Aging Dog Help

Deborah S
by Deborah S
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QuestionMy senior chihuahua is starting to show signs of his old age. If he doesn't stretch when he gets up, his hind legs spasm and kick out. Once he stretches, it stops. I want to help him stay healthy and I'm at a loss as to what to do. I have discussed options with my vet, but we don't agree. He looks more towards medication, and I prefer something more natural and possibly supplements. I read that the supplements don't really do anything though. Can anyone recommend something that may help? Also, he has no teeth so it would have to be a liquid or small pill. (Anna James - New Jersey)


Many pet owners are seeking natural or alternative therapies and many of these can help ill or aging pets. Older dogs often suffer from arthritis, intervertebral disc disease and other problems with mobility. It is important, regardless of what the treatment modality is, to have a diagnosis. This starts with a thorough physical examination by the veterinarian and even x-rays to pin-point problems along the spine or in the legs.  A referral to a holistic veterinarian or a veterinarian who practices Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) may be what you are looking for.  TCVM veterinarians often use a combination of therapies to help pets, including acupuncture, physical therapy techniques, chiropractic and herbal medications. Many herbal and homeopathic medications are made into liquid preparations. Some holistic vets may also use conventional or Western treatments if they are necessary for a particular patient. Supplements can certainly help but your veterinarian will be able to guide you to which ones are most likely to be beneficial for your particular pet.

A good resource for you if you are in North America is the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. There is a good feature on their website which includes a search engine for vets inyour area. Many of these veterinarians will see your pet without a referral from your regular veterinarian.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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