Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'm Feeling Spine Now

Bourbon has been visiting a local canine chiropractor (Dr. Farr) on a regular basis for the past few months. I swear my dogs receive better health care that I do! Now that he is an old man (turning 8 in a few months) he needs routine adjustments on his back to keep him moving well and to manage his pain. Bourbon has a few disks that are weakened by degeneration due to age. This is a common problem in many large breed dogs, including the Doberman Pinscher.

Got Subluxation?

I noticed that Bourbon was having a problem with his 'normal' activities (normal for him anyways!):
  • he didn't want to get up on the couch or bed
  • he didn't want to go up and down the stairs
  • he wasn't getting on the counters (which is a major indictor for my counter surfing boy!)
Bourbon not getting on the counters is unheard of - he's been doing it for the last 7 years! So obviously something was bothering him, something that I couldn't readily see. So off to the chiro we go.

The bones of the spine and joints are maintained in a specific alignment and when even a subtle change in that alignment occurs, it is called a subluxation. Most subluxations affecting larger dogs are called disk protusions and that is what Bourbon has. He has one major disk protusion in the middle of his spine and then his lower back also gets very tight.

Symptoms are the last thing to show up and the first things to disappear.

Chiropractic treatment of horses and dogs dates back to the early 1900s but was formalized by Sharon Willoughby in 1989. The practice of animal chiropractic is, of course, controversial as is much of the Eastern Medicine, holistic, and homeopathic practices. But many animals show immediate improvement after being adjusted. Bourbon certainly did! He was right back to counter surfing and being a general pain-in-the-ass again after the first visit. But because his problem is chronic, he has to have regular adjustments to maintain normal function of his joints and nervous system.

Besides the regular chiro adjustments, Bourbon has also started taking Dasuquin. Dasuquin contains glucosamine and chondroitin along with their patented avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU). Taken from Dasuquin's website: A potent ingredient demonstrated to protect cartilage which leads to improved joint function, ASU complements the effects of the other two ingredients. Sounds good to me :).

Another option we are considering for Bourbon, is gabapentin. Gabapentin is used in dogs and cats to treat chronic pain, particularly of neuropathic orign, but also chronic arthritic-pain which is where Bourbon would come in. I'm still on the fence about adding a drug to Bourbon's repertoire, but I will continue researching it and watching Bourbon closely for more signs of pain.

For now the chiro adjustments and Dasuquin are keeping him in 'wild-man' shape and he keeps denying he's a day over 3!

I'm never too old to patrol for squirrels!

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