with arthiritis in that leg, and probably other legs too (they're mean like that usually).

And yes, weight is probably the worst thing for arthiritis. Our vet said the best thing you can do for them is have them as slim as you possibly can.

If I were you I'd perhaps have a chat with your vet about the dog and his issues, see what they think.

JuneFromBethesda Tue 20-Oct-15 22:15:44

Thanks honeyroar. Metacam was the medication the rescue woman mentioned, I think the dog is on it at the moment although not daily.

Talking to a vet is a good idea, I'll look into that.

honeyroar Tue 20-Oct-15 22:40:13

Is it coming from a Lab rescue? Just wondering as one of ours came from a Lab rescue..

JuneFromBethesda Tue 20-Oct-15 22:55:05

Yes, it's from a Lab rescue smile

honeyroar Tue 20-Oct-15 23:08:09

Ours was from NW lab rescue.

JuneFromBethesda Wed 21-Oct-15 18:01:01

So home check tomorrow by a rescue volunteer, and they're saying if we're approved the dog could be with us this weekend shock My head's all over the place, my heart is completely sold, my head is trying to remain rational. Hoping we can have a chat with the dog's current vet to get the expert view of her health issues. But I really really want this to work out, even if the speed of it all is making my head spin ...

Dulceetdecorum Wed 21-Oct-15 18:20:11

We had a wonderful Lab with arthritic elbows. She needed surgery as soon as we got her for a loose flap of cartilage so we were never able to get insurance which covered her elbows anyway. Some of the things we were told/tried:

Glucosamine and chondroitin can really help, devils claw, fish oil, turmeric and green lipped mussel are also worth a go. Plus decent quality food.

Swimming is great - preferably in a warm hydrotherapy pool and never in cold water in the winter. Hydrotherapy really made a difference for our girl. Just a few minutes (sometimes only 3 minutes with a break in the middle) was enough for her, followed by a jacuzzi to relax her muscles. Then a good dry and a rest. Here she is (top left photo) in the jacuzzi having a cuddle smile

Running for a ball from a standing start definitely made things worse - its that springing forward action.

Keeping them slim - very hard to do grin

As has been said, limit stairs and jumping.

If she had a flare up, acupuncture was great and she loved having it done.

Our girl was on Metacam for several years later on and it helped her have a really good quality of life. I wouldnt have swapped our time with her for the world, she was a wonderful dog. It is a big decision, but wonky dogs are so rewarding....

JuneFromBethesda Wed 21-Oct-15 19:49:33

Oh look at your beautiful girl!! Thank you so much for all your good suggestions, and most of all for the reassurance that we're not completely mad to be considering this. I have no idea how I'm going to sleep tonight with all this going round and round my head. I can't quite believe we could have a dog in our family by the weekend shock

honeyroar Wed 21-Oct-15 21:42:05

I remember that feeling just before our first family dog came home (friend of a friend's lab that they gave away). Within a few hours she felt like part of the family and we were in love. Don't worry. Just give her time to relax and settle.

Beware though, they're addictive... (My two labs, the other was from the lab rescue)

JuneFromBethesda Wed 21-Oct-15 22:30:52

Ohhhhh your dogs are gorgeous!! It's been 20 years since I had a Labrador in my life, the thought of having one again, having her as my companion all day, is just amazing. I'm nervous but at the same time I'm so ready to do this smile

honeyroar Wed 21-Oct-15 23:48:27

I look forward to seeing your pictures. What colour is she?

JuneFromBethesda Thu 22-Oct-15 09:29:00

She's golden. She looks so beautiful in the photos (sigh)

The rescue home check is at 1pm today - no idea how I'm going to get any work done this morning!

ThroughThickAndThin01 Thu 22-Oct-15 10:14:21

I'm very excited for you. Hope check goes well, and that your decision comes easily!

Here's my boy, next to my black girl, hopefully starting to lose some of his podge.

JuneFromBethesda Thu 22-Oct-15 14:19:40

What a handsome boy! smile

Well, we're approved and we've said yes - so she's coming home at the weekend! It was inevitable really, she's exactly what we were hoping for and knowing that she's in a not very nice home at the moment, and has had a tough start in life, there was no way I could let her go. She is going to be so cherished and adored with us.

I'm so excited!!!!! Thanks everyone for your help and advice. I will be back to post photos in a few days grin

CiderwithBuda Thu 22-Oct-15 15:29:30

Congratulations on your new baby! Does she have a name?

I hope you don't mind me hijacking your thread - I spotted this thread in active earlier in the week but didn't read it. Came looking for it today as we have just found out our hyperactive bouncy kangaroo black lab has severe arthritis in one elbow. sad

She is really hard to walk - we have a yellow as well and they pull me in different directions so for the last six months or so have been taken out with a dog walker where they run off lead and have a fab time. She came back after her walk on .tuesday and the walker said she had been limping a bit. She seemed ok - was running about the garden as normal. Rested her yesterday but this morning she ran out of the back door first thing and gave a huge yelp and was obv in pain. Took her to vet and They kept her in to X-ray. She is five so quite young still. They are surprised at the state of the elbow. X-rays have been sent off to an orthopedic specialist in Bristol. They also took fluid from the joint and it is apparently very thick and sticky. Poss from infection. Vet also mentioned possibility of a tumor but I'm not thinking about that!

Our two were both overweight - the whole starved lab thing combined with not enough exercise. But they have both lost weight since we started them with the dog walker. Will def be keeping that down.

Will check out the supplements mentioned up thread. And I was interested in th hydrotherapy recommendation too - there is a place that does it quite close to us. Our yellow lab would benefit from it too as she has had injuries and had surgery on her cruciate ligament. Will look into acupuncture too.

Main concern is keeping her from jumping around as she is so bouncy.

Best of luck with yours. They are lovely dogs. Our two are very different and are quite happy to be in different rooms usually but our yellow doesn't know what to do with herself today without the other one. Probably thinks she is off having an extra long fun walk without her.

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