My dear sweet yellow lab is old. He is twelve and he is showing his age of late. His face gets whiter by the day, a small fatty lump that has been declared benign by the vet has gone from golf ball-size to grapefruit- size in a matter of months, and despite an ACL surgery on his rear right knee a few years back, when he stands up, it’s a good minute or so before his rear legs catch up to his front legs.
I was feeling sad and thought we were nearing the end of the road – he seemed pretty uncomfortable and I was forced to make his walks shorter and shorter (this was a dog who needed to be run 5 miles a day, now he could barely make a block), until my husband took him to his annual vet visit. Bracing myself for bad news, the report was just the opposite. Healthy for a twelve year old lab, we needed to cut the amount of food he was eating in half (he had been eating two cups in the morning and two at night for twelve years. Funny we didn’t think to adjust the amount based on his decreased activity level. The lump was growing because according to the vet, it is a fatty deposit). The vet also prescribed glucosamine chondroitin supplements for his joints.
I was training for a marathon ten years ago and seriously injured my knee due to overtraining. I went to a sports medicine doctor who was a naturopath and he prescribed glucosamine chondroitin supplements for me. He said the glucosamine would naturally help my knee to generate new cartilage and the chondroitin would reduce the levels of destructive enzymes that break down the cartilage. It worked for me. I finished the marathon. These supplements have been used to treat osteoarthritis for years.
We have been giving these supplements to our dog for a few weeks and eureka, there is a spring in his step, his rear legs are catching up with his front, and he is game for playing with my friend’s puppy rather than grumpily snapping at him and lying down for a nap. You can order them online at amazon.com, find them at your local pet store, or from your vet (who you should consult of course). We are thrilled to see some life in our old boy and happy to see that glint back in his eye.