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I'm a poor (not-vet) college student at the University of Minnesota who loves her
dog very much. I'm looking for some alternative treatments for my dog -
which means I would really appreciate your help!!

Phydeaux is a sweet but clumsy mutt - best guess German short-hair
pointer and Great Dane. He's about a year and three months and a
baffling 85 lbs. Brown spotted like a cow, lanky awkward legs and the
purtiest green eyes you'd ever see.

But he's also got a bum knee, his right hind leg - injured somehow and
now it's swollen. I think it was injured a long time ago, then it was
fine for a long time, then suddenly has been getting worse. I don't
have a true diagnosis because I'm too poor right now even to get the
x-rays to find out exactly what's wrong. The vet said she thought it
was either that his patella is moving around where it shouldn't be or
some sort of ligament issue. And because of the injury, pretty bad
arthritis (which is why it suddenly got worse when it turned cold, I

Her suggestion was surgery for either case - or (or until then)
anti-inflammatory pain-killers (Rimadyl) and glucosamine/chondroitin
supplement (Glycoflex II) for the arthritis. I want to do all I can for
my dog, but I also understand that I am extremely limited by my
situation and the cost of medical help for my Phydog.

I'm looking for cheaper alternatives for Rimadyl and Glycoflex.

I've heard that (buffered, non-enteric-coated) aspirin can be a safe
alternative for a puppy pain killer, and carries with it only about the
same risk as when people take it everyday (stomach ulcers, etc), if
taken with food and in the right dosage. I've heard 10-15 mg/lb/12hrs.

As far as finding a glucosamine supplement replacement, I'm wondering
if the (usually much cheaper) human dietary supplements to the same
effect are safe for dogs. In my small and uneducated research online,
it appears like they can be, keeping a couple of things in
1. Correct dosage. (I forget the numbers now.)
2. Products designed for dogs often have ascorbic acid or manganese to
help aid in the uptake of glucosamine; I'm not sure if human brands do
or not. How can I supplement Phydrool's diet with this also? Do I need
3. Since the FDA doesn't regulate dietary supplements, there are a lot
of crappy ones out there that do not contain the amount they say they
do or a high enough quality product. Got to be sure to find a good one
that'll do what it's supposed to.

I'm looking for other professional opinions before I return to the vet
because I felt like she wasn't offering me any options. There have to
be some. I, of course, care very much about my dog. He's important as a
pet, a friend, a family member and a counselor. I feel bad that I
cannot help him to the extent that my vet thinks I should, but I feel
truly trapped right now when it comes to money.

If you can comment on subbing the brandname doggy meds with other
people meds, offer brands of glucosamine/chondroitin supplements, tell
me where I could get really cheap vet care, other suggestions, anything
-- I would really appreciate it.

Thanks a lot.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 29th, 2005 10:34 pm (UTC)
Hm. Well, the SPCA that I work for (in Florida) offers some discounted vet care, however I can't say if that would be the same for the one in your area, if there is one. ^^;

I'm sorry if that wasn't much of a help, or if you already thought of that, but good luck!

Nov. 30th, 2005 01:04 am (UTC)
well I give my dog vitamin c with glucosamine (human grade) to my beagle who has moderate arthtritus.. it seems to be working well (his limping has ceased and he's jumping on the sofa again) i also read some horror stories about Rimadyl being very dangerous for dogs. I beleive Petco offers pet insurance which is fairly cheap considering what the pamphlet said is covered, try lookign into that. My one friend who was in a similiar predictament as you opened up a credit card just for her dog and charged everything to that credt card... howver you will have those depths hanging over your head and I am not sure how she ended up payign off the card.

by the way, i am not vet trained and will not be starting vet school until next year, I am jsut throwing soem ideas out there to you
Nov. 30th, 2005 01:18 pm (UTC)
Rimadyl has some severe side effects when given with aspirin, and there are the very rare idiosyncratic bad responses to it. I only saw one case of bad reactions to Rimadyl in two years with my 3 vets, and it was obvious and fixable. Do not under any circumstances give aspirin to your dog within 5 days of giving Rimadyl. That can kill your dog. Otherwise, Rimadyl is very well tolerated by that vast majority of dogs.

Pet insurance may not cover her drug charges because it's a preexisting condition. She should look into that.

Rimadyl is costly, but it's the best drug for the job currently. She can give aspirin (not within at least 5 days of Rimadyl!!!!) instead, but Rimadyl is the best and cheapest nonsteroidal antiinflammatory for dogs.
As I recall, there are a few generic brands of glucosamine, but be aware that not all glucosamine is created equal. Some individuals (human and canine alike) respond badly to certain brands. If you want to try generics, keep an eye on the dog just in case you picked a brand that didn't work for your dog. You probably know within the first few weeks.
Nov. 30th, 2005 01:07 am (UTC)

Petco's insurance, hope this helps you and your loved one!
Nov. 30th, 2005 03:30 am (UTC)
I buy my human nutracuticals from these folks: http://www.nutritionexpress.com/

I'm not a vet, nor do I play one on TV but I used to give both my greyhound and my pit salmon oil and human glucosamine hcl (not the cheeper stuff, I got the house brand from the folks above or ordered 5lbs at a time intended for supplemntation of horses) and I kept em on the veeerrrrry lean side. The vet I shadow currently tells people that if strangers stop you when you're walking your dog down the st and tell you that you're starving it... then your dog is probably at a healthy weight.

Again, not a vet, nor even close, but the options above are ones I've used in the past when funds were/are tight.
Nov. 30th, 2005 11:53 pm (UTC)
I am also not a vet, but I'm a third year vet student, and I can at least give you a little bit of input.

Ascriptin can be safely used in dogs, but you need to be careful of the dosage. In addition, there really are no anti-inflammatories that are completely safe when they are used chronically, including some of the newer drugs like deracoxib (Deramax). All of these medications have been shown over time to carry side effects, including renal damage and gastric perforation. My recommendation would be to use it sparingly -- only when he seems to be in pain, and preferably not daily.

Regarding the glucosamine: it can be used in animals, but you're right -- the potency is not guaranteed, and you want to make sure you're getting your money's worth. I will have to look back in my notes when I get home, but I believe one of my lecturers actually recommended a drug store brand that had proven potency, so I'll see if I can find it and get back to you.
Dec. 1st, 2005 02:43 am (UTC)
All right, it doesn't look like I'm going to be much help because I cannot find the notes (it would help if I could remember which lecturer it was since we've had hundreds). The best thing I can recommend is to do some very thorough research. Perhaps even ask a pharmacist if he/she has any recommendations for OTC glucosamine. Finding a good one is most of the battle. Once you have done that, then work on trying to figure out the dosing. It's better to use a vet's help with that than anything else, but some of us on here can probably help you figure it out.
Dec. 1st, 2005 03:34 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for your time and help.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )