What happens when your best buddy slows down?
My dog Daisy was adopted and joined my family when Duke was already five years old. From the moment the two dogs set eyes on each other, something beautiful occurred–the two together became better than they seemed to be alone, each bringing out the best characteristics of the other. Duke always treats Daisy with gentleness and respect and Daisy reciprocates by being loving and trustworthy. Theirs is a relationship based upon a deep affinity, similar to what has been described in humans as “true love,” the kind of love that endures, and that we all hope to find.
Whenever Daisy gets into trouble or is upset for whatever reason, Duke is always there to help her and console her. At times when Duke is ill or in pain, Daisy will stay beside him, every few minutes gently licking his ear as if to let him know “I am here don’t worry,” and he does love the attention. Those two do not like to be apart for any length of time. For the past seven years, they have never slept separately, but always stay close to each other with at least one body part touching a body part of the other.
Duke, however, being five years older is getting a bit tired these days and keeping up with his younger partner has become a challenge for him. When they go out in the yard, Daisy still runs full speed along the fence to keep up with the puppies next door, and every minute or two she will look over at Duke as if to say “Come join me, this is fun!” Duke tries his best to run, but his joints get painful and he gives up after a few seconds. It’s heartbreaking to see this and to think about a possible future when Daisy may be left alone without her love. Will she be able to continue life with her tail wagging and thinking of the world as a happy, safe place? I think not. Will she remain playful and carefree, running up and down the length of the fence with a smile on her face screaming “Good morning world!” and “Hello neighbors, come have fun with us!”?
After a few moments of contemplation during which I succeeded only in making myself sad, I decided to snap out of it. Rather than sit here dwelling upon the negatives, I should figure out a way to get this older gentleman feeling better so that he can continue enjoying his playtime as long as possible. The first thing I did was order some Dasuquin with MSM, which is a comprehensive joint health supplement that contains glucosamine/chondroitin sulfate and another proprietary ingredient that protects cartilage from destruction and helps relieve inflammation. I watched the two dogs play for a week and just when I was about to give up on the product, something happened: it seemed as though Duke was able to run a little more and to be in less pain. Although he wasn’t magically transformed into a frisky young dog, he did appear to be getting better. Now I wanted more, a lot more. I was having a very tough time accepting the concept of aging. Not my old buddy Duke! So I took him in to his veterinarian and asked his doctor what we could do to make him like a puppy again.
After discussing my concerns, the doctor looked up at me and told me the following: “We can’t turn Duke back into a puppy, but we can do certain things so that he can continue enjoying his life. Every age has its positives and negatives and we must learn to embrace all stages of life rather than fight them.” The doctor then proceeded to write Duke a prescription for Rimadyl, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which is used to treat pain and inflammation caused by arthritis and other joint diseases. Since this drug can be given once a day, it was easy for me to give it to him each morning before leaving for work. Before long, Duke got much better. In just a matter of two or three days he was running up and down with his sweetheart Daisy the entire length of the fence. Neither Duke nor Daisy can keep up with the puppies next door who seem to have an endless supply of energy but, just like Duke’s doctor suggested, I can embrace the positives of this stage in their life and think “at least my two dogs are completely house broken which is something those puppies next door need a lot more time to master.”
Whenever something seems wrong or your pet’s health seems to have changed overnight, making an appointment with the veterinarian is extremely important in order to get a proper diagnosis and the proper treatment. Sometimes the longer an illness progresses, the more set in and difficult it is to treat. Another advantage of taking your pet in for an exam is that (as I found out) sometimes the visit can help your peace of mind as well as helping your ailing pet.
As always if you have a medication related question you can call your 1800petmeds pharmacist who can help you. You might as well take advantage of all the years of schooling and training they have to go through!