I know this is late in posting but I feel your pain and frustration. There are a few things to consider when your dog hits the seniors years and presents lameness and pain. Joint health is always a key factor but when arthritis sets in or other lameness issues many time glucosamine joint care no longer helps. There are some second generation joint health products such as rejuvenate that was discovered at university of Nebraska with remarkable success. Phycox is another great joint health product that has natural anti inflammatory properties to bridge that gap of going directly to the Use of a NSAID.
There are other alternatives when you are trying to avoid a daily NSAID protocol...I would ask that you google rehab using ESWT (extra corporeal shockwave therapy). I don't want you to think of laser therapy because quite honestly to see even remote changes you would be required to do up to 10 treatments. With shockwave therapy (which, btw s not electrical it's high acoustic sound waves) 2-3 treatments and you will see results and your dog back to moving more increase in his gait and actually jumping in a high percentage of cases. This s not some fly by night process it's been used in the equine arena fr over 12 years with huge success rate and having great success in the companion animal arena.
I would suggest you look further into this protocol and the possibilityf working with a certified rehab specialist. NSAIDS such as rymadyl duramax etc are okay but the side effects can be serious and every three month blood work should be consdered when using them long term. Personally my NSAID of choice is Metacam because you can dial in to the exact proper dosing. Meloxicam is Metacam and if you found to be pricey most veterinarias will script out to you an order for Meloxicam tablets.
Hope some of this information helps...google pulsevet technologies regarding regenerative medicine such as shockwave so many great case studies
I'm so sorry for you and the other posters going through this. OUr last girl put her back out at age 12.5. It must have been brewing for some time but it was an acute episode that made her age overnight and she never completely recovered. After X-ray the diagnosis was Invertebral Disk Disease and Significant Spinal Spondylosis.
A question for you. What is causing your girl to have pains and trouble moving? You cannot treat her properly without knowing that. What is your Vet's diagnosis? WHAT is causing your girl's pain and WHERE is her pain?
In our case Cartrophen Vet (I think here in Canada that's our equivalent to Adequan) and Metacam just weren't even considered, they are not strong enough. We started out with high doses of Dexamethasone to get her over the intitial pain and inflammation and then tapered to a lower dose. Which I can look up but don't remember but was more than 1/2 tab. By age 14 I had to increase that and in the end I called her breeder who suggested something much, much stronger that we knew would "toast her kidneys" as my breeder said but by that time pain management was our primary concern.
Throughout it was imperative we keep up with exercise so muscle mass to support her back did not decline too much. We cut her exercise in half to one hour walks on flat ground, no more hills, rough ground or deep snow. Throughout we continued the glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM she'd been on since age 9. Walk became shorter and more frequent. Something that perked her up immensely was a walk in a new place or one we didn't go to frequently.
It was a bittersweet time. I took the camera and our walks were so slow I got lots of spring flower photos and others. IN 25 years I had never before walked around the park right behind our house, it was too small. But now we did and two of the cats used to come with us. The neighbours smiled to see us with the cats cavorting around too.
She could no longer handle stairs let alone get into and out of the jeep so my Vet showed me how to lift her without hurting her back. She only weighed 56 lbs. We avoided other dogs for fear a bump the wrong way would damage her back again. I was warned, another acute episode meant surgery or PTS.
Swimming and chiropractic were suggested to us but our girl hated to be handled by strangers so I didn't do it. With another dog I would consider those and also look into accupuncture.
I wish you good thoughts for your girl. Remember to celebrate the small victories with her. Smell the roses as you slow down to keep pace with her.