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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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I have a Red Heeler just shy of 14 yrs old & s back legs

Customer Question

I have a Red Heeler just shy of 14 yrs old & his back legs seem to failing him. I have been giving him an arthritic supplement for about 3 mos & it helped greatly but he seems to be failing now. Am I looking at putting him down so he won't suffer?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Hi there, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with dogs and cats. I'm sorry to hear that your pup has been having trouble getting around.

There are a lot of medical treatments available for aging pets with arthritis issues. The first step, though, would be to have him examined by a vet so that they can confirm that it's an arthritis issue rather than a weakness or spinal issue. Sometimes weakness and loss of sensation can be caused by spinal disease that's not really going to respond to arthritis treatment. If it is arthritis, and he's healthy enough for medication, then there are a lot of options. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications are the cornerstone of pain control and arthritis treatments in dogs. These are taken once or twice a day on an as needed basis. Some pets do need these medications every day, plus some others. Tramadol is another common adjunctive pain control measure for dogs with painful arthritis. It can be given up to every 8 hours as needed and can have a significant effect on their comfort level and mobility. In some cases we also add other pain control medicines like gabapentin or amatadine. For owners who want to do even more, some vets offer physical therapy, laser therapy treatments, injectable medications like adequan that can help bolster arthritic joints, and even stem cell therapy. Acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments by an appropriately trained veterinarian can also make a world of difference for an arthritic pet. You are just now standing on the cusp of treatments - there are many, because this is a common problem.

Please let me know what other questions I can answer for you.

~Dr. Sara

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