August 6th, 2018

Winter Sunlight

Adequan

I feel like a late-night infomercial with this, but if you have an older dog who's starting to have hip and joint problems, see what your vet thinks about giving them Adequan injections.

It's a glucosamine-like drug that was developed for racehorses and then approved for dogs. It's not at all cheap, is the problem. You're looking at several hundred $$$ for a few months' supply.

But damn. The effects are amazing. Our dog is 14, and when we first started giving it to him last summer, he was starting to have a lot of trouble with stairs, and fell down a lot, and we were giving him the maximum dose of Rimadyl (doggie painkillers) and he still limped and was starting to have kidney damage from the painkillers besides. I had never heard of Adequan at that point and our vet didn't bring it up on their own, but I asked them if it's possible to give human glucosamine pills to a dog, and they suggested the injections instead.

It took awhile (a month, at least) to really start noticing improvement. But after a few months he was like a whole new dog. He's still clearly old; his hearing and vision are going, and I suspect he might be having some senility issues. But we've cut him back to half the dose of Rimadyl, he hardly limps at all, he doesn't struggle with stairs and loves going for walks with me again. He's not as energetic as he used to be, but he can still zip around when he wants to.

There's an initial series of 7 shots, one every few days, and then a maintenance injection once a month. You can either take them to the vet for the injections or do it yourself at home. We had them teach us how, and it's really easy and doesn't seem to bother the dog much at all.

There are also next to no side effects. It baffles me that they don't have a human version of this, because it's incredibly effective and the worst thing it can do, at least the worst thing I know about, is that it can lower their platelet count so they bleed and bruise more easily. I haven't noticed that with Lucky at all, but apparently stopping the drug is all it takes to resolve it. The internet tells me that it's not uncommon for veterinarians to self-medicate with it if they have arthritis. It just doesn't have FDA approval, and they're also still unsure if it's safe for cats.

But in dogs, it's a freaking miracle drug. At least it's given Lucky probably a good solid extra couple of years of good, active dog life. The vet told me they had another canine patient who was brought in to be euthanized, tried them on Adequan, and they're still around a couple of years later. It not only eases their pain, it literally helps their bodies rebuild damaged cartilage in the joints. I think it's well worth checking out, if you have an old dog with back end problems and can field the cost.

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