Author Topic: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?  (Read 4247 times)

Miss Piggy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1334
Question for any veterinarians out there or mustachians who have tried it--is laser therapy a legitimate treatment for an arthritic dog?

My dog, let's call him Frank, is 9 years old and weighs 13 pounds.

He had a brief (2 days?) episode of partial paralysis of his back legs about a year ago, but the day we took him to the specialist (about day 2), he no longer showed symptoms, so the specialist didn't want to do extensive testing. Now, his tail is generally down (it used to be up all the time), he doesn't jump up on his favorite chair anymore, and he doesn't walk up stairs. He still gets excited like a puppy when it's time for a walk or for food.

Frank's been on Rimadyl for about 4 months, and I can't tell whether it's making a difference.

Frank is getting his teeth cleaned in a couple of weeks, and I asked about getting an x-ray of his back/hips while he's sedated to see if we can find out what the issue is. Maybe it's arthritis, maybe it's something else. Veterinarian didn't strongly encourage the x-ray, but said it would be useful IF we decide to do laser therapy or acupuncture. The x-ray will be $250ish (I thought that was a typo, but it's not)...laser therapy would be significantly more than that for several treatments.

I've already ruled out acupuncture...just not a believer. But I'm wondering about the legitimacy of laser therapy. Is it worth considering?

I love this dog, and we're FI, so spending some money to lessen or eliminate pain for him is not out of the question. That said, I don't want to throw away money on something that has very little chance of making a difference.

Any insights you can share?

PBandJelli

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 39
I'm not a vet, but I have had a similar experience.  Our old (ancient!) dalmatian had really bad arthritis.  Around year 16, we decided to start laser therapy.  He'd given us so many good years, that we were ready to try anything to make him feel comfortable - knowing that at 16 he wouldn't survive much longer.  Well, just a week or two after starting treatments, he seemed to be in far less discomfort - able to more easily sit and lay down.  (Simultaneously, we started giving him some massages -- but we're not trained.)  He lived about two years longer, and got laser therapy for a few weeks every quarter.  It really seemed to help him. 

My advice: try it and see what happens.  If you don't notice a difference after a 2-3 weeks, just reevaluate.

startingsmall

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 643
Vet here.

I have no personal experience with lasers, having never worked in a clinic that had one, but I've heard a lot of great stories... both from clients who've come from vets that had laser therapy and from vets who've had great success using lasers on their patients (and, in many cases, on themselves). While I don't perform acupuncture myself, I currently work with a doctor who does and I've also seen some amazing results in his patients, especially those with disk disease.

I don't understand the magic behind either and they may both just be snake oil, but they seem to be effective somehow.

Miss Piggy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1334
Thank you for the replies so far. They're very helpful!

katscratch

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1153
  • Location: Minnesota
I've heard good things about laser for dogs but haven't seen it firsthand, and have seen acupuncture success in dogs and horses. There's no placebo effect in dogs ;)

I had laser therapy myself after an ulnar nerve injury some years ago. I have no idea if it helped significantly compared to not having the treatment, but I do remember having more days in a row without pain once I started the therapy.

That X-ray price sounds normal to me, btw.

Miss Piggy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1334
Thanks for the info, katscratch.

I guess I was thinking the x-ray would be less expensive simply because he'll already be sedated because of the teeth cleaning. No such luck.

IrishMustacian

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 27
I've heard good things about laser for dogs but haven't seen it firsthand, and have seen acupuncture success in dogs and horses. There's no placebo effect in dogs ;)

I hope I don't come across as confrontational by saying this, but I don't really buy this kind of reasoning. I wonder if you agree with the following: although the dogs themselves are unlikely to experience placebo (i.e. feel better because they expect a treatment to work) a human who is trying to ascertain the effectiveness of treatment on a dog can have their judgement swayed by their knowledge that the treatment was performed. Do you agree?

katscratch

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1153
  • Location: Minnesota
I can definitely see that being a factor in owner opinion of a particular therapy. Which of course is not the same as actual response to therapy. Dogs also are adept at responding to our behavior and demeanor; I could see that variable making a potential difference too.

I worked in a small animal clinic before jumping to the human side of medicine, and saw owner behavior/expectation affecting dog behavior all the time. Anxious owner, anxious pet, take the pet to a different room and *poof* calm as can be. That type of thing. My dog was trained to look to me for cues in new situations, so it would be very easy to convince him via my body language that he felt like running and playing even if his hips/back were still sore. But it would not at all make him jump up from bed if he were sore - that first moment to rise is usually very telling.

I feel like a treatment bias is much more common in human medicine than veterinary, actually. At least in the US with our current model of medicine and the way physical exams are typically performed (not as thorough as a veterinarian's typical exam). Even if physicians have learned not to ask leading questions, family members with the patient, and patients themselves do it all the time.

The animals I can think of that were treated with laser and acupuncture (elsewhere, we didn't offer either service) demonstrated noticeably better/less painful mobility on clinical exam, in addition to the owners/handlers reporting a higher activity level. So there was evidence of the efficacy aside from owner reporting alone, at least for arthritis.

TheWifeHalf

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 496
I've just always given my old dogs glucosamine, I've never heard of 'laser therapy' what does it do to the dog's body?

CalBal

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
  • Location: US
  • Dont Panic
    • Journal
Laser therapy apparently stimulates blood flow to the area of treatment, which can reduce inflammation. Also decrease nerve cell sensitivity in some way. I am not a vet (and I don't know all the details) but I just started laser therapy with my 15-yo rescue dog. (She also takes a glucosamine supplement and 2 anti inflammatory medications). She has severe arthritis partially from trauma suffered in her youth (abuse), which recently worsened, and the type in her elbow is apparently is better treated with laser therapy than with acupuncture. (We may also try acupuncture later as she also has some partially fused disks in her spine that are more effectively treated with acupuncture than laser therapy. Honestly, I am considering any treatments that might work, I'd rather try them and see than continue to increase medications (which will ultimately decrease her lifespan due to stress on her liver or just acclimating to ever increasing doses).We'll see in a few weeks if it is effective or not.

marcela

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 686
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2018, 07:50:08 AM »
A couple questions: What type of dog is Frank? Long hair or short? Dark or light? All of this can have an impact of how effective laser therapy can be.

spokey doke

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 513
  • Escaped from the ivory tower basement
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2018, 08:23:56 AM »
I'm a general skeptic about such things, but we have put our 12yr old through an initial set of laser treatments and it made a noticeable difference in his mobility and attitude.  This is based on observations that are certainly prone to bias, but I *think* I was mostly biased against seeing it work.  But there were a few pretty objective behavioral differences (his navigating stairs probably being the one I have the most confidence in).  So we are going to continue with treatments, but I wouldn't say it is any sort must do for others.

And while I'm not a huge fan of Science Diet...the J/D Formula has also made a big difference.

Together, he seems at least at least a few years younger than without.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 08:29:15 AM by spokey doke »

Miss Piggy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1334
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2018, 08:57:36 AM »
A couple questions: What type of dog is Frank? Long hair or short? Dark or light? All of this can have an impact of how effective laser therapy can be.
He's a little dog with short black hair.

marcela

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 686
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2018, 09:01:09 AM »
A couple questions: What type of dog is Frank? Long hair or short? Dark or light? All of this can have an impact of how effective laser therapy can be.
He's a little dog with short black hair.

Dark hair makes it harder for the laser to penetrate and so it will be less effective. You might want to consider shaving the area before treatment if you go that route.

tweezers

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 189
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2018, 09:58:13 AM »
I can't speak to laser therapy, but my dog had acupuncture after my vet indicated that her back/hip issues were not skeletal and she couldn't do much more (I think my dog injured herself having to deer-hop through very deep snow; she was about 3 years).  I was skeptical, but the acupuncture worked wonders and she was immediately able to go down stairs again and get up without apparently pain.  We only went a few times, and then a couple times several months later when she seemed sore.

My other dog had arthritis when she was older (13 years), and she was on Adequan.  That stuff was amazing, and made a huge difference almost immediately (our dog was super active).  Its injected, and pricey if you have the vet do it (because of the cost of the vet/tech visit), but the price drops considerably if you feel comfortable injecting them at home (I was nervous at first, but its sub-cutaneous and pretty easy; my vet showed me the first time).  She was on that until she died (at nearly 16), and it made all the difference for her in her last years.

Good luck.

Miss Piggy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1334
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2018, 10:17:27 AM »
@tweezers, thanks for the info. Our veterinarian did mention the possibility of Adequan; we are comfortable injecting that ourselves if we go that route.  Interesting about the acupuncture experience as well.

I have so appreciated all of the replies to this thread! I am learning a lot!

FreshPrincess

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 73
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2018, 10:54:03 AM »
My best buddy Rupert had laser therapy on his leg after a jumping accident.  Injury occurred in March and in August he was still limping every time he stood up even after pain killers and rounds of prednisone. My vet talked me through the laser therapy and said that if used in combination with pain medication and rest, it is very effective.

Long story short - worked great for us.  I noticed Rupert limping less after the first session.  By the 3rd session, he was good to go.  Now he only gets a little hobbly if he's overexerted himself and needs to stop and stretch it out a bit - but he is 9.  So, don't we all? :)

Edited to say that Rupert is fully insured and it has been well worth the money.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2018, 10:59:43 AM by M5C2K7S2013 »

Trede

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 114
  • Age: 50
  • Location: IL
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2018, 11:17:17 AM »
Just to mention another albeit more expensive option, if you haven't heard of stem cell therapy for pets, it's out there and it works.  My golden retriever was diagnosed with hip dysplasia around 6 years old.  We did the Adaquan treatments for a few years, then happened to move to a new town with an animal hospital just getting into the new therapy.  Our dog was the second dog they'd ever done the procedure on (the first was one of the vet's own dogs).  In it, the dog is put under, and its own fat cells are harvested, usually from the abdomenal area or shoulder.  Fat cells apparently contain a lot of dormant stem cells.  The extracted cells are activated and then injected into the dog's treatment area.

I'm not saying it works for all dogs (I'm not a vet), but it sure did wonders for our golden.  About 60 days after having it done, he could run again.  It was transformational.  It worked so well that we didn't need any other treatments (pills, Adequan injections or anything) for two years.  After two years we started seeing a decline, and it was a no-brainer to have the procedure done again.  Honestly, it was paying for itself with the avoided meds.  (By the way, we did also try the laser therapy later in his life but thought the effects were marginal, but even our vet said it works for some dogs and not others.)

I only mention the stem cell therapy because at 9 years and 13 pounds, the OP's dog seems pretty young and might benefit.  Our hip dysplasia/arthritic golden lasted over 14 years, and it wasn't his hips that ultimately did him in, it was the Big C.

Mtngrl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 317
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2018, 12:28:30 PM »
I have no experience with laser therapy, but my old, arthritic dog responded very well to acupuncture. She went from walking with a limp to no limp, able to jump up on the sofa again, able to go for longer walks. She was a very nervous dog who  did not like going to the vet, but who would visibly relax and even fall asleep during the acupuncture treatments.

TheWifeHalf

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 496
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #19 on: February 22, 2018, 07:02:38 PM »
Laser therapy apparently stimulates blood flow to the area of treatment, which can reduce inflammation. Also decrease nerve cell sensitivity in some way. I am not a vet (and I don't know all the details) but I just started laser therapy with my 15-yo rescue dog. (She also takes a glucosamine supplement and 2 anti inflammatory medications). She has severe arthritis partially from trauma suffered in her youth (abuse), which recently worsened, and the type in her elbow is apparently is better treated with laser therapy than with acupuncture. (We may also try acupuncture later as she also has some partially fused disks in her spine that are more effectively treated with acupuncture than laser therapy. Honestly, I am considering any treatments that might work, I'd rather try them and see than continue to increase medications (which will ultimately decrease her lifespan due to stress on her liver or just acclimating to ever increasing doses).We'll see in a few weeks if it is effective or not.

thanks for the response. This thread is so interesting. Do they do this for humans too?

anemisar

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2018, 09:29:36 AM »
Another vet here.

So you know where I am coming from:
I grew up with parents who are suspicious of science, and way too trusting of homeopathic or other similar types of medicine.  As a result, I went the other way.  It usually takes a lot of evidence for me to trust treatments such as acupuncture, laser treatment, etc.

I am also a very frugal person and HATE seeing people spend money on veterinary treatments that may not give them a lot of value.

That being said:
1) $250 is a very reasonable price for hip/spine radiographs (xrays) in my book :)  However, radiographs are not the most sensitive form of imaging when it comes to detecting neurologic/spinal disease, which you may be dealing with, so the radiograph may not give you useful information. 

2) I would definitely try acupuncture.  I have been shocked by the improvement i have seen in dogs with a variety of issues, especially when neurologic disease is suspected.  One session should not break the bank, and if you see no benefit, no harm done.  The veterinary medical literature on acupuncture is catching up with many vets' positive experiences now, even though it is true we don't know 100% how it works.  (But we don't know how many things work that we use all the time).

3) Laser treatment- some people have really seen improvement.  I have not in my personal experience (and I tried it on my own arthritic dog) nor am I aware of scientific studies that show it is effective.  But that might change in the future, and I always am willing to change my mind in the face of new evidence.

Also, I am sure the vet you are currently working with is fabulous, but in case you should ever be in need of a second opinion, keep in mind that there are sports medicine/rehab veterinarians who specialize in precisely these issues.  I worked closely with one for my dog, and he spent almost all his time learning about the difference between laser/acupuncture/ physical therapy in treating various types of soft tissue, neuro and orthopedic disease.  These people will be the most up to date regarding which treatments are worth your money and time.

Find one here: http://vsmr.org/diplomates.lasso or ask your vet to recommend one.



« Last Edit: February 24, 2018, 10:01:30 AM by anemisar »

anemisar

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2018, 09:41:21 AM »
One more comment, just to make sure you are aware:

There are two very important free things you should do for any older dog (because they all have some OA to some degree):

1) Consistent, daily walks at a level that does not make the dog lame or limp.  Adding in hill walking if possible.  Weekend warrior routines are not good for old joints.
2) Dogs with joint disease should be thin!!  Body condition score of 4-5/9 is ideal.
https://drsophiayin.com/blog/entry/is-your-dog-fit-or-fat-learn-how-to-body-condition-score-him/

People are always telling me my dog is too thin, but she is at a perfect body condition considering her joint disease.

cl_noll

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 75
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Madtown, WI
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2018, 11:28:32 AM »
Has antibiotic therapy been tried at all?  Sometimes persistent, low-level infections can affect the joints and CNS. Vet-grade doxycycline isn't too expensive and can be ordered w/o prescription if it's labeled for bird or fish use, and the antibiotic + anti-inflammatory properties can do wonders.

TheWifeHalf

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 496
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2018, 11:40:58 AM »
The vet I go to has 'Hydrotherapy'  and I see it can be used with dogs that are arthritic.
I have basenjis and that would be their hell, being put in water up to their shoulders. I have one that won't pee for 36 hrs if its raining!

I have worked really hard so the going to the vet is something they consider fun, hydrotherapy would do the opposite.

Anyways, I didn't ask about how successful it is, but it's an idea.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5862
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2018, 12:14:13 PM »
We had laser therapy done on our 3 old Maltese. It worked on the one that had an injury but not for the ones with chronic conditions.  We have an old big dog that we are going to try acupuncture because of my own great results and some friends had it done on their big dogs with problems. I think it is definitely worth a try. We bought a package of 6 treatments for each dog and then quit for the 2 it did not work. For the one that it did we did a few more. 

BTDretire

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2730
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2018, 10:37:26 AM »
I'm a real skeptic on how a laser can penetrate through the skin to be any help in a joint.
 I googled 'laser therapy for arthritis'. The first article I found was in 2000.
"CONCLUSION:
LLLT, (Low Level Laser Therapy) should be considered for short term relief of pain and morning stiffness in RA, particularly since it has few side effects. For OA, the results are conflicting in different studies and may depend on the method of application and other features of the LLLT... more study needed.

 I found another article written in 2009.
"Our measurement results provide evidence that treatment with the active LLLT probe resulted in significant improvement for all evaluated parameters. In the placebo LLLT group, we found nonsignificant changes in joint flexion and pain. In the active LLLT group, we found significant improvement with regard to joint flexion, pain, and pressure sensitivity in the active group in comparison with the placebo group at the times examined. The positive effects obtained from active LLLT still persisted 2 mo after treatment."
In summary, low-level laser represents an effective treatment for short-term improvement in patients suffering from painful KOA. {Knee Osteo-Arthritis)

 I'm not sure that heating and massage wouldn't do the same, researchers need to use that as the control.
 But that's another experiment.

Sources;
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10955339

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957068/
 

meghan88

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 717
  • Location: Montreal
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #26 on: February 25, 2018, 11:06:22 AM »
The wonderful thing about trying any type of procedure on animals is that they can never be accused of responding to the placebo effect.  It either worked for them or it didn't.

BTDretire

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2730
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #27 on: February 25, 2018, 12:14:06 PM »
The wonderful thing about trying any type of procedure on animals is that they can never be accused of responding to the placebo effect.  It either worked for them or it didn't.
But the Placebo effect is in full force when you start asking the bill payer if it helped their dog.
 That said, after reading the papers, I think there is an effect, but it also depends on what the joint problem is.

Miss Piggy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1334
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2018, 06:50:03 PM »
Y'all are awesome! Thank you so much for all of these helpful replies.

The x-ray is scheduled for this Friday, so hopefully we'll have a clearer picture of what our approach should be. I'll keep you posted!

@anemisar - this dog is definitely in good shape. I checked the "fit or fat" link you shared. He's quite fit and trim, although his breed is not known to be such (he's an anomaly for sure). He gets a good 30 minute walk every day (with some hills); I think that's pretty good for a dog with 6-inch legs. I'm not saying we cover a ton of distance (he can be a bit of a lollygagger), but it's a good walk for him. :)

JoJo

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1404
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2018, 05:51:38 PM »


My dog, let's call him Frank, is 9 years old and weighs 13 pounds.


No advice, but I'm glad you didn't give us your dog's real name - might have outted him!   

Miss Piggy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1334
Re: Laser therapy for arthritic dog - legit treatment or expensive "snake oil"?
« Reply #30 on: February 27, 2018, 07:45:17 PM »


My dog, let's call him Frank, is 9 years old and weighs 13 pounds.


No advice, but I'm glad you didn't give us your dog's real name - might have outted him!

He's very private and he hates it when the paparazzi follow him on his walks. Being outed here as an FI canine would have been too much for him.

anemisar

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5

@anemisar - this dog is definitely in good shape. I checked the "fit or fat" link you shared. He's quite fit and trim, although his breed is not known to be such (he's an anomaly for sure). He gets a good 30 minute walk every day (with some hills); I think that's pretty good for a dog with 6-inch legs. I'm not saying we cover a ton of distance (he can be a bit of a lollygagger), but it's a good walk for him. :)

Sounds great!!!!

Miss Piggy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1334
Here's the update on Frank: He has lumbosacral disease.  :(

We're trying Gabapentin along with the Rimadyl he's been on for a few months now. Also adding fish oil (which I don't quite understand, but I'll trust the doc on this). If we don't see significant improvement in a month or so, the veterinarian will talk to us more in-depth about laser therapy.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5862
I am sorry to hear that. The laser therapy has only worked on my dogs that had injuries and not the ones with an orthopedic problem.  3 of my dogs have been on the pain regiment you mentioned.

iris lily

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3393
I am sorry to hear that. The laser therapy has only worked on my dogs that had injuries and not the ones with an orthopedic problem.  3 of my dogs have been on the pain regiment you mentioned.
thanks for the update.

CalBal

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
  • Location: US
  • Dont Panic
    • Journal
Aw,poor Frank. :(

Like Cassie experienced, the laser therapy ended up not working very well for my senior dog, although it might have helped initially with some swelling. She has osteoarthritis changes in some of her joints, including the one being targeted, and it seems that although when I first noticed symptoms (and brought her in) she did have some swelling that aggravated the elbow (which the therapy maybe helped with?) it is likely that more of the changes I have seen are a result of reduced flexibility in that joint rather than pain. Although she is also on 2 anti inflammatories and a chondroitis/glucosamine supplement to keep her comfortable in general (she has other issues than just the elbow), and I was also advised that I can add fish oil on top of that. She is on gabapentin too, as well as deramaxx. She was on carprofin (generic rimadyl) initially but after 3-4 months it started affecting her liver very extremely (she went from being normal happy dog to not wanting to go on walks, her very favorite thing, and it happened very fast (like fine one day and miserable the next)). So keep an eye out for sudden changes on rimadyl, apparently it can affect some dogs this way.

We also tried Assisi loop, which is electromagnetic (I think ??) therapy that they apparently also use on humans (!!) in larger form! It also didn't really seem to have an effect, which also pointed to structural changes rather than pain in her case. But it might be an option for you. Apparently a lot of rehab places are now using this therapy (along or in conjunction with others).

MiserlyMiser

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 94
I'm sorry to hear about the diagnosis.  Is treatment for lumbosacral disease similar to treatment for arthritis?   I don't know if it will help, but my elderly little dog (~16ish years, about 12 pounds with black fur (now grey!)) has arthritis.  I had had him on glucosamine for years, and when his arthritis started to get really bad, the vet started him on Rimadyl and Gabapentin. 

I stopped the Gabapentin because it made him loopy and shaky on his feet.  The Rimadyl seems to make a difference, so he's still on that.  But what's made the hugest difference is swapping out the glucosamine for dasuquin on the suggestion of a friend (my vet agreed it was a good idea, but was not the one to suggest it, for some reason?).  He's doing so much better--it's taken years off of him, he can now walk for miles again, the way he used to when he was only a middle-aged little dog. 
Good luck!

CalBal

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1197
  • Location: US
  • Dont Panic
    • Journal
Oh! I have also been recommended Adequan (injection) as a possibility as well. Apparently it helps a lot of animals (it's used in dogs, cats, and horses as far as I know). (It's not the same as dasuquin, but the similarity of the name made me think of this! I might be trying it if my own girl experiences changes in the future. It was suggested to me by the pet rehab place, not my regular vet.)

@MiserlyMiser Isn't it funny how different animals respond differently to the same medications! My girl tolerates Gabapentin just fine but had a bad reaction to Rimadyl!

Miss Piggy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1334
Thanks for the additional insights, experiences, and questions.

Dog has lumbosacral disease plus arthritis in his hips, and doctor said the treatment would be the same for both.

She also brought up Adequan and Dasuquin as possibilities down the road if the Gabapentin/Rimadyl combo doesn't make a big enough difference.

It's really helpful to hear about other people's dogs and how they've approached problems like this. Thank you.