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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 17944
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My 11 year old black Labrador has quite severe arthritis and

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My 11 year old black Labrador has quite severe arthritis and is on 6 Tramadol, 2 Seaquin and Loxicom daily as well as three-four monthly Cartaphen injections. His pain seems to be getting worse now. Recently he has started losing more hair (although I keep the heating on high), his back legs are twitching and he has started to gnaw at them (just fleas? I've given him Advocate today) but he vomited quite badly about 6pm tonight and I had real difficulty in getting him up off the kitchen floor to bed. (Does he just like the cool kitchen floor?). Normally he will come into the family room with us at night where we watch TV but he just stayed in the kitchen tonight as if it was too much effort to move. He is my son's dog and he has had him since he was 6 (my son's age) so I'm worried. Shall I just wait to see how he is tomorrow? He has gone to his bed now. Thank you. Karen.
, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am sorry to her that Tommy is suffering so from severe arthritic pain.
It sounds as if you have done your best to try and get him comfortable, but it sounds to me like what you are doing now is no longer controlling his discomfort.
I suspect that his reluctance to move from the kitchen was because he was feeling too poorly to move. Dogs that are in pain tend to change their behavior. Those that are normally sociable will often hide and those that are normally aloof may become very needy. I saw this change personally with my old German Shepherd.
His hair loss, twitching of his rear legs and gnawing at them are all likely inter-related and probably signify nerve pain and his attempt to soothe his sore legs. Dogs with arthritis can have loss of normal nerve conduction, pressure on the spinal root nerves, and a pins and needles sort of sensation. Dogs will often lick at a painful area to try and soothe themselves.
I think he probably needs more or different medication to try and control his pain.
You can add Amantidine or Gabapentin to what you are already giving him.
Cold laser therapy, or acupuncture may also bring him some relief.
His nausea and vomiting could be related to ingesting lots of hair with his excess licking. It can also be due to irritant effects on his gastrointestinal system, or organ stress and early organ failure, from all of the pain medication he is on.
I recommend that he see his veterinarian, have some screening blood tests checked to make sure all is well internally, and if so then discuss possibly adding more pain control medication.
Unfortunately in most dogs with arthritis we get to a point where either their organ systems fail or we simply cannot control their pain no matter what medications we add. I hope that is not the case fellow. Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Dear Dr Kara,

Thank you so much very comrehensive and informative answer. I'll take him to my vet first thing tomorrow. We love Tommy so much as he really is a very special dog and we want to do the best .

Thank you too compassion.

Best wishes,


Karen, he sounds like a very well loved fellow and I am pleased to hear he will see his veterinarian to see if we cannot get him more comfortable.
I can completely understand your family situation. My old Shepherd had severe hip dysplasia but her love kids kept her going strong until 15, then the drugs we tried to use to keep her comfortable led to kidney failure. It was heartbreaking of us to see her in pain, and we all knew that when she chose to sleep in another room away from the family that she was trying to tell us something. I hope that you can find a way to give Tommy more comfortable time with you. My heart aches of you if you cannot. Please let me know how things go , and give that gentle boy a nice ear rub .
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