Monday, October 1, 2012

Bud's Arthritis and Daily Health Routine

Oh dear, Bud has arthritis!  I live with arthritis on a daily basis.  I’ve known since Bud was a younger dog with the elbow displasia, that one of these days he would have arthritis, and earlier than Jetta did. 

When Bud had his elbow surgery at 9 months old, the most important thing was for him to lose 14 lbs.  Dogs are like people- the heavier you are, the more weight you’re going to carry.  So, I weigh Bud twice a month now as maintenance.  He needs to weigh between 73-76 lbs. 

To keep his weight healthy I measure his food.  Bud gets 1.5 cups of California Natural Chicken and Rice twice a day.  So that bud stays slim while still feeling satiated, I also give him 2 cups of steamed broccoli.  In addition, he gets a couple carrots as a treat, but not too much because there’s a lot of sugar in carrots. 

I’m such a freak- on top of his dog food and veggies, I buy a slab of beef ribs and have the butcher cut them individually.  Bud gets one raw beef rib bone a day after swimming which he can have after his bath, but he must eat it outside.  He also gets a little lick of Kefir when I drink my Kefir twice a day.  Aren’t I a nut?! 

Because of his injuries, I limit Bud’s swimming to 35-40 minutes.  During that time he also does a lot of digging.  For years I was giving him 2,000mg of an Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acid combo twice daily, which kept him comfortable.  However, now what’s happening is that because he’s an active dog, on occasion I’ve noticed he’ll walk about 6 steps gingerly after exercising and then be fine.  Because of this, the Nervous Nelly in me took him to the vet to check it out.   Because of his recent knee surgery in December I’m trying to be diligent about watching the timing of his exercise program.  I time his play so he doesn’t over do it.  I wish somebody would do that for me! 

Here are a couple videos showing Bud swimming and digging:

The vet, Dr. Aaron Schector of Atascadero Pet Hospital, who we love, gave him a good thorough examination on that leg of his and said that it’s just early onset arthritis as a result of his injury.  He explained that even though it was such a severe injury, Bud recovered like an athlete.  All he said I could do is increase Bud’s fatty acids to 3,000mg twice a day.  I take them too!

Dr. Schecter also advised me that when Bud displays discomfort with walking after laying down and resting, I can give him one dose of Metacam a day.  It’s an anti-inflammatory agent.  In a month’s time, I’ve only had to give him two doses. 

In addition to daily swims, I run Bud early in the morning along side my scooter at a slow trot for about 15 minutes.  This ensures Bud stays content all day.  This cross trains him, which means it uses the other muscles he doesn’t use when swimming.  Bud has a choice for lounging: a memory foam bed, a fiber fill dog bed, a loveseat, a couch, and his kennel in the house.  My dog trainer said she would like to comeback in her next life as one of my dogs!

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