“Arthritis in dogs” is a free online e-Book, bringing home the most important points I make with my clients as I counsel on mobility issues in older aging dogs.
The absolute most important issue in the management of mobility issues associated with aging and arthritis is the WEIGHT of the dog. I see dogs all the time that are at 70% carrying capacity under 130-150% load.
“Please wait in your car, call 770 977 5377 and we’ll call you there to bring your pet to the door at your appointed time. We’ll have him back to you in a short time (and sanitized) and you’ll get a call DURING or AFTER the appointment depending on the need for communication.”
So there are hormone systems in the body which involve testosterone in males and estrogen in females. Those hormones are vital in the performance of the young male or young female dog or cat, reproductively, as well as for strength, endurance, overall health, muscle mass bone density fitness. Very solid studies have demonstrated that sex-hormones a protective for many cancers, decreasing the odds of cancer in people and animals (when present) by 8-10%.
In people these crucial hormones are produced in the “gonads” which are the testicles or the ovaries.
People and animals also synthesize DHEA in their gonads. Humans (not animals) can also produce DHEA in their adrenal gland and that matters as you will soon see. But let’s stick a pin in that. Science has discovered another hormone called “DHEA” which functions at the cellular level very much the way our sex hormones affect us. High levels of DHEA in male tissue can elicit some of the same changes as testosterone. In females high levels of DHEA may function beneficially as estrogen. In humans, DHEA is produced in the adrenal glands at a certain basic level.
In the dog however, DHEA is produced ONLY in the gonad.
So here’s the thing, in a dog or cat when you spayed or neutered them, you are removing their sex hormones as well as their DHEA because they do not produce DHEA in their adrenal gland. The “adrenal” is the gland we leave behind when we performed ‘gonadectomy’ for a pet. So your animal has no hormonal support of any kind, for its lifetime, not even DHEA. And there is a price to be paid (long-term) for that. So a recent “fad – bandwagon” in television / Youtube Vet practice is administering DHEA to animals hoping to appreciate some of the benefits of hormones support on those animals. And in fact the results are initially encouraging.
However, when you put DHEA into an animal system, you are giving a signal for tissue building, and the activation of a lot of activity, metabolically. In other words the body suddenly needs the building blocks for the processes that the DHEA is calling up. Sadly there is not a limitless supply of these building blocks and so certain enzyme systems such as nADP and nADPH are exhausted with time, as DHEA is given. Does it matter in a year? Probably not.
But for long-term use of DHEA, or high dose DHEA, research has been done to determine what enzymes and compounds become deficient metabolically in animals given DHEA; and research is forging ahead to try to bring a product (of a safer nature) to market in 2019. In the meantime supplement of high-dose DHEA to dogs should be endeavored only when the benefits outweigh the negative side effect of metabolite exhaustion. In my opinion any dogs that is ill, very old, suffering a deteriorating quality-of-life, have little to lose in the effort to gather the benefits of DHEA therapy versus the eventual exhaustion of certain metabolic processes. Anti-cancer benefit have been noted with DHEA supplementation, research on that is continuing. Weight Dose Times Per Day < 10 lb give 5 to 10 mg – 1-2x daily 10-20 lb give 25mg – 1x daily 20-30 lb give 25mg – 2x daily 30-50 lb give 50mg – 2x daily 50-80+ lb give 100mg 2x daily
Some dogs experience agitation. (That’s been 2-3 cases in as many years. Which is why MORNING dosing is good. Some dogs can have a very untoward reaction to DHEA. That is uncommon, but it looks like this: Fever, joint pain, skin rash and even sores around the mouth and eyes. That’s CRAZY rare and may not even happen in dogs. It happens in people sometimes, and they don’t know why. (Stevens-Johnson Syndrome)
Obtaining DHEA can be simple, but there are caveats. For this to be even worth it, you might want to get a pharmaceutical grade DHEA which are available on Amazon.com and here are the names of two laboratories that will produce and sell pharmaceutical grade: “Douglas Labs” and “Pure Encapsulations”. Both are commonly relied upon by medical professionals in the human field. As with any promising nutritional supplement, the FDA has not had time to evaluate the many assertions made about DHEA, and we know there are some karri = a reckoning risks in terms of a reaction among certain dogs as well as eventual deleterious effects latently and possibly sub clinically. In the meantime the benefits probably outweigh those risks. If your pet is weak, very old, sick, or experiencing a deterioration in quality-of-life, which is the reason this information is being provided for you and this recommendation is being made.
What follows is my 2019 Review of DHEA and canines, felines. It’s based on case experience and has some revised dosing and precautions.
I think so. More than a decade ago they discovered that cats have a requirement for Taurine and cardiomyopathy (among other morbidities) could be the result. In the scheme of things, it was a minuscule problem, but dietary modifications were made across the board. In this case, I believe that a small number of dogs which are fed highly refined grain free diets MAY be missing a core ingredient we have not discovered yet. I believe the problem is being overdiagnosed, and is not yet fully understood. It’s also important to understand: DCM (Dilative cardiomyopathy) occurs in degrees of severity. The degree of DCM suffered by a dog is what determines the fatality of it. There are a lot of dogs walking around with DCM that we wouldn’t even look at, until now.
Many people have not heard about Cold Laser, or Laser Therapy, Red Light Therapy. It’s basically red. light.
Want an audio explanation of how laser really works at the cellular level? (Click to listen)
The “veterinary” version of laser is called “K-Laser” and I have no idea what the “K” stands for but the unit is $14,000 but apparently pays itself off in two years. Vets charge about $25 per session and a session is a few minutes.
The thing is, IT WORKS.
How Cold Laser, (K-Laser) Red Light Therapy Works
But there’s other “things.”
Like, technology has made it possible to do roughly the same thing as a $14,000 laser with a $90 piece of gear at home. How is this even possible?
Remember when a 64 Gigabyte thumb drive was hundreds of dollars? Now they’re giveaways at $8.
Remember when a digital camera cost you $1200 – – to take a 1 or 2 MP image, and now they have a 6MP camera on every $100 flip phone?
Well in the olden days, the ability to drive a VERY intense red light at 660-680 nm deep into the tissues at any meaningful power, you needed the concentrating ability of LASER.
But now they have LED’s up to FIVE WATTS and they’ll blind you.
Laser isn’t absolutely necessary anymore, especially for smaller pets.
BACKGROUND: The original “Chi Lite” was my first exposure to “red light” therapy 15 years ago, and it was because I had a piece of jewelry I wanted to wear and the piercing wasn’t healing. Not in 6 weeks. My veterinary colleague Dr Newman happened to own, and use a Chi Lite. He loaned it to me and (I know this sounds Chi-see (ha ha ha punny) but the lesion healed within the week with 3x daily light therapy at 1 minute per exposure.
In a nutshell, it activates the oxygen producing centers in our cells, (mitochondria) identically to the way sunlight at 660nm activates the chlorophyll in plant cells. (Audio explanation)
So in recent years, VERY recent years, you can penetrate at least an INCH into tissues with meaningful amounts of 660-680 nm light with modern LEDs. Laser isn’t absolutely necessary anymore, especially for pets because MOST pet’s lesions can be reached in an inch or two. ESPECIALLY achey hips, knees, sore gums, ulcers, skin lesions, etc.
There are “issues” with LED therapy and the number of choices that you have on the market. There are pitfalls in quality, reliability, and especially trust. Lasers may not be lasers, they MAY be LED’s. LEDs are great, but they may be deceptively numerous, but very low wattage. Minimal penetration, but over a larger surface area = less effective.
Individual experience is (due to cost), necessarily limited with ‘every’ device. So I decided to try a unit that had a price point that could be accessed by most people. Figuring that if I had to test a $300 piece of equipment, WHY WOULD I DO THAT if no one wanted it for that kind of money?
Comes from a company (DGYAO) that makes some of the big fancy ones. So they “know” LED Red Light 660nm Therapy. And they’ve entered the market at every price point from low to high. And their “low price point” offering isn’t disappointing.
Reasons their $89 unit is less expensive is because they could engineer and fabricate it in a pre-fab “flashlight” body so that did not have to be customized. It’s aircraft aluminum and it’s solid. The electronics are aluminum and brass where they need to be. It has “O”-rings as if to make it waterproof but they say it’s not.
They reduced the power of the bulb from 5W to 3W which cut costs without ruining the effect. (But it limits penetration to a respectable 1 inch)
The battery is Lithium Ion. It can push the unit for more than 3 hours. They send THREE different ways to charge the battery (it’s also removable and replaceable) and I like the charging IN the flashlight method. But they sent a USB cradle, and a USB wall unit and cord, too. Crazy, right?
They warrant the unit for 1 year. One or two companies warrant their unit for a lifetime but that also drives up price.
This unit also has an adjustable surface area but that is of very limited value. You can pull the head of the light outward and it makes the light into more of a pinpoint, but not stronger per se than just putting the light directly onto the skin.
.How Cold Laser, (K-Laser) Red Light Therapy Works
Erik, we have been doing the K-therapy since last Thursday morning. It seems to have helped her, and my aching thumb feels better. I am able to play guitar again.
“I’m going to go see a dog today that I am thinking about adopting. It’s a rescue, is there anything I should be looking for?“
Without a doubt the first thing you have to do, is add 15 to your current age. Take that number and put it at the end of the following sentence:
“I am prepared to accommodate the needs both emotional and physical of this dog until I am ___________ years old.“
It’s just so that you are extremely careful about adopting a dog with a problem with its disposition. People think they are going to “fix“ the various insecurities and idiosyncrasies with a dogs personality. When in fact, if it’s what they would call an “abused“ or “difficult” dog, you will probably end up walking on egg shells around it, and protecting your guests from spontaneously petting it until you are ___________ years old.
Go see the critter, and leave her behind if she seems at all skittish, if they say “She’s been abused” or if they say “Don’t worry about it she warms up to strangers after a little bit” or “ She’s just scared“
Just know that you will be saying all of the same things every time you have a visitor to your home. Or worse. Once they develop some confidence that kind of dog can be a real liability.
How To Adopt A Rescue Dog
However, if she runs right up to you, if she sniffs your face upon pick up, those are good signs.
Look at her teeth and see if they agree with the age they say she is.
Look at the lenses of her eyes and notice if she has cataracts at all.
“What if she won’t let me look at her teeth?“
That is by no means a dealbreaker, but if she’ll let you look at her teeth, take the dog home with you. She has passed the ultimate sweetness test. Letting you look at her teeth on the first meeting with her, she is a regular canine Mahatma Gandhi.
I would like to take a moment to discuss the adoptive term “she’s been abused” or “we think she was abused“. Use of that phrase may be an excellent reason to leave a dog behind. Here’s why:
It’s not hard to find a dog that has been abused for real, but it is three times rarer than finding a dog that was never socialized. There is a huge difference.
Most of the time, a dog that has been actually abused would not bite a flea. They have had all defiance beaten out of them. They sometimes make the best dogs you could get.
The other 75% of the time, the dogs that organizations think were “abused“ simply spent the first three months of their life neglected in a cage with no socialization so that they are almost feral, and everything scares them.
Less common among rescue dogs is the one that was never socialized because it was always up under mothers petticoats. It is imprinted on one person, and everyone else is simply terrifying.
This is especially true with the “vigilance breeds“ from Germany who were carefully hand selected from generations of puppies to imprint on (pretty much) one person and be terrified of everyone and everything else, and to engage only the FIGHT response when scared instead of the flightresponse so normal among other dogs.
If the dog is big enough to do damage, never let anyone try to explain away “he’s just scared“ about an animal you think you will introduce to your home.
Real abused dogs, are submissive, and very likely to roll over and pee when approached by just about anyone. The last thing a beaten dog would think about is curling a lip.
Are All Skittish Dogs a Loss?
There are hundreds of heartwarming stories where a dog has been adopted, wild eyed and tearing up peoples hands every time they reach out, blood stained bandages and people moving through MedFirst like a revolving door…. with the “after“ picture of the dog curled up on some owners lap. Go ahead and scroll up to the top of the page where you put your future age into that sentence and figure out if you want that only *potentially* heartwarming experience, until you are ___________ years old. Because it may never happen.
You have no idea whether you are, or are not, the Jane Goodall of dogs.
Ask them for a 48 hour approval phase where you’re going to take her to the house to meet everybody and arrange to let me look at her for a minute so you don’t get someone that is going to plague you with dermatology cardiac or orthopedic bills for the next 15 years.
Angels Among Us is my favorite pet adoption group I consider them top-notch and I have seen hundreds of excellent puppies from there, and I’ve never seen an instance where they would lie about anything.
The key thing to keep in mind, is that with any luck you will be with this dog for 12 to 15 years and if it has a “stone in its shoe” about anything… that is a long time to cope with it and, depending on the age of the adopter, it may be the last dog they get.
My next dog will be coming along and when I am 64 years old, if the dog lived 15 years I would be 80. I refuse to put up with a difficult dog for 15 years.
If they are concerned about a 48 hour approval, or you need me to say something, I will be happy to take their call and I will tell them that this dog they are about to adopt has “really hit the jackpot“ and that it is worth whatever little extra step it takes to get a dog into the Rowland home.
All dogs and cats ‘wear out’ or face ‘end of life’ and when it’s time, there’s things we do. Euthanasia is one of those things.
Georgia and a bunch of lawyers got together and made it necessary to make a “form” that gets signed to allow euthanasia. Nothing fancy, really. But it identifies someone as the legal “owner” and then provides ‘direction’ as to putting their pet to sleep, and they’re signing that they’re authoritative to make that elective*.
I had a guy drop off a pretty-healthy dog once for euthanasia. I knew the dog personally. I knew the owner I normally would see, and I didn’t think this was like, HER decision so I called her. And she broke down crying. Her soon-to-be ex-husband had picked up the dog and taken it to me to be euthanized as an act of cruelty to her. She came and got the dog. I don’t know what happened after that, between that guy and his ‘wife’.
It’s stuff like that which makes a signed euthanasia consent form such a good idea in case the Vet doesn’t know to intervene, at least it shows due diligence and identifies the person electing euthanasia.
Euthanasia Consent Form
Then, since it’s unlawful to euthanize a dog or cat that’s bitten a person recently, (10 days) in case Rabies observation or testing is necessary, the owner signs that the pet has NOT bitten anyone in the last ten days. (This has necessitated people living with a ‘doomed’ biter for several days knowing they’re going to put him down at the end of the wait. It’s hard.)
So here’s the form. You might have been sent here to download and sign it so you’re ready when you come in. Or, if more than one signature is requested. It helps to have the form to carry to the other consenting party.
Copperheads live around people, with no problem because we attract the rodents that they love to eat so much. Their favorite is a mouse, perhaps a second favorite would be a chipmunk, and then a rat.
Since copperheads can live where it is dry or wet, even living in the water on a rare occasion, it stands to reason that where they live has everything to do with what they eat. If a copperhead has grown up eating frogs, it is going to end up living closer to the water, whereas most copperheads live near the house where mice and rats may drink.
If I needed to find a copperhead on your property, I would go where water seems to be dripping slowly over time, for example near the air conditioning condenser outside by the house. When a mouse comes to drink, the copperhead gets his dinner.
If I had to trap a copperhead, I would lay a piece of plywood on the ground in moist leaf litter somewhere within 50 yards of standing water, especially a creek. I would come back several months later and expect to find a copperhead curled up underneath that piece of plywood.
Herpetologists use big sheets of roofing tin in suitable environments to catch the various snakes that they are wanting to study.
To recap let me mention that copperheads go where the food is. And they tend to like it moist and humid. While it is true that they do not much like the water, and would avoid swimming if possible, they like the various food that lives near the water and depends on it, so the further you get away from water, the less likely it is that you will see a copperhead.
Their biology specifies that they should like to be very warm at all times, so you may find them laying on the road at the end of the day enjoying the heat and to the converse, one of the reasons that so many copperhead bites occur in the spring and the fall is because the copperheads may be lethargic in temperatures closer to 50 and 60 in which case they do not effectively evade their so-called predator, your dog If they’re not hidden by the time it cools off.
Invariably, a copperhead would rather stay out of the way and be undetected, then stand and fight.
I am including a picture of a copperhead so that you can recognize it.
Features that identify a copperhead include hourglass shaped markings on the back, a pleasing pink and orange color, usually, a broadhead that does not taper into the body, slit like pupils, and Copperheads will often have a yellow tail. The snake is usually very thick in the middle, if it is an adult.
What about copperheads living in the water? I have seen it asserted that copperheads are not water snakes but that is not universally true and it nearly got me bitten one time. It is true that 98% of the “copperheads” that you see living in the water are actually banded watersnake’s, also called northern watersnake’s. These may be quite orange in color and resemble a copperhead considerably, except their heads are typically narrow and their pupils are big and round.
One time, I was reaching for a so-called watersnake except I noticed it’s markings were distinctly hourglass shaped and the snake was far more coral colored and what I have been catching earlier. Before I put my hand on it I realized I was looking at a coil of an actual copperhead who I guess, was down at my creek catching a frog for breakfast.
The copperhead does have a few natural predators*, perhaps the largest of which is the king snake. That’s a large black snake with thin yellow bands, it really loves eating copperheads and can survive the bite of a copperhead with no problem somehow. It is not at all uncommon to find one snake completely engulfing another snake. And it is always the big black snake that is swallowing the orange and coral colored copperhead. Pretty cool, and a good argument to let those king snakes live around your house.
The eastern king snake is a Hunter of copperheads.
Besides laying a piece of plywood in a strategic location in order to gather up the specimens in your area, it is possible to trap copperheads, ( and every other kind of snake ) by making a 12 inch tall fence at the edge of your woods with bird netting. The snakes will try to push their way through a 1 inch mesh and when it hits the mid body it will trap them, and they will not be able to back out because their scales fold back in one direction. Sadly this will catch and kill most snakes.
Perhaps as a parent you will have to make a decision regarding this if you have three and six-year-olds wandering the yard who may be vulnerable to a snakebite. I would never set a fence trap like this at the expense of beneficial snakes because I personally do not still have small children without the sense to avoid them.
To close my discussion of copperheads in residential environments and as a liability to your pet, let me advise you that if you carry your dog or cat to the vet with a copperhead bite, please inquire as to the application of something called DMSO, which is a topical liniment that I have found very valuable and limiting the damage to the tissue as done by a copperhead bite. I, professionally, would never treat a copperhead bite without it. I am also a big fan of steroids in large doses to minimize the lytic damage to the tissues near the bite.
Secondary infections in the area of the bite are also common, especially bites to the face, bacteria seem to enjoy the necrosing tissue in the vicinity of the strike and so I believe that antibiotics are indicated in the case of most bites.
On my website I have quite a few different ways to cook for your dog but I want you to know The easiest home cooking for dogs. Alternative for Raw diets of six or seven kinds, some diets that are rich in carbohydrates from 10 years ago, to some diets that are more conservative on carbohydrates trending now.
Somewhere in between feeding raw meat with enzymes and other special ingredients, all the way across the board to “just plain chicken and rice”, here is a nice “middle of the road“ diet that is suitable for most if not all dogs.
It brings to bear a conservative carbohydrate content, and it is extremely low in fat. If you look at each of the ingredients, they’re absolutely essential to the dogs nutrition and prevailing health.
Here are the ingredients:
Eggs prepared in any fashion although boiling a bunch of eggs on the weekend to have enough for the week is certainly efficient, not to mention the fact that you can buy boiled eggs by the dozen already shelled in the package.
Low carbohydrate, “stirfry“ vegetables. I found these at Target in steamer packs, they contain cauliflower, broccoli, snow peas, and other non-starchy vegetables. You just throw that in the microwave and steam it, chop it up a little and then mix it with the chopped eggs and you’re ready to go.
One of the things that would be missing in a diet based on non-starchy vegetables and eggs would be soluble fiber, so you need to add pumpkinto the diet. Sweet potato is almostas good. Adding a powdered soluble fiber is also effective and may be easier? That would be fructo-oligosaccharides from Amazon.com made from chicory root or Jerusalem artichoke.
The amount of pumpkin that you would add would be 1 tablespoon per 10 pounds in each feeding. After you had been feeding for a while you would kind of get the idea of what it looked like when it was made correctly and you would not have to measure painstakingly so much.
A diet that is based on eggs, low starch vegetables and a little bit of soluble fiber from pumpkin, is lacking in calcium and perhaps even some antioxidants. This is added by putting some blueberry yogurt of high-quality into the diet. Something like a teaspoon for 10 pounds would be appropriate, stir that in to the meal and you’re good
When I was researching raw diets, I noticed that some people were giving straight up, raw egg shell and it turns out that digestibility is actually OK, and this is not a bad way to get calcium into a dog. So, if you are using eggs in the diet and you feel like it, you could actually use a raw egg shell and all.
For most dogs over 20 pounds a half an egg shell is more than enough calcium for the day. Obviously that would be down tuned for a Chihuahua at 3 pounds LOL
Are eggs a complete protein? To be honest I couldn’t tell you, except that eggs are extremely “kidney friendly“ and used in diets that are intended to spare kidney function in older animals. The other proteins of a similar type (it’s also an albumin) comes from whey or milk protein. For that reason I suggest that if you want to supplement protein, instead of adding a bulky protein like chicken, consider perhaps a spoonful of basic whey protein powder. If you are using eggs, that should not be necessary but, if you feel like it, go ahead.
In the above diet we have considered protein, fat, fiber, carotenoids, calcium, even some advantages as far as antioxidants but we need to take it one step further: Iron and vitamins. Just in case were missing something, we should add a multivitamin to the diet and I have always been partial to Flintstones complete because it contains iron which is lacking in all of the above ingredients;from eggs to vegetables to yogurt.
So a Flintstones Complete, multivitamin dosed at a rate of 1/2 tablet for 30 pounds and under, and for 30 pounds and over we get a whole tablet per day. 60 to 70 pounds and over with yet a tablet and a half or more. Vitamins are quite safe for dogs, just make sure that the vitamin is not made with xylitol please check the label before administering it, because formulation sometimes change.
To recap, we are talking about a home-cooked diet that is simple, and nutritionally complete that is based on boiled eggs, starch free low carbohydrate mixed vegetables from a steamer, some blueberry yogurt, and pumpkin as well as A multivitamin for iron and to correct any small deficiencies.
Optional added items could include a whey-based protein powder.
Regarding the consistency of the diet, there are some dogs that will carefully pick out the egg and leave the vegetables, if that’s the case you are going to have to dice everything up and mix it together in such a style that dogs cannot pick out the vegetables,
Some dogs wolf it down en masse, in which case you are lucky.
How much to feed?
The vegetables are unlimited and you know how to dose the pumpkin and yogurt.