Dogs are considered Seniors once they hit the age of seven years. My sweet boy James is now 12 1/2 years old and has been in the Senior Dog category for several years. I am ever-vigilant of all my dogs, but pay very close attention to my aging canines.
James is a working dog. As my readers know, James has enjoyed a very active Therapy Dog career. He actually has visited in more different types of facilities than had Beatrice, Phoebe, Trudi, and Julia during their therapy dog careers. James has seen the opening of doors at both healthcare and educational environments due to an ever-growing understanding of the role the human-canine bond can play on the wellbeing of those experiencing pain, loneliness, and dispair. James has visited in nursing homes, hospitals, psychiatric facilities, Alzheimer’s Units, hospice care, and played a major role in starting our unique Bright Spot Reading Buddies Programs in western Massachusetts elementary schools.
Over the past year my boy James has been slowing down. At first, I was concerned about Lyme disease, but he tested negative. Lyme disease dismissed, it appeared that his weakening rear legs were a result of arthritis. Our vet started him on a generic drug called carprofen. The results were amazing! Within a few hours, James was playing around like a puppy. He was happy and smiling. Trotting out ahead of me on our morning walks. Use of this drug requires monitoring, however, to be sure it is not having an effect on the dog’s liver or kidneys. Only a small percentage are effected, my vet assured me. After being on the drug for three weeks, James returned to the vet for repeat bloodwork. Unfortunately, it was effecting his liver, so use of carprofen ceased immediately.
The vet recommended we try James on a human drug called meloxicam. This we started after waiting a three-day period to flush the carprofen out of James’ system. He’s been on his new meds now for three days and he’s once again acting his puppy-peppy self. It’s wonderful to see him spring up from his dog bed, ready for action. He has even started playing around out back with the youngsters, Annie and Lily! More monitoring: we return to the vet in another three weeks for repeat bloodwork. My fingers are crossed.