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Injectible Glucosamine -- A miracle drug for feeble arthritic old dogs/cats/horses/humans  RSS feed

 
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Just started a (new to me) "miracle" treatment for my feeble elderly Australian Shepherd that is losing his ability to walk due to arthritis.  He has been on pain killers (Tramadol) for a couple of years now and those worked well for a long time. Unfortunately the last couple of months his ability to stand and go up stairs has gotten much much worse.

Went to my vet to get his advice. I actually took my Mastiff in for a rabies shot (which is really an anti-quarantine shot) and used the visit to ask if there were any treatments for the Aussie that I didn't know about.

He suggested that we try injectible Glucosamine. I had tried feeding him super thick bone broth (from chicken feet) for oral glucosamine but it didn't seem to do much. My vet said oral only works for 20% of dogs, however the injectible form works for 75% or more. He said if it works the dogs suddenly get much more active right away.

Gave him the first shot on Friday (at home -- it is sub-q and easy to administer) and wow. Next day his energy level went way up! Apparently it lubricates the joints and also does a lot to reduce pain. I was skeptical but the results are undeniable, this dog is wagging and barking at buzzards in the sky and "running" as best he is able which he hasn't done in a couple of months. Cost wise it is very reasonable. I paid $88 for the first vial which will last 6 weeks, and the next vial will last much longer.  They get a shot twice a week for the first 4 weeks, then once every 2-4 weeks thereafter. And that is the "premium" vet office med price, it can be bought online with a script for $50 a vial or so.  My dog is on chondroprotec polysulfated glycosaminoglycan which is similar to a generic version of Adequan. Apparently this has been used among the horsey set for several years and is just now being used more commonly for dogs or cats.

If you have an old pet (or human) that is suffering from arthritis it is something you may want to consider. Maybe most others have heard of it but I hadn't, and if I didn't ask my vet about any possible "miracle drugs" I likely wouldn't have heard about it
 
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I wish this had been around for dogs for my Golden. He suffered from progressively worsening arthritis from about ten on. That probably would have put years on his life.

Are people using this? I mean, on people, that is.

-CK
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Chris Kott wrote:
Are people using this? I mean, on people, that is.

-CK



The drug my dog is on is actually FDA approved for use on open wounds in people, injecting it is an off-label use.

I am sure there are identical, or very similar drugs approved for injecting in people or maybe they are using this one. FDA approval is per PRODUCT not per drug so lots of times drugs only list one use, or for use in one species, because the maker didn't want to pay for additional FDA testing.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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I also don't want to be misleading, in cases of severe arthritis where the joints are trashed it can't fix what's broken, it can only reduce the symptoms.

He feels much more energetic but he still hobbles around, I imagine it could have much longer term benefits in younger less affected dogs.

Going to a carpet place this morning, they said they would give me some outdoor carpet remnants from a job they just finished (very nice of them, I did offer to pay but they declined), will use that to cover the 3 outdoor steps that he struggles to climb.
 
Chris Kott
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I think it's analogous to the lubrication in any sealed system using bearings. If it goes dry, there's more friction between moving parts.

With joints, it's the cartilage and bone that wears as a result, and I think the glucosamine does exactly what you're describing by easing the friction between moving parts.

Your dog exhibiting puppyish behaviour is his way of telling you that at least he thinks it's a miracle.

And yes, I would imagine that if there are no unintended side effects, like dependancy, therapeutic, even prophylactic use on healthier animals might actually prevent damage, as the inflammation and wear over time is what causes the damage you mention.

I have no doubt that even at his stage of life, you've probably put years on his life. Dog years, at least. But more important, I think is the improvement to his quality of life.

Pictures are always appreciated, if you're so inclined, but not if you're puppy's camera shy. Thanks for letting us know, and keep us posted.

-CK
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Chris Kott wrote:
And yes, I would imagine that if there are no unintended side effects, like dependancy, therapeutic, even prophylactic use on healthier animals might actually prevent damage, as the inflammation and wear over time is what causes the damage you mention.



I have had lots of old dogs but this is the first time I have had one going down from arthritis. It is very much a breed specific thing and this dog is a Golden Retriever/Australian Shepherd cross (rescued). Seems to be very common among retrievers, shepherds and some others (along with bad hips).

All six of my dogs are 9+ years old and none of the others show any hint of arthritis or joint problems -- three are Heinz 57 (a rescued mom and her two pups), plus a Coonhound (rescued) and a Mastiff. I don't think any of them will have a real problem with arthritis but you are right, if any start showing signs I will try to nip it in the bud before it gets worse.

Bad arthritis in dogs is such a slow and painful decline it really sucks. Other end of life illnesses such as cancer or even heart failure usually result in a "definitive" sign that it is time to let them go, but arthritis is so slow and insidious there is no easy marker especially with some days being better than others.

I will try to snap a photo though he looks like what you would expect, a frail gray haired old dog (with a raggedy short coat thanks to his owners amateurish coat trimming skills).
 
Chris Kott
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You're right about the insidious, creeping nature of arthritis. What compounds it in Goldens and similar breeds is the pain tolerance bred into them. My dog was suffering long before he let me know it, and that's a problem for diagnosis.

-CK
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Here is a 20 second video of my old boy from earlier today.

First thing this morning he couldn't stand up on his own, but then 2 hours later he was happily hobbeling around, trying to romance his house-mate, then he scaled the front steps for the first time in over a week. As long as he gets some enjoyment out of life I will treat with whatever I can.

 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Thought I would post another update, an internet traveler a year or two down the road may be seeking info.

He has been on it for 8 days and received 3 injections.  While at first it seemed the improvement would yo-yo up and down over the course of a day, now the difference is very noticeable and stable. He is using both sets of stairs  regularly and has once again become demanding/vocal.  He is barking to go in or out every couple of hours, he is barking to demand breakfast and dinner, his tail wags frequently etc...

I didn't realize how quiet and inactive he had become until this bounce back.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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The temps dropped into the 20's earlier this week, and that may have contributed to a noticeable downturn (he is a housedog but the house still gets colder).  The other day could not stand/walk at all at times and sometimes whined from pain/frustration.  I am a noodley armed female that can't comfortably (for him) carry him in/out.

I stopped the aspirin for a couple of days and started him on prednisone to see if that may help.  He is able to walk once again and his tail wagged, hoping another 2-3 days of pred will offer a temporary rebound. I see pred as a "last ditch" drug since steroids can cause organ damage and lots of other issues, but when the days are short it can also greatly reduce pain and improve mood/mobility. If he rebounds great, but I won't let him slide into depression.

Also picking up a high dose of Torbutrol (a schedule iv pain med) from the vet. The high dose will induce a painfree, blissful state of near unconsciousness.  When the time comes I see the best possible ending as a good meal (steak with torb) followed by a blissfully pain free nap in the back of the car. The vet comes out to the car once we get to the clinic and the animal, even those that are terrified of vets, couldn't care less.

Sharing this because I have gone through it too many times before, and knowing your animal is blissfully zonked out without a care in the world makes a difficult situation much much easier for everyone involved. I am surprised more vets don't routinely recommend it.

This post is for information purposes only. I won't post another update unless it is about some alternative treatment. I view some things as too personal to discuss on the interwebs.
 
Chris Kott
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Thanks for the update, Lucrecia. Those of us who have gone through it understand.

In the end, all you can do is be there for them. They show you how much they appreciate your efforts through their love.

-CK
 
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Excellent information Lucrecia:  Thank you !

Our golden is aging, but still thinks she is a puppy. Last year seemingly overnight she got very bad.

We will never know for sure but think in her excitement over a delivery guy (ups? fedex?) who gives her cookies , she ran under their truck tire!!   The driver either didn't know or choose to say nothing (no bad feelings) but she was a hurting puppy.

Our vet is a wonderful man who does ranch calls and will even share the ranch call costs if a neighbor needs a visit as well.

He has the coolest portable X-ray machine !!  Right in our front yard he was able to x ray her and we watched it on a laptop on his pickup seat ... WOW VERY COOL

He showed us that she should have gotten a broken leg . The tire must have run over that large bone (Tibia ?) and in doing so broke a part of her knee joint OWWW

The xray showed that part of the ball and socket was broken off.

He gave her a shot and left some pain pills. He also suggested a very expencive product that we just couldn't afford.

We started giving her human glucosamine pills and they seemed to help.

Some friends came by to visit and said they got a doggy specific glucosamine pill from cosco and it made their dog much better.

We gave it a try. (Cosequin ds)  Our dog is like a puppy again ! For real ! She acts like it never happened, running ,swimming ,ball chasing you can't tell this dog has half a rotater socket ! And she is over 10 years old!

Its been over a year , its winter and she is not limping. One pill a day, 180 pills in the bottle, Not on sale I think they are $35 on sale about $25  I HIGHLY  RECOMEND THIS !!!

 
Lucrecia Anderson
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thomas rubino wrote:

We started giving her human glucosamine pills and they seemed to help.

Some friends came by to visit and said they got a doggy specific glucosamine pill from cosco and it made their dog much better.

We gave it a try. (Cosequin ds)  Our dog is like a puppy again ! For real ! She acts like it never happened, running ,swimming ,ball chasing you can't tell this dog has half a rotater socket ! And she is over 10 years old!

Its been over a year , its winter and she is not limping. One pill a day, 180 pills in the bottle, Not on sale I think they are $35 on sale about $25  I HIGHLY  RECOMEND THIS !!!



It's great that she responded so well to oral glucosamine! Many years ago I had a 1.5 year old pit rescue with severe hip dysplasia, poor oup couldn't walk at times. The vet said surgery was inevitable but glucosamine could work for a while. Gave her seashell based glucosamine product and it worked amazingly well. She was up and running around in no time just from that alone.

My vet said oral glucosamine works well for a percentage of dogs, but some just can't absorb enough of it to make a difference. The injectable form works about 75% of the time. Cost wise it is probably cheaper than many of the pills, $33 a vial and after the first month a vial would last 2-3 months (for a mid-sized dog).

Just an fyi, a lot of veterinary drugs are offered MUCH cheaper online and legally vets must write a script out if you ask for it. Plus many drugs (like the Tramadol my dog is on) are used for humans which means filling the script at Walmart is way less expensive (usually 60-80% less).
 
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Used to give my lab/german shepherd mix human grade glucosamine, he was able to benefit a lot from it. There was a noticable difference in his mobility and mood when we gave it to him... crazy dog lived 16 years! Long time for a german shepherd. His hip was so bad, I think he would have died years sooner had it not been for the glucosamine. This is the first I've heard of it being injectable. Is it injected near the joint, into the muscle or where?
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Sarah Koster wrote: Is it injected near the joint, into the muscle or where?



That was the first thing I asked when the vet suggested it, I didn't want to give injections near the joints or in the muscle.

It is given sub-q, just under the skin over their neck/shoulders like most vaccines. The body rapidly disperses it and absorbs it where it is needed.
 
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