If you had a 4 year old Rhodesian mix come in with signs of arthritis
, what would you think? Let me explain her history...
We got her from an animal shelter when she was about 2, and she had recurring ear
infections. She also tended to throw up a lot so we put her on famotidine
and that helped. Then, a year or so later, we moved from AZ to WA and she also developed frequent allergy symptoms and, after doing my own research, I decided to see if going gluten-free would help her. I now believe she is gluten allergic, or at least intolerant, as she often breaks out in hives and/or swells up (typically her eyelid or a foot) when she eats things other than her gluten-free food (we have a 2 yr old daughter, so food inevitably ends up on the floor). Switching her to a gluten-free diet a year ago has helped a lot - no more stomach
problems and no more famotidine, only infrequent allergy symptoms that clear up with benedryl. However, she started showing signs of arthritis about 14 months ago, when the allergy symptoms seemed the worst. ---- On a different note, before we left AZ, she was bitten by ticks - 5 that we know of. We have done at least two, maybe 3 lime titers (I can't remember because there were so many vet visits) and all have been negative. Her multiple vets have done blood work, xrays, she gets regular vaccinations
, etc. but no one can determine the cause of her arthritic symptoms as nothing has been abnormal. The biggest symptom is that she has trouble getting up from laying or sitting, especially when she's been napping for a while. Once she gets up, she's rather spry, and she still loves to go on walks, though we don't take her often as we're afraid of over-exercising her. (Last year we took her a park and she ran all over and the next day began a series of shifting lameness
from foot to foot that lasted over a week. She couldn't even get up to go to the bathroom so my husband and I had to carry her (70lbs!) out and hold her up to go potty. Her doc gave her doxycycline
, I believe, and she got better in about a week. Thankfully, we have not had a repeat of this, but we certainly don't let her run much anymore!) We now have a 2-story house and all of the bedrooms are upstairs, and she manages to get up and down, but not with the ease she should have. She goes up and down the stairs typically once a day (night and morning) as she is a very loving and sensitive dog and she would not stand for sleeping in a room away from her mommy and daddy :)
Since her arthritic symptoms appeared last year, she has been on 75mg of Rimadyl
2x/day, and this seems to keep her comfortable. As the weather started to cool a few months ago, we got her heating pads for her 2 beds, and that also seems to help, but it would be really great to know what the problems actually is and not have to have her on medication for the rest of her life, let alone something that could eventually affect her organ functions. We can't afford to do a ton of diagnostic testing as we've already spent a few thousand on it, so we've just been in maintenance mode over the last year. But she's so young and I want her to be able to thoroughly enjoy life and be comfortable and happy so I really wish we could help her more.
Anyway, I stumbled across this site and thought I'd take a stab in the dark and see if you might have a suggestion. I realize I put a lot of information in here, and I apologize if it is confusing; I just know that sometimes the symptoms you think aren't related actually are, so I didn't want to leave anything out. Let me know what you think. Thanks in advance!