If you’ve read my blog before, you might have heard about Chip.
Our little chocolate Chip.
Our Sir Reginald Chippus Maximus. Or, as what he goes by lately, Mr. Fickles. He earned this name because he’s growing into a grumpy old man who doesn’t like cuddles and voices his dislike for them. Stinker.
When we got Chip, we were two broke newlyweds in every sense of the word. But, I yearned for a dog since I was three years old, and with an unrelenting will, I eventually convinced Brian to get a dog. So I drove almost three hours roundtrip in rush-hour traffic to pick up my little chocolate brown puppy, and sang him lullabies the entire ride home.
This little nugget stole my heart from day one. Of course, our family isn’t complete without our feisty little Daisy Mae. Even when she and her brother do naughty things around the house (that leave me utterly incensed and sleep-deprived) I can’t stay mad at them for long. These two stinkers have Banfield Pet Hospital wellness plans to make sure they’re in tip-top shape.
Unfortunately, Chip’s limp has returned. At four months of age, he stopped using his left rear leg, and vets told me a lifetime of NSAIDs was one route, where surgery was another. Since that $50 vet office visit just to tell me that information was a blow to our pockets as newlyweds, neither solution was an option. Instead, I did my research, and invested in quality food (see my post on Orijen here) and glucosamine + chondroitin supplements.
Orijen and the glucosamine supplements stopped his limping and lameness within a few weeks. Less than a month. For over five years he’s been fine, unless I stop feeding him Orijen for a few days, or if I change from the adult (chicken + turkey) formula for one of their other formulas with a lower inclusion of glucosamine. So, he’s been on the adult Orijen formula since then, save for a few homemade meals.
Despite this, lately he is starting to walk slowly. Small dogs, on average, age slower than large breeds, and at six years old, he’s just too young for arthritis. The heart-breaking thing about animals is that they can’t communicate their pain. At first, I thought he was just being neurotic as he sometimes insists on taking a certain route on our walks, but lately he’s done things such as walk right next to me or right behind me. Or, he’ll walk right next to me and look at me without breaking eye contact, something that’s not in his nature. I interpreted that as pain, and I’ve begun cutting our walks short and carrying him the rest of the way home. After one time of picking him up when he maintained eye contact, he kept doing this towards the middle of our walks. This prompted me to take him to our vet.
The vet recommended a series of Adequan vaccinations. She explained that the treatment would help rebuild the spongey tissue of his joints. We’re on a regimen of two shots per week for four (4) weeks, and moving to one shot a month thereafter. Chip seems to have a little more pep in his step most days now, but sometimes he will limp after getting up from laying down. I’m not quite sold on this, but I’m willing to try anything before resorting to surgery.
Another thing that’s been concerning this dog mom is that Daisy seems to have developed a skin irritation. I say irritation because the vet won’t call it an allergy, and even after paying a pretty penny for an allergy medicine, we didn’t see any results. So, either she’s developed an allergy to poultry (a common dog allergy) or she’s just batshit crazy. I vote for both.
I’m introducing The Honest Kitchen’s grain-free dehydrated food into their diet. They have whole grain turkey and chicken formulas, but I ordered the grain-free beef formula. We’ve stuck with the Orijen adult formula for years because of the glucosamine content (and he did great with it!), but Chip isn’t too thrilled with kibble anymore. The Orijen formula we’ve been feeding them is the turkey/chicken version, and it’s why I’m thinking Daisy might be sensitive to poultry.
I will keep you posted on how Chip does on the Adequan shots, and how The Honest Kitchen does for Daisy’s itchiness. These glucosamine supplements with added turmeric for natural anti-inflammatory effects have already caught my eye on Amazon and I’ll try them if I don’t see any improvements in Chip’s gait. His next dental cleaning isn’t until the spring, so I’m going to wait until then for X-rays.
Has your pup experienced lameness or limping? What did you do to help them?