As I previously mentioned, it sounds as if several things might be going on which is a common scenario in our older patients.
His crying and vocalizing could be secondary to arthritis which is frequently seen in older dogs. When it comes to treatment options for arthritis, we primarily have proactive supplements (which are intended to prevent progression of disease) and reactive drugs (which can treat the pain/discomfort and inflammation associated with this condition).
Fortunately, we have many more options for both these days than we did years ago.
Pain drugs (such as Tramadol and/or Gabapentin) can be effective in managing arthritis especially when we combine them with an anti-inflammatory (nsaid) drug such as Deramaxx, Rimadyl, Meloxicam or Previcoxx. We know that when several combinations of analgesics are given, the patient doesn’t usually need higher doses of each one to be effective since each works differently to achieve better analgesic control. There appears to be a synergistic effect, in other words, when multiple drugs are given as opposed to just one or another.
Unfortunately, your vet will have to dispense or prescribe these drugs.
However, if he's not vomiting and since he's not currently taking any medication, then you could try Aspirin at a dose of 10 mgs per pound of body weight twice a day, with food to avoid stomach upset. Many patients will respond to this drug, at least initially, before they might require the drugs I mentioned above.
As for supplements, unfortunately, they can take time (several weeks in most cases) to be effective although they aren't effective in all dogs (or humans for that matter). But, the vast majority of my patients appear to be helped by them. So, while they won't necessarily help Mick now, they may in the future.
1. I’m a huge fan of joint supplements such as Dasaquin or Cosequin which are veterinary products specifically formulated for dogs. Quality control is a big problem with these products since what’s on the label is not necessarily what’s in the bottle which is why I mentioned specific brands. These are available on the internet or your vet may carry them.
2. Also, fish oil supplements can be helpful since they have anti-inflammatory properties. Welactin and 3V Derm Caps are good veterinary products and are also available on the internet. Once started, these supplements should be continued for them to be effective; you wouldn't stop and start them, in other words, like you would drugs...but you may already know this.
3. Another option would be Zeel which is a human combination homeopathic that can be used in conjunction with other NSAID medications and has a very low incidence of adverse effects. Dose would be one tablet two to three times a day....I'd go with three times a day for the first 2 weeks, then drop back to twice a day for maintenance.
4. Adequan injections can be quite effective but would have to be given by your vet.
5. Combinations of antioxidants such as Cell Advance 880 or Golden Years..also available on the internet.
6. The Indian spice, Tumeric, at a dose of 1000mg/day
The second problem which I think he may have is Cognitive Dysfunction (CD) also known as Doggy Dementia or Doggy Alzheimer's.
Since we often do not know which neurotransmitters or neuro-pathways are most affected by CD in each patient, a better response may be seen in our pets if a combination of several supplements and drugs are given as opposed to only one or two. This sort of combination can help to improve the level of neurotransmitters in the Central Nervous System (CNS) and reduce oxidative damage to brain tissue.
There are other modifications which can be made to lifestyle which may be beneficial which I’ve included below as well.
Some of the items listed below are ones which can help with arthritis so can perhaps help both conditions. And, most (if not all) of the supplements listed should be available on the internet.
1. Cognitive supplements such as Neutricks, or Senilife
2. Combination of antioxidants such as Golden Years (Sogeval) , Antiox 5000 Ultra (Sovegal), Cell Advance 440 for small and medium sized dogs (Vetriscience) and Cell Advance 880 for large dogs
3. Anti-inflammatory agents such as high dose fish oils (DHA> 300mg… not the total mg on the capsule but the DHA content).
4. Over the counter, human Melatonin which can be especially helpful if sleep issues are present but it also has antioxidant properties. 1-3 mg before bedtime.
5. CNS stimulants such as Selegiline 5-10mg/day which is a drug licensed for use in CD but would have to be prescribed by your vet.
6. Consider a prescription diet such as Hills' B/D diet or Purina senior diet with MCT oil. There’s some evidence that calorie restriction can help some dogs with CD so reduce calorie intake.
7. Evidence exists that daily and sustained exercise has positive effects in reducing progression of CD. Exercise daily: 1/2-1 hour walk twice daily
8. Sensory stimulation such as touching, brushing, and massage therapy may also reduce progression of CD.
There are always other supplements which can be added; however, patient compliance may become an issue at some point. But, others to consider would be:
a. medium chain triglycerides i.e., unprocessed coconut oil. 1-2 tsp/day
b. SAMe manufactured by Virbac aka Novifit
As far as his bad breath is concerned, he may have issues with his teeth such as periodontal disease or just accumulated tartar/calculus. It's also possible that he may have a problem with his kidneys which can produce a bad smell to the breathe because of toxins building up in the blood stream.
Unfortuantely, there are no over the counter treatment options I can suggest for this problem which will be effective:(
But, I hope this helps and provides several other treatment options for you to consider. Deb