Arthritis treatment for much beloved elderly dog?

To get a few things out of the way first:

This is a beloved, wonderful 15 year old 75 pound lab mix. Yes, I know we’re close to the end of our time with him. Yes, I am monitoring other quality of life indicators as best I can. (“best I can” because he’s very stoic). I would just like his remaining time with us to as comfortable and pain free as possible.

He did a course of Adequan last year, along with a course of antibiotics for tick borne disease. Because he did have an acute episode of erlichiosis some years ago, he’s tested anytime he goes to the vet and if he’s not feeling 100% the course of doxycycline is an easy choice to make.

He takes two carprofen tablets a day. He had been on 1 a day, and because family with kids visited in April, I increased it to two and he suddenly was a much happier dog. (I feel guilty for not figuring this out sooner, but he is very stoic.) I am starting another course of Adequan this week.

He is overall a creaky arthritic old guy, but seems to have a particular problem in his LF shoulder. Has anyone here done joint injections in dogs? Was it helpful? Are there any other arthritis treatments you have found helpful in older large breed dogs?

He still (slowly) goes on the morning run with the young dog. He still pay wrestles/plays bitey face with the young dog. He sauntered down to the pond this hot afternoon on his own initiative to lay in the water. He still manages stairs, though he prefers not to. He still mugs for scratches and treats. But his age is clearly catching up to him, and if there’s anything I can do to make him more comfortable, I’d like to give it a try.

Sounds almost exactly like my old gal. She’s on the upside of 14.
She’s lived a very full, active life (did Schutzhund for 9 years) she does have some significant arthritis in her spine & knees.
She’s been on 100mg/day of carprofen (split into 2 doses) for the past few years. She also gets Cosequin daily.
This past winter was a bit difficult on her, she wasn’t able to be outside & get as much exercise/movement as normal. I think that had a negative impact.
Once weather got nice enough for her to go in/out as she pleases & be able to roam the yard, my vet suggested trying her on a moderate dose of Tramadol.
HOLY WOW!! Huge difference!!
While not typically a long term solution, both Vet & I agree that her current quality of life outweighs any possible side effects she may have down the road.
So she’ll stay on it & get to enjoy her days being a bit more pain free.


We had a Golden who lived to the upper end of 14, did Adequan and Tramadol with the same reasoning as @mommy_peanut 's! Tramadol has its side effects from long-term use, but at our dog’s age it seemed to be more about keeping an impressively active senior dog enjoying life! And it certainly did. I’m not familiar with any joint injections for dogs, but we were really happy with Adequan when done on a schedule and she had a particular problem in her left hip. You could always tell when she needed another injection.


Interesting info about the Tramadol! DH and I have been taking it for years (me, over a decade) because it’s the only pain relief that reliably works. I had no idea they prescribed it for dogs! Do you have to jump through the same stupid hoops you currently do to get it for humans.

And btw, @mommy_peanut and @hybriseris, yes, at this point, we are not trying to prolong his life, we are trying to make his remaining time good quality time.


I highly recommend the pure hylaluronic acid gel 100X- for Equine, Humans and Dogs.
I’ve tried most of the joint supplements for my dogs and eventually they stop eating them or they stop working. This stuff is great and no side effects. Within 1/2 hr. of taking it, I syringe in my dog’s mouth, she is much more comfortable. It’s fast acting when I take it too. 1 TB per day just when I have arthritic pain.
Works great on the horses too.

In my experience, no. We have a long and great history with our vet though which might have helped since it’s my understanding they do get a little wary because you could easily be seeking it for yourself and not your dog. If you have been using your vet for a long time, I can’t imagine it’d be too tough, especially with the age of your pup!

Gosh, bringing up a lot of memories thinking about this. The very tail end of their lives obviously has its rough points but looking back, some of my fondest memories are from the last two or three years of her life. We had a lot of peace out in the woods taking slow walks together, sort of like you describe with your lab. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I’ve never taken it myself, so can’t speak to the human aspect.
Things may have been a little different due to COVID, but after having a phone conversation with my vet, we did a drive by checkup with the vet tech (just to get the old girls stats updated) & got the meds the same day.
When I need a refill, the clinic just mails them to me.
Granted I’ve been using this vet for the better of 20 years & we have a great relationship.

I seriously had to read this twice to make sure I hadn’t written it–but my dog is a she and 12. EVERY thing else you wrote is the same–LF lameness even antibiotics but the tick born thing was never proven. I’m 99% sure she needed them but the cause is a story for another day. Anyway she had TPLO surgeries at 4 and 5 yrs old so she’s got loads of arthritis but was still hiking until last month. Suddenly she came up far more lame on the LF than usual and straight out lied to the vet about it. The vet could NOT figure out where, from neck to toes, the pain is. She’s been on Adequan and Carprofen regularly for the last few years. Gabapentin makes her too loopy and causes hearing loss in her (little known side effect) but it is an option. We just started her on Amantadine. Vet wouldn’t let me up her carprofen to 2x a day and I think she didn’t want her on Tramadol for long term so we didn’t get that. I forgot to ask her about CBD oil but everyone seems to mention it to me and I have a little I give once in awhile but didn’t notice anything drastic. So yeah, let me know what you figure out!!! I have no desire to hike with out her :o(

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Photo for attention and sympathy.