Hello all, it's been awhile since we've posted. Kai, my 7 yr old b/w cardi just had a rather unpleasant vet visit and came home with tons of meds. Brief back story on Kai for those new since we've been away - Kai is "Superdog!", my braveheart dog has survived, on different episodes - a great dane attack and an akita attack, both vicious, both requiring surgeries approx 3 yrs ago. He still has his sweet, laid-back temperament, but has been having more problems lately. Won't jump up or down, trouble doing stairs, exhibiting pain (very rare for Kai) and starting to play rough with Luna. Took him to the vet and got not a bad diagnosis, but not that great for Superdog. Mild to Moderate Arthritis in 6 levels of his spine, probably due to the attacks.  I have to take him back for a liver ultrasound - seems some little eating disorder cardi got into some food prior to vet visit and the x-ray wasn't clear...........Oh, Kai. Anyways, he came home on the following: Increase of Rimadyl 100mg from1xday to 2x day; Dasuquin with MSM 2tabs day; Tramadol 50mg 1xday 4 seven days then increase to 3x day(?????) and Gabapentin 100mg 2 caps 2x day.  My question is does anyone else have similar med regimens, and or any suggestions about additions or deletions for Kai, to keep him healthy and happy for as long as possible? Thanks.

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Welcome back Patti, How much does Kai weight now? What's his feeding schedule and treats in between?
Hi Sam -- hope u had a great holiday! Kai is still at 45lbs after yrs of the green bean diet. He has been tested and retested for thyroid, but they all come up negative. Treats are kept to carrots and an occasional "big boy" treat. In the am he gets 1/2 cup green beans, and in the pm he gets 1/2 cup kibble and 1 cup green beans. I watch both to see if he's eating Luna's food, but generally she eats HIS! Vet thinks he may actually have lost some wait since the pain episodes got worse and Luna has been eating his food.
no good suggestions I'm afraid but I am hoping things improve for Kai!
I'm no vet, but I do have arthritis. Tramadol is an opioid. Certainly opioids have their place in pain management, and I have taken them myself for short periods. However, over the long term this would be considered the big gun in pain management, so to speak.

Mine both take glucosamine. I noticed that my six-year-old would be a little sore all over if she overdid it (she does NOT have an off button if we go swimming or frisbee-chasing, and she'll go full-speed til she drops, then pay for it that evening). After starting the glucosamine, we have not had a single instance of Ouchy Maddie, so I definitely recommend the Dasuquin.

If it were me, personally, I would probably start with the Rimadyl and Dasuquin and see how my dog responded.

I am not familiar with Gabapentin, but I looked it up and it's used to treat neuropathy (nerve pain). It's like neurontin.

Honestly if he were a person, most rheumatologists would start him off with just the NSAID (rimadyl for dogs, Advil or prescription NSAID for people), THEN add either the opioid or the neurontin (probably the latter), and then give the opioid as-needed, only moving up to continuous dosing if the situation warrants.

The Tramadol is habit-forming, meaning once your dog is on it, over time he would need higher doses to get the same effect. Again, for me that would be a last choice. Opioids are also mood-altering, tending to make people tired/sluggish until they adjust. And for people, they also tend to be constipating.

I would also try a different approach to get weight off him. Check the calorie content of your kibble and try a lower-calorie kibble and maybe split it equally between two servings.

The choice is between you and your vet, but again I would personally choose a more conservative approach and the tramadol would be something I might consider for a very short time if the flare-up is bad, but definitely not something I would want to start a 7-year-old on as a long-term treatment option unless other efforts failed to bring him relief.

Good luck with Kai.
By the way, in humans Tramadol is used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. Mild arthritis in the spine SHOULD be causing mild pain in MOST patients, not moderate to severe pain.

Unless there is something else going on, I am genuinely puzzled by the choice of tramadol.
One last thing: green beans have 20 calories in a half-cup.

By giving a cup and a half of green beans a day, he is getting 60 (mostly empty) calories from green beans.

If you feed a kibble that is 350 cal/cup, you can be giving 2 to 3 extra tablespoons of kibble a day for the same amount of calories as the cup and a half of green beans.

When I give mine green beans, I give about 2 to 3 tablespoons worth to take up the space in the bowl. A cup and a half a day is kind of a lot, I think. Try giving a quarter cup of kibble plus a quarter cup of green beans each meal, and you'll reduce his daily calories by 40.
Beth - thank you so much for your knowledge and sharing.
1. the green beans. I have repeatedly asked the vet if this could be the reason why Kai is NOT losing any weight. they tell me it's a non-issue. Kai searches for food all day. an example - the dogs know that after waking in the am and immediately going outside when they return from doing "their business", they get a carrot. Kai walks to the door like he's going to go out and then runs for the carrot. He will then wait till the next outdoor time to do his business. the dogs are both fed Canadei overweight/senior dog formula.
2. Kai has been on rimadyl since the 2nd attack. it was prescribed as a daily med, but i felt he did not need it then. only the past few months has he needed it every day, and now we have the issues i took him to the vet for.
3. vet told me the dasuguin was a wonder drug, so i have my fingers crossed.
4.with regard to the gabapentin and tramadol - it does seem to be working. however, there were signs in the vet office for laser treatments for chronic pain, acupuncture, etc. I have had a hunch since the 2nd attack that Kai would not have a "normal" life span - but I, as does every corgi owner, dearly love my superdog and want him around forever - but i don't want him in such obvious pain that he can't do anything - or is aggressive to Luna. Would your recommendation be - of course clearing it with my vet, too - to stop tramadol, keep neurontin-type drug, and if that does not work, then add the tramadol. The tramadol did concern me because they increased it so heavily imo after a week.

Kai is a very very good and special dog.

Again - thanks.
I have nothing of value to offer the conversation, but this is such classic corgi behaviour I had a chuckle:

Kai searches for food all day. an example - the dogs know that after waking in the am and immediately going outside when they return from doing "their business", they get a carrot. Kai walks to the door like he's going to go out and then runs for the carrot.

My pup gets nearly 2 cups of Orjien (460 calories/cup) daily, along with 3 pieces of chicken jerky, a milkbone biscuit or two, some fruit/veg puree, and misc. extra food that gets dumped into her food dish while I'm cooking, and she STILL spends all her time searching for food, lol.
Yep, mine prowl looking for crumbs and when they are off-lead they will find gross buried stuff. They'll try to eat sticks. I have one that eats grass and berries. It's safe to say that they really live for looking for something to eat!
Well, I think if it were me I'd try adding one drug at a time, giving it a few weeks trial, and then continuing to add if Kai is not getting relief. It depends on the level of pain. For me, if the dog is still eating eagerly, going out to potty willingly and seems to enjoy some usual activities (chewing a bone or going for a walk), personally I would take a conservative approach til I found the right mix.

If the dog is clearly miserable most of the time and does not like any of his normal activities, then I would take an aggressive approach.

I get my own approach from my own experience in living with chronic pain. There is a huge difference in quality of life between "It hurts if I go up the steps or jump up and down" and "I'm so miserable I don't even feel like eating my dinner." The latter really needs immediate strong intervention, the former can be fiddled with til you find the right combo, in my personal opinion.

You know your own dog. Trust your gut.
Thanks again Beth. I'll bring this up when I take Kai Superdog in for his ultrasound.
In my experience with my old pup we tried the Canidae senior (I think it is called something like Canidae platinum) and was made for old/overweight dogs and my dog GAINED HUGE amounts of weight on that food. If I were you I'd probably switch to something like Natural Balance's diet formula that has the fewest calories of any over the counter dog food and see if that helps. I know that Hills R/D and Purina OM work great but they are super expensive and you have to get them from a vet. The Canidae is such a dense food that even feeding far less of it than we did our other kibble my dog gained 20 pounds! (He was 135 pounds at the start, great dane mix).
With his pain management (he had arthritis from TPLO, hip dysplasia, and spine inflammation) we used Rimadyl and tramadol long term....he was on both for about 4 years before we had to put him down after a freak accident. He was going strong on the tramadol (at that point he was getting 2 morning and 2 at night and Rimadyl) and he did great, no side effects from the meds. After his accident the vet wanted to further increase the tramadol as well as add in Gabapentin. The vet where I work frequently uses a combo of NSAID/Tramadol for arthritis cases and it works great and most vets are more concerned by the use of NSAID than Tramadol. Tramadol didn't seem to be habit forming in the two dogs I had on it long term and in both cases after years on the medication we never needed to increase the dose unless they had a really high exercise day and we never had to give the prescribed does, we were always able to use much less. Gabapentin I have only seen prescribed for very severe cases of pain management and I probably wouldn use that as a last ditch effort. Many times you can get away with a very low dose of tramadol twice a day and they do great.
I also found a supplement online called Flavocin and I swear it changed my dog's life. We were at the point where we were considering putting him to sleep because he was so uncomfortable and we had tried EVERYTHING for his pain and this was a last ditch effort. After only a few weeks he was a totally different dog, like a puppy again. We got 2 1/2 more happy and playful years out of him after starting that supplement. It was truly an amazing transformation.


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