I left out part of the story about Cricket when we posted about her birthday last week. I wanted her birthday posts to be strictly happy, because as it turns out, she is showing her age more. She was excited about all the ball she got to play over that weekend, but here’s what I left out:
I let her overdo it. It was completely my fault, but it was such a beautiful day, and we were having so much fun, I didn’t cut her play time shorter like I have been doing lately. She’s had an on and off limp which I’ve mentioned before, and keeping her play time limited was helping and most of the time she was fine.
She was due to go back to the vet to have her heart murmur re-checked and we also realized it was time to talk to the vet about her limp. In the photo you can see she’s holding her right leg up. I was pretty sure last time it was her left (I should learn to write this stuff down).
She had very short play times after that, and with a couple of doses of baby aspirin and some extra rest, the limp was long gone by the time we got to the vet the following week. Our appointment ending up being a good news/bad news kind of appointment.
The good news is that he found no sign of her heart murmur again! He called it only a Grade 1 the last time, and felt that it must have been situational…either from nerves, or maybe she was a bit dehydrated at the time. So her heart is fine!
I suspected Cricket’s limping might be caused by arthritis (we had her on joint supplements), and I was half right. The bad part was the arthritis is pretty bad, and that she also has a ligament tear, as well as a meniscus tear. The bottom line is that because of her advanced arthritis and her age, our vet does not feel surgery would be worthwhile for those issues.
But on the brighter side, he feels it can be managed with joint supplements (we switched to a different one he recommends and we’ll see if that seems better) and pain/inflammation relievers (Rimadyl). He said he does not feel that the tears will worsen. She can do whatever exercise she is comfortable with, and if it causes issues, then no more of that!
They also did blood tests for Lyme disease, to be on the safe side. Lyme is very common in our area, and Cricket does not get vaccinated for it. Any time a dog shows signs of lameness, they want to test for it. Hers came back negative, and her liver and kidneys are in good condition so it’s safe to give her the Rimadyl (with a re-check in two weeks).
Long time readers of our blog know that Cricket is ball crazy, and lives to play fetch. Since she’s had the off and on limp, we had shortened her play sessions, and don’t throw the ball into the pool like we used to. She seems happy enough with that, and we will be far more diligent about sticking to short play times. I don’t want to take that game away from her if we don’t have to.
We already know the drill with arthritis, since Sheba also has it. We’ve been able to manage Sheba’s pretty well, but she’s not quite as active (intense) as Cricket. Since Sheba has been doing so well though, I think we’ve become a bit complacent about extra things we could do to help her stay that way. It was very timely when our friend Jen over at the blog My Brown Newfies put up a post yesterday on how they are managing their dog Sherman’s arthritis (“How We’re Managing Canine Osteoarthritis in Our Senior Dog“). I needed the reminders of all the extra things we can do to help. We’ve done well on one of the most important things for arthritis, and that is keeping weight down. We try to get out moving every day, playing in the yard, but we could do more walks and get some hills in there to help strengthen muscles too.
Sheba only has to take an occasional Rimadyl, and I’d be happier if we could get Cricket to that point too. We’ll see how these two weeks go and if she tolerates the meds, and then go from there. At that point I’d like to talk to our vet about alternative therapies as well. I’ve researched it for Sheba, and even though we don’t have an acupuncturist or chiropractor for dogs around here, I did find someone that does cold laser therapy so that is an option.
The best news is that Cricket is doing well! We took a one mile walk this morning and she was her usual spunky self. She has not been holding her leg up since the weekend before her birthday. I’ll tell you what, it is not easy to keep this beagle quiet. If she thinks she smells a deer outside, she is jumping and running, barking away. It’s hard to slow her down. When she had one leg up in the air, she still wanted to just run on three legs (which is probably what led to the tears).
We’re just tossing the ball lightly these days. It’s been so hot we didn’t want to play long anyway. We’ll continue to see how she does, and go from there. I’m also encouraging her to use the stairs to get on and off the couch more, and we’ll continue to work on that. The only thing is, I miss my little jogging partner! Our hot spell is supposed to be over after today, so we’ll be working into some new routines anyway. I see a lot of walks in my future….I’m not a spring chicken anymore either, so we could all do with keeping our joints loose!
Today we are joining the Thursday Barks & Bytes blog hop. Thank you to our hosts 2 Brown Dawgs blog, and Heart Like a Dog. Please visit other blogs through the links below!
Dolly the Doxie says
Sorry to hear about Cricket’s bad leg. You didn’t mention if it was an ACL or not. I strained mine once and it took a long time to heal because my mom wouldn’t make me rest. And I’m half Cricket’s age so I am glad to hear she is doing better. Love Dolly
Thank you, Dolly! I honestly don’t think the vet said if it was her ACL or not, he just said “ligament”, and I didn’t think to ask more at the time. I should probably make Cricket rest more too, but so far she seems to be doing OK with just short play sessions each day. Fingers crossed.
Jackie Bouchard says
Well, that does sound like mostly good news. It’s also great that you’ve kept her weight down – which is no easy feat with a beagle! 🙂 It’s hard to keep a beagle from playing like a wild thing, but hopefully you’ll be able to manage her issues. Sending good thoughts her way!
Thank you, Jackie. Now the trick is going to be keeping her weight down when she has to be less active! She’s always been easy because she just never stops. Now we’re going to have to find a new balance! So far so good though!
Ellen Pilch says
GLad to hear Crickett is doing well for the most part. Lyme is common here and our cat Spooky had it. He was a neighbor’s cat until he moved and we took him in. Spooky used to always have ticks on him so I suggested lyme. After the antibiotics, he acts much calmer and peppier. Thank you for the kind words you left me about the passing of my Lucy, I appreciate your concern.
Glad about the heart murmur, but sorry about the rest. We’re dealing with similar issues with Jeffie. Like Joy, we’re having good results with Rejenease in addition to chiropractic and massage. Jeffie is taking rimadyl and you should check out Rimadyl Rewards to save a little money.
Thank you for that tip….I will look into the Rewards! I honestly hadn’t even looked at our bill yet, but when I did realized that stuff isn’t cheap!
Poor, sweet Cricket! But I am so glad that she doesn’t have to give up her favorite activities. Barley is next to impossible to keep still, too, so I understand how difficult that must be for you and Cricket. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that she keeps doing well with her short play times.
Thank goodness there’s so much good news to outweigh the torn ligament and meniscus! I’m sorry to hear that Cricket has arthritis, but you do seem to have a good handle on dealing with that and I’m sure she’ll do very well with it.
Well, there is a lot of good news to be happy about. You will manage that Arthur Itis dude as best you can and let her enjoy that ball. Purrs to you dear Cricket, we know that stuff hurts. Oh, we read Jen’s post too. We think Jen is cool and have met her several times. We used to have two big dogs many years ago so we can relate to that painful stuff.
The Island Cats says
We’re glad Cricket is doing well despite hurting her leg. We hope she gets some relief from the joint supplements. It’s tough getting old!
Paved by Paw Prints says
That’s good news about the heart murmur and Lyme results! Our angel dog, Tarsha, had arthritis – it’s not fun at all. Hopefully the new supplements can give Cricket some relief. We’re praying for a quick recovery 🙂
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
Good – no, make that GREAT – news about the heart murmur and negative Lyme test result!!
As Jenna said, don’t beat yourself up over the too much fetch. It does happen. You see the dog enjoying herself and get caught up in her excitement. It happens to me with Shadow, especially these last few weeks since Callie got so sick that she didn’t want to play. Shadow has a bit of arthritis too and will at times chase the ball even when she’s a little stiff. Then, when I notice her “gimpy” hobble and call it quits for a while, she begs for more and gives me those sad-puppy eyes. Thankfully, though, I can manage her arthritis with the Cosequin DS. And a little willpower to resist the begging.
The Rejenease worked great, in addition to the Rimadyl and Tramadol, for Callie when she was still healthy. Her arthritis was getting worse before I started using it; but it really helped to slow the progression. When she got sick, though, everything “fell apart” very quickly. At least she didn’t suffer for long. And, I’m grateful we were able to be with her the whole time.
I’m also glad that Callie didn’t suffer for long and you were able to be with her. I’m also glad that the Rejenease helped her feel better for a while.
We switched off the Rejenease just because it didn’t work as well for Sheba, and it was easier to put everyone on the same thing – Wag works great for Sheba, but it didn’t help Cricket. I tell you what, supper time around here is challenging (and my hubby does most of that) when everyone is getting different stuff!
Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom says
Meal time around here is challenging, too, at least with Shadow. Ducky has days when she’s not as hungry as she normally is, but I don’t worry about her. Shadow is still not eating anywhere near as much as she should. I know she’s still mourning Callie, but I worry anyway. I read a Mercola HealthyPets article yesterday that said to not feed anything other than the food they’re used to; let their hunger stimulate their appetite. But even when she’s hungry she won’t eat her food. She’ll eat the small bites of cooked chicken, but then leaves the food. Oy! This dog is going to drive me to drink! I still have nearly a full bottle of Rejenease left from Callie. I might try using it on some of the kibble I’d been giving them. If that works, I’ll keep using it until I run out. I just hate the effect kibble has on her poop.
I don’t blame you for still worrying about Shadow, it’s so tough not to when they won’t eat!
We go through a similar thing with our cat Sam. We want her to eat the canned food which is better for her, but she is SO fussy about canned food, and she prefers her dry. We have one canned food she likes and I don’t love the brand, but we have to do what we have to.
I hope Shadow’s appetite comes back soon.
M. K. Clinton says
I’m glad that the heart murmur and Lyme results! I have arthritis in my knees and hips so I can sympathize with Cricket. I hope her new meds helps. ♥
Sand Spring Chesapeakes says
Oh no poor Cricket. I’m so sorry, that’s not fun at all. Sounds like you know the drill. If she has pain in between the rimadyl talk to your vet about Tramadol it’s a great pain reliever that we use in between rimadyl. The dogs do well on it and we have managed some non surgical cases with it for a long time. Good luck little Cricket
Thank you, I will make a note of that. It’s great to know there are other options out there.
2 Brown Dawgs says
Cricket you are a senior lady and sometimes you just have to take it easy! I hope the meds and supplements help her. We put our seniors on a supplement a year ago and I think it has made a huge difference for them. It was recommended by a field trialer who said that he found his dogs recovered more quickly from exercise. That was all we had to hear to try it and I have to say that even after strenuous exercise they do not seem stiff or creaky. Before we started the supplement, there were times Thunder (a large dog) would seem stiff.
Thanks so much for joining the hop.
Right now Cricket seems to be doing pretty well, but I’d love to know what the supplement you use is, in case it’s something we’d want to keep in mind in the future?
2 Brown Dawgs says
We use this: http://www.drschoicesupplements.com/product/fido-vite-flexx-1-lb/
This is the small package. Of course we buy the giant pail…lol.
Ah, poor Cricket – it sucks getting old doesn’t it?
Thank you for joining the blog hop Jan!! I’m sorry to hear of Cricket’s woes, but glad you have a plan in place to help her with it. Sampson is still struggling…whether it’s his arthritis or his strained Iliosoas muscles I’m not sure. He is scheduled for his annual next month and there will be lots of discussion.
Jen (My Brown Newfies) managed Sherman’s ACL tear without surgery and I’m confident you will be able to manage Cricket’s as well. The problem (as you stated) is they get so darned excited when they see a deer or something enticing. I keep wanting to tell Sampson, stop running like a lunatic and you’ll feel better. LOL
Keep us posted with Cricket’s progress.
I hope you can find something that works with Sampson as well. I’m constantly telling Cricket to slow down, or redirecting her to the stairs when she looks like she’s going to jump off the bed! Of course, once they are already in motion there’s not much that will slow them down, that’s for sure. 🙂
Arthritis is a bit tricky in dogs (and humans). Some exercise is important, but it should not be overdone. That is hard to achieve when you have a Beagle who wants to play like a puppy.
You’ve got that right! We’ve done pretty well to find the right balance of exercise for Sheba, but she does not have Cricket’s energy level! I do think, however, that Cricket is starting to learn when she’s had enough.
Auntie Sheryl says
So happy to hear the good news about her heart murmur! I’d love to know what the doc recommended for Cricket. We’ve been using something called Extend and I’m not sure that it’s helping much. It’s primarily glucosamine, MSM and chicken collagen. Ever heard of it?
Dasuquin is what the vet gave us. It is glucosamine, MSM too. I have never heard of Extend. But there are so many joint supplements out there. If that one isn’t working I would definitely try something different. I can recommend some others if you’re interested. You tried the Rejenease, right?
Yes, we tried that Rejenease and it worked well when I could get it into him. He’s such a picky eater though, and seemed to detect the med in his food and wouldn’t eat. I gave the bottle to you after that, remember? Lol. He eats his food ok with the Extend…I need to talk to our vet and possibly adjust the dose. He might need more. Thx for the info!
So glad to hear that she is doing well! No heart murmur and negative on Lymes! Double Yay! We wish her a safe and speedy recovery and look forward to following her journey with this!
Jenna,Mark “HuskyCrazed” Drady says
Aww poor Cricket! I am very glad to hear the good news though and that it can be at least manageable!
Don’t beat yourself up for letting her play for extra time, it happens, and i’m sure she had a blast playing!! Thinking of you Cricket. oxxoxo
ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!
Thank you, Jenna! So far, so good with Cricket. She seems to be doing quite well this week, even after having some short play times.
That is awesome about the heart murmur. Mom has that in the back of her head with Katie as well since she is a bundle of nerves at the vet, and the chest x-ray was perfect. Rimadyl did nothing for Katie, we tried about 6 things, 2 prescription, before finding one that worked well. She had pretty bad arthritis in her one leg and also a part of her spine. For us the only thing that worked is Rejenease. Within a month, she stopped limping and hasn’t limped since January. Don’t know if you have tried it or not, but it has been the best thing we have ever found and it doesn’t damage any organs like many prescription drugs do. We know how it is to have a dog with those issues, so that would be our tip to take or leave. Hopefully Cricket will be feeling better soon.
I appreciate any and all advice, and knowing what has worked for Katie. We have used Rejenease in the past, for Luke, and it seemed to work fine for him. But we never tried it with the girls. We switched him to Wag just because it was working for Sheba, and it was easier to have them all on the same thing. So Cricket was on Wag too, and obviously that didn’t work for her. We’ll see what happens for a few weeks, and I will definitely keep Rejenease in mind if we aren’t happy with her progress. Thank you! I hope Katie can get the same news about her heart murmur next time.
We tried Wag, and Rejeneril and neither did much of anything for Katie. I think some work better on certain dogs than others. For Katie Rejenease has been they key. I wanted to stay away from the “drugs” because they are hard on the liver.
I agree that some work better on different dogs, so we’ll keep trying different ones until we get something that works for Cricket!
I also agree on the drugs, and I hope to only use the Rimadyl temporarily, and then to back her off of it.
Sheba gets an occasional Rimadyl when she has a bad spell, and I don’t mind doing that so much.