I have a seven-year-old Rottie named Leo who we got about six weeks ago. He was quite unhealthy and overweight when we got him as he had not been walked for a long time. He has improved a lot and lost weight as he now gets walked two or three times a day. We try not to overdo it though, as we want to build it up gradually. However, he still limps some of the time, and sometimes struggles when he goes for a walk. He is fed on a dry food specifically for larger dogs with joint problems, and has cod liver oil supplements.
We also have a seven-year-old Labrador who has had arthritis from being young, but cod liver oil and a bioflow magnetic collar mean that he can live a normal and healthy life. We considered getting a magnetic collar for Leo, but couldn't seem to find one to fit! Other than this he is a happy and healthy dog, and is very energetic when he is not having trouble with his joints.
Does anyone have any other suggestions of how we can help him, or know where we could find an extra large magnetic collar?
Alice Charlesworth, by email
Alison Logan, vet, advises:
I have had some quite spectacular results with Bioflow magnetic collars. The benefit is purely in the module which is carried on the nylon collar, so you should be able to thread it onto any nylon collar if you are finding the collar supplied is too short. Do remember to ensure that the module is against the coat in the throat area or ventral neck.
I am glad you have gradually introduced an exercise regime because it is important for your rottie to tone up, just like it is for us when starting to exercise. A few short walks is always better than one long route march! Weight loss will have also been a huge contributory factor to your rottie’s improvement.
You mention that you are feeding a dry food for large dogs with joint problems. Again, I have certainly had great success with prescription diet for joint support. My own Labbie is a walking testament to that!
I would always prefer to supplement with fish oil rather than cod liver oil. Do bear in mind that additional supplements should not be necessary if it is the prescription diet that you are feeding.
Keep up the good work!
Richard Allport, alternative vet, advises:
I stock Magnopulse magnetic collars at my own practice and haven’t yet found a dog that we couldn’t fit a collar for, but the magnet can always be removed and stitched into a larger collar anyway. I have seen good but not 100 per cent success with magnetic collars, most dogs do really well once wearing a collar, a few are just a little better and occasionally a dog will seem to get no benefit at all. Cod liver oil is certainly helpful, but I’d get Leo off the dried food and on to a ‘real food’ diet – proper meat and veg, some offal, the odd egg or two and so on. Keep up the gradually increasing exercise and think about adding some or all of the following:
• A good Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM and Hyaluronic acid supplement, such as Cortavet – this will help to lubricate the joints and support healthy cartilage development.
• Acupuncture – if you have a vet in the area with experience of needling – excellent for pain relief and for slowing down deterioration of joints.
• Yarrow complex – a terrific herbal combination that has an effective anti inflammatory effect in joints
• Homoeopathic medicines – if you have access to a qualified homoeopathic vet you will be able to obtain useful anti arthritic medicines which can be prescribed after referral from your own vet.
These are just a few of the many natural medicines and therapies that would help keep Leo happy and mobile. Good luck!
Dr John Howie, Co-founder Lintbells Ltd, advises:
There are a number of everyday things you can do to keep your dog's joints in good health.
Keeping your dog at a healthy weight can help alleviate the joint problems. Daily low-impact exercise is very important. Inactivity can lead to joint stiffness and decreased flexibility whilst too much exercise is not a good idea either, as it puts too much strain on the dog's joints, so moderation is the key. One excellent form of exercise is swimming as it enables the dog to exercise whilst supporting their weight. If you have a hydrotherapy centre in the area, it would be worth giving them a call. They can design a program tailored to your dog's needs so that it provides good exercise without over doing it.
Nutrition can also play an important role. It sounds like you are already doing a good job here, but you might want to consider a supplement specifically designed to help stiff dogs.
From a joint structure point of view, glucosamine provides the building blocks for the production of new cartilage, but look for products containing Glucosamine HCl rather than Glucosamine sulphate as these contain a purer form. Chondroitin is also important as it inhibits the break down of the cartilage, helping keep the joint in good health.
For your dog's comfort, the key is to provide omega 3 oils that help reduce inflammation making your dog feel more comfortable. Whilst cod liver oil capsules provide some omega 3, the best source is green lipped mussel. As well as the standard omega 3, EPA, found in fish oils, it also contains a unique omega 3 called ETA. This combination is very powerful and will provide much faster and more effective relief. Green lipped mussel has been proven to improve joint comfort in many trials.
Another relatively new ingredient that is great for mobility is hyaluronic acid. It's the compound that forms the cushioning fluid in your dog's joints (the synovial fluid) and is very important for shock absorption lubrication in the joint itself.
We have just launched a new supplement, YUMOVE, that contains all of these key ingredients at the right level and purity in a single supplement. If you wanted to try a sample, you would be very welcome to. Simply visit www.dogjoint.co.uk to register and we can send it out to you. If you'd like to learn more about YUMOVE, please visit www.lintbells.com/yumove
Pennie Clayton, Canine Bowen Therapist, says...
It sounds like you are already making a real improvement to Leo's life during the six weeks that he has been with you.
As a Bowen therapist I would first and foremost recommend that you cut down on Leo's walks especially as he is limping at times. If his weight is beginning to improve then you may be overdoing the walks even though you say you are building them gradually. If a dog limps on walks I would suggest that there is pain somewhere, which would indicate cutting down on exercise instead of continuing to build it up.
Bowen therapy could be very useful for Leo for several reasons. Firstly it can help address the problems of his previous ill health, and secondly it can be very beneficial with gait problems and discomfort, by boosting circulation and energy, and be helping remove toxins from his system. Bowen can also help rebalance the dog's body by relieving stiffness and soreness in limbs. Lastly the very best thing about Bowen is that it is a very gentle and relaxing therapy which will benefit Leo if he is experiencing pain or tenderness in any areas of his body.
If you visit www.caninebowentechnique.com you will find a list of fully trained and insured Canine Bowen therapists, and there you can select a practitioner close to you who will be very pleased to help you with Leo's ongoing health and fitness regime, and will be happy to answer any further questions you may have regarding Canine Bowen Technique.
Emma Phillips, from Molar Ltd, says…
Syno-Vital Pet is a liquid food supplement containing Hyaluronan, a natural product already found in highest concentrations within the joints of animals and humans.
As the animal ages, its body produces less Hyaluronan. The joints become stiff and the movement painful.
Syno-Vital Pet is an oral solution made from medical grade hyaluronic acid with 1.2 million Daltons molecular weight. Liquid solutions by nature are absorbed by the body easier and quicker than tablets and capsules. Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a polymer and comes in varying molecular weights. Studies have shown more benefits with the higher molecular weight HA, such as more cushioning for the joints.
The Hyaluronan in Syno-Vital Pet is derived from an extracellular protein of a bacteria in a laboratory. It does not contain any animal derivatives. Since it is naturally present in the body and is not derived from animal tissue, hypersensitivity to Syno-Vital Pet is not a problem. There are no side-effects and again, studies show that Hyaluronan has been reported to be within the joints in 20 minutes.
Syno-Vital Pet comes as 30 x 5ml sachets to be given once a day with an RSP of £29.99 and is available from all good vet surgeries and pet stores.