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My dog is 12 years old & his back legs are giving out. He is a big lab / ret. We have taken him to the vet & he gave him metacam, but it seems to give him gut ache as he whinges all the time after he has had it, stopped it & he whinges much less. I know he is coming to the end of his life, but is there anything else we can give him to help keep him comfortable? Have asked my vet and he says nothing. Give him a paracetamol now & again & it does help. I am aware of side affects, but cannot be any worse than metacam. He is also ideal weight
Thank you for your question regarding your 12 year old boy Marlo who is getting very weak on his back legs now. Meloxidyl is ideal for this, however as you say - it doesn't agree with every dog. If you still have some, you could try giving half a dose to see if his tummy is ok with this as this is more likely to help with his pain and less likely to cause damage to liver and kidneys. There are a few other options for pain you could ask your Vet about. Tramadol can help take the edge of these dogs if they are particularly sore and could be ideal for Marlo. This is an opioid based pain relief and he wouldn't need a huge dose just to take the edge off.
You could also ask your Vet about a course of injections called Cartophen. These are usually given as one injection a week for 4 weeks in a row and help joint cartiledge to form. The drug has little effect on kidneys and liver compared to metacam and I have seen some good results.
If he is really weak on his back legs - you could also look at buying a sling for him to help take some of his weight when out walking. There are many products on the market and your Vet may even have some in his or her clinic.
Finally - it may be a little too late by the sounds of it, but definitely consider putting Marlo on glucosamine and chondroitin supplements for his joints if he isn't already on them. If he was up to it, you could also consider hydrotherapy or physiotherapy to try and get some muscle mass back to those legs!