We need to clarify if Jayjay's "back end is gone" because she's osteoarthritic and painful or, instead, she suffers from a myelopathy - spinal cord disorder - which has left her paretic (weakened) or paralyzed - such as degenerative disk disease (a "slipped disk"), fibrocartilaginous embolism (an interruption in the blood supply to her spinal cord), or neoplasia (cancer) in or around her spinal cord. Here's how we address geriatric osteoarthritis:
We use a multimodal approach to osteoarthritis in our dogs - dietary management, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory pain relief, neutraceuticals, life-style changes and stem cell therapy. When used concomitantly these approaches should synergize and provide the best control of symptoms. For example, Jayjay might show considerable improvement if you add fish oil to her diet. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are anti-inflammatory. I use the cost-effective generic human fish oils and dose them at 40 mg/kg daily of the EPA in the fish oil. You'll find the amount of EPA on the label of the fish oil product.
Avoid flax oil because it is poorly bioavailable to dogs. They can't metabolize it properly.
If you prefer, there are diets that are extremely high in omega-3 fatty acids. Hill's Prescription Diet j/d is one such diet.
Many vets feel that injections of Adequan (polysulfated glycosaminoglycan) work better than oral neutraceuticals such as glucosamine/chondroiton sulfate or the over the counter Cosequin or prescription Dasequin (please see here: http://www.amazon.com/Nutramax-Cosequin-PLUS-Chewable-Tablets/dp/B003ULL1NQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1432474254&sr=1-1&keywords=cosequin). Adequan is injected into Jayjay weekly for a number of weeks at his vet's discretion. You can read more about Adequan here: http://www.adequancanine.us/
Regenerative stem cell therapy has come into its own and is now available for addressing osteoarthritis in dogs . Please see Vet-Stem's website here for more information:***@******.*** The regenerative stem cells are created from Jayjay's fat cells and are capable of differentiating into a variety of tissue types including tendon, ligament, bone, cartilage, and muscle and have been proven to reduce pain and inflammation. I understand, however, that such an invasive procedure may not be appropriate at her age.
We have to suspect that just as in people, geriatric osteoarthritis in dogs is painful. If a prescription nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) such as carprofen or meloxicam isn't sufficient for controlling pain, please consider adding a well-tolerated narcotic such as tramadol to these therapies mentioned above. All of these drugs are available from her vet. Aspirin dosed at 10 mg/lb with food every 12 hours can be helpful in a pinch.
Weight reduction is essential. The less weight her joints need to carry, the better.
If her odor isn't arising from her mouth - for example, dental disease can cause odiferous saliva which then gets spread on her fur when she licks herself - or from her ears or anal glands, you're likely to be smelling a seborrheic odor often akin to that of smelly gym socks. Here's a primer on how seborrhea might be addressed in dogs:
Clinical signs of seborrhea - a skin disorder of keratinization and maturation - may include a dull, dry, lusterless hair coat, excessive scaling (dandruff), follicular casts, scaly and crusty seborrheic patches and plaques, and greasy, malodorous skin. Most of the body is involved to some degree, with interdigital areas, perineum, face, axillae, ventral neck, abdomen, and skin folds usually most severely affected. Pruritis (itchiness) is mild to intense, and ceruminous otitis externa (oily external ear canal inflammation) is common. Secondary skin and ear infections with bacteria and Malassezia (yeast) are often present.
1) Ensure good nutrition. A commercially balanced dog food that meets AAFCO requirements should be fed. You should find the AAFCO statement on the food label.
2) Any secondary bacterial and Malassezia skin and ear infection should be treated with appropriate topical and systemic therapies. Periodic treatments or long-term, low-dose maintenance therapy may be needed because these dogs are susceptible to recurring infection.
3) For symptomatic control of ceruminous otitis, long-term maintenance ear care is necessary. Ear treatments with a multimodal therapy (consult with Jayjay's vet) or ear cleaner should be administered to both ears every 1-7 days to control cerumen (wax) accumulation.
4) For symptomatic control of seborrhea, antiseborrheic shampoos and emollients may be used every 2-7 days until the skin condition is improved (~2-3 weeks), then, bathing frequency should be decreased to every 1-2 weeks or as needed for maintenance. Antiseborrheic shampoos contain some combination of sulfur, salicyclic acid, tar, benzoyl peroxide, and phytosphingosine and can be found over the counter in pet or agricultural merchant stores, at Jayjay's vet hospital, or online.
5) Daily oral fatty acid supplementation may be helpful as an adjunct therapy (180mg EPA/10lbs). EPA is thought to be the most antiinflammatory of the essential omega-3 fatty acids. It's plentiful in fish oil supplements.
6) Vitamin A 8000-10,000 IU per 20lbs orally administered with a fatty meal every 24 hours. Improvement should be seen within 4-6 weeks.
7) For dogs with severe, greasy, malodorous, pruritic seborrhea, treatment with systemic corticosteroids may be helpful. Acitretin (a retinoid) may be helpful in some dogs. Calcitriol (vitamin D) may be helpful in some cases.
The prognosis is variable, depending on the severity of the seborrhea. This is an incurable condition that requires lifelong therapy for control. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.