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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 25650
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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I have a girl Canadian shepard, she is 10yrs old. Her right

Customer Question

I have a white girl Canadian shepard, she is 10yrs old. Her right leg is hard to put down on the floor when she gets up, look like it is stiff. Do not look like she is any pain.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

Deborah, is this a right front or right hind leg, please? Does she "warm out" of this behavior after moving around some? Have you seen any change with the joint supplements?

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Its the right hind leg. and yes she warm out of this behavior after moving around some. Yes
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 11 months ago.

Thank you. That's good to hear and rules out more serious causes of hind leg lameness such as a myelopathy (spinal cord disorder) such as degenerative disk disease (a "slipped disk") or degenrative myelopathy common in Shepherds - a Lou Gehrig-type of myelopathy. Instead, geriatric osteoarthritis should be the most important consideration. This can take place in the spinal canal (cauda equine syndrome) and/or in her joints.

We use a multimodal approach to osteoarthritis in our dogs - dietary management, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory pain relief, neutraceuticals, life-style changes and stem cell therapy. When used concomitantly these approaches should synergize and provide the best control of symptoms. For example, she might show considerable improvement if you add fish oil to her diet. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are anti-inflammatory. I use the cost-effective generic human fish oils and dose them at 20 mg/lb daily of the EPA in the fish oil. You'll find the amount of EPA on the label of the fish oil product.

Avoid flax oil because it is poorly bioavailable to dogs. They can't metabolize it properly.

If you prefer, there are diets that are extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids. Hill's Prescription Diet j/d is one such diet.

Many vets feel that injections of Adequan (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) work better than oral neutraceuticals such as glucosamine/chondroiton sulfate or the over the counter Cosequin or prescription Dasequin (please see here: Adequan is injected into herweekly for a number of weeks at her vet's discretion. You can read more about Adequan here:

Regenerative stem cell therapy has come into its own and is now available for addressing osteoarthritis in dogs . Please see Vet-Stem's website here for more information:***@******.*** The regenerative stem cells are created from her fat cells and are capable of differentiating into a variety of tissue types including tendon, ligament, bone, cartilage, and muscle and have been proven to reduce pain and inflammation. I understand, however, that such an invasive procedure may not be appropriate at herage.

We have to suspect that just as in people, geriatric osteoarthritis in dogs is painful. If a prescription nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as carprofen or meloxicam isn't sufficient for controlling pain, please consider adding a well-tolerated narcotic such as tramadol to these therapies mentioned above. All of these drugs are available from her vet. Aspirin dosed at 10 mg/lb with food every 12 hours can be helpful in a pinch.

Weight reduction is essential. The less weight her joints need to carry, the better.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.