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Stumbling

Discussion in 'Dog Health' started by JudyN, Jun 7, 2020.

  1. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Every few days, for some months now, I've noticed Jasper stumbling on one of his back legs - it's very brief, I'm not even sure which leg it is. Often it'll be while going upstairs and he'll almost fall upstairs. I get the impression it's as if he's not picking up one of his hind feet properly and wonder about some nerve damage/weakness. Has anyone seen anything similar?

    He's 10.5 now and we do wonder if he's showing his age - when walking his back end just looks a bit more unstable or weak, as if he's walking on stilts that aren't completely reliable. This is quite possibly normal because he is a large dog with very long spindly back legs. Most days he's still up for 1.5-hour-long walks, though he's often very slow at the end and is likely to lie down on a grass verge for a snooze given half a chance. And other days he'll walk to the church yard at the end of the road, have a poo, and decide to go straight home again! A friend wondered if I should be walking him so far - he normally chooses where we go, but I suppose he might decide that he wants to go to the woods/heath and not think too much about whether he'll have the energy to walk home again after.

    The weather doesn't help as he's not great in the heat, so even when we're keeping to cooler times and places, he'll be less energetic than he'd be in the cooler months.
    I doubt arthritis is a major factor as he's not limping. I'm just finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that he's getting older.
     
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  3. Flobo

    Flobo Well-Known Member Registered Partner

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    it is hard to come to terms with the fact that your dog is getting older. A few of mine I walk are maturing now and i have to recognize that although the spirit is willing the body is not always as able as it was. I have to remember that even when the walk is good and I follow their lead, I am the one that has to rein them in as I know the walk back is as long!( something even the brightest of our hounds seem not to think about!) 10 and a half is a worthy age to be slowing down a bit...:)
     
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  4. Ari_RR

    Ari_RR Well-Known Member Registered

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    I would probably consider limiting trips upstairs.. hope you have a comfortable couch downstairs.
     
  5. Finsky

    Finsky Well-Known Member Registered

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    Hmm..don't we all have a little side step or wobble every now and then (nothing to do with G&T!). Jasper might need a little hint to remind him, he ain't young puppy anymore....though I'm sure he is still very young at heart ;)
     
  6. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    I was going to suggest physio to build some extra strength into his rear legs, then I remembered it is Jasper we are talking about!

    Would he swim?
     
  7. Mayblossom

    Mayblossom Well-Known Member Registered

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    Could it be his cruciate Judy? They may be weakening as he gets older, it’s tough accepting that they’re getting older :( I look at Lily who’s coming up 11 and notice differences in her, used to play with a ball for hours but now she’ll bring it to me , we’ll throw it a few times but then she picks it up and takes it back to her bed :rolleyes: Hoping it’s just Jaspers age catching up with him...I can relate to that :D
     
  8. Hemlock

    Hemlock Active Member Registered

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    This is normal for an ageing (sorry) lurcher. Because they put so much stress on their hindquarters all through their youthful years, it's usually the first place that shows wear and tear.
    I know you are not a fan of natural remedies, but there are loads of helpful supplements to try e.g. green lipped mussel, glucosamine, turmeric and so on. Even magnetic collars. Everything suits some, nothing suits all. I'd suggest Dorwest Herbs as a starting point, as they are very helpful and they also know lurchers. They are licensed to supply herbs for animals.
    My last dog is 11 now, and I have been where you are so many times. I don't restrict exercise - I let her decide how far and how fast. Some days she's up for it, some not. As Ari says, it's a good idea to restrict stairs if that won't upset him. Also jumping in and out of the car - it can really help if you park so he does not have as far to jump. Somehow he doesn't strike me as a dog you could lift in and out, and my experience is that they don't like the ramps, although that's worth a try.
     
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  9. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Thanks all - lots to think about there. I'm probably overreacting/overthinking because, as you say, it's hard to watch your dog age. On this morning's walk he was pretty lively, even had a short run with another dog. He can go from poetry in motion to clonkey donkey in a few steps, but I think his deerhound genes are also a factor - at low speeds they have a slouchy walk at the best of times.

    Restricting stairs would be difficult, particularly at the moment while OH is working from home - Jasper's preferred daytime resting spot is on the bed in the spare bedroom where he works. And if he slept downstairs at night I'd probably have to sleep downstairs too - which would be fine for a while, if he couldn't manage stairs safely at all, but given his mix it's difficult to know what his lifespan is likely to be. Deerhounds, of course, don't last long at all, but lurchers being crossbreeds and bred (mostly) for health can go on till their late teens. I'm not sure if large lurchers tend to last less long than small ones.

    I should probably get a ramp for the car sooner rather than later, so we can accustom him to it before he needs it.
     
  10. Rinkydinkydo

    Rinkydinkydo Active Member Registered

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    Unfortunately time doesn't stand still,I can't comment of Jasper because I don't know what his condition was in his prime to what he's like now,but I can guess. I would like to wish the big fella all the best. You know him better than anyone just like I do my old gal and we do our best for them.
     
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  11. Flobo

    Flobo Well-Known Member Registered Partner

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    I would definatly recommend getting one before he needs it as some dogs take a while to get used to them...if at all !!
    I had one for Jake (and one of my boarders also needed it for a while), they both would use it on the flat, with treats, and on a slight slope of one step but using it up 3 steps into the garden, not a hope!!:confused:
     
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  12. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Does anyone have any recommendations for a ramp please? It would need to be stable as Jasper doesn't like feeling unstable, and fold up to fit in a VW Golf.
     
  13. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Sorry, I meant to add earlier - he's on Youmove, which includes green lipped mussel and glucosamine. I might look at other suggestions - but so much of the evidence is anecdotal and in general, the more rigorous a scientific trial, the less likely they are to show benefits.
     
  14. Hemlock

    Hemlock Active Member Registered

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    That's probably partly to do with who pays for the trials. If it's Big Pharma, as it usually is, they want to create and market a drug. It isn't in their interests to find a natural remedy useful.

    Re: the ramp - might be best to look at a few and then commission a carpenter when lockdown eases. My up-the-road neighbours built their own as the commercial ones were too flimsy for a big dog (labrador). They also taught him to use it in the house first, flat on the floor to begin with, then gradually increasing the angle.
     
  15. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Yes, that is part of the problem. The evidence can't be there if no one has paid for it. And there are so many really poor research studies by people who should know better. A case in point is one to test hydroxychloroquine (I think) for its effectiveness against Covid, where people in the treatment group who died weren't included in the results because they weren't 'available' for follow-up...

    I'm going to ask on a lurcher FB group for ramp recommendations, too, asking particularly for recommendations from people with larger/heavier dogs. I think stability will be a big issue.
     
  16. Ragsysmum

    Ragsysmum Member Registered

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    Bioflow magnetic dog collars work very well for some dogs but not all. I have used them with several older foster/adopted dogs and also lent them to other people and a good proportion do seem to benefit though some show no improvement.
     
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  17. Hemlock

    Hemlock Active Member Registered

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    I have one that I've used for nearly 30 years. Helped some dogs a lot, not others, not me either. I really baulked at the price but every year I have it, it gets cheaper!!
     
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  18. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    A friend is going to lend me hers, which she bought for her now sadly departed Staffie. Even if it's not right for Jasper or for our car, hopefully we can use it for a bit of 'ramp training', flat at first and then supported at one end, and see what he thinks about it :)
     
  19. Flobo

    Flobo Well-Known Member Registered Partner

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    I used a magnetic collar for my last oldie and combined with a supplement it worked wonders, he literally went from wobbly, sometimes falling back end to running around again(within reason for an oldie!) ... but tried it with Jake on 2 different occasions and he actually seemed to age more, wierdly, it really didn't agree with him. All the same I do think it may be worth a go.
     
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  20. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    The trouble is, you don't know how the dogs would have done if they hadn't had the collars. We try these things when our dog is particularly bad, and on the whole, things that are bad tend to improve over time (admittedly this argument doesn't hold up so well with degenerative diseases). And if you're trying both the collar and a supplement, you don't know which (if either) worked.
     
  21. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    We use the Bioflow collar - I don't know whether it works or not, but my view is that it can't do any harm, so it has to be worth trying.
     
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