Running an old Lab
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Thread: Running an old Lab

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    DefaultRunning an old Lab

    Hi, New to the forum. life-long lab owner. We have three labs now. Two younger ones and a yellow that is 10-11 years old.

    She is in great shape and has never been over weight. We run our dogs every day for 15-20 minuts with tennis balls and a Chuck-it. Best tool I ever bought.

    The older dog, Sandy, is an avid retreiver.. she will retrieve non-stop until she drops if we let her. She looks forward to the run every day as do our other dogs.

    In the past 2-3 months Sandy has gotten progressively slower and she is to the point now that she appears to be in pain around the house... especially a half hour or so after her run. She doesn't cry or whine, but is very slow to get up and down and seems to really hurt. That's her below with Bob about 2 years ago.

    She has been in perfect health for her entire life, but we are wondering if we are doing her harm letting her run this late in her life.

    Please let me know if we should limit her running, eliminate it completely, or try to treat her stiffness/arthiritis.

    Thanks!

    B

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  3. #2
    labby's Avatar
    labby is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Running an old Lab

    I think its time for the oldster to have a complete physical including a complete blood panel. Make sure all her organs are working properly. More likely than not, she has arthritis. Most older dogs do (just like people). Most oldsters cannot keep up with the youngsters and we should expect them to. They think they still can, but its up to us to make sure they rest when they get tired.

    I have a 13 year old that still thinks she can run and play with the young dogs. Oh she can, but then she hurts so badly afterwards. So I put a leash on her after a few retrieves and keep her with me. We'll walk around the yard on leash so she thinks she's getting exercise, but I do baby her. We have to otherwise the poor things hurt too much.

    You can go to a local pharmacy at say Walmart and buy human Glucosamine/Chrondritin. Start giving 1 twice a day and it should help a bit for awhile. You still need to protect the oldster from itself by limiting the running, etc.



    Laura





  4. #3
    georgie's Avatar
    georgie is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Running an old Lab

    I thought of arthritis too. I agree with Laura. Get a physical & blood work. The seniors still love to play & run but they really can't keep up with the youngsters. They will, but then they are sore later. Sometimes, some one on one play time without the yougsters can help, then you can limit the running.

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  6. #4
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Running an old Lab

    Completely agree with Labby/Laura's and Georgie's suggestions.

    Is there someplace convenient where Sandy can do swimming retrieves while your younger Labs can run on land? Swimming is a less jarring exercise and would be better on old joints.

    It's good that you're observing the differences in performance and behavior of your Labs.

    The development of Labs follows the same sequences as people go through with age although the spacing isn't proportionally parallel.

    Lab life span is typically 10, 11, 12, 13 years -- say that's roughly 60, 70, 80, 90 in people years.

    Lab menses occurs at 6 - 12 months; in peeps, it usually occurs within the 12-18 year span. So let's say your "younger ones" are 2-5 years old -- that's probably roughly equivalent to 22 - 38 years in people time.

    So, to paraphrase your question, "....Sandy (age 60-70) has gotten progressively slower and she is to the point now that she appears to be in pain around the house... especially a half hour or so after her run....Please let me know if we should limit her running, eliminate it completely, or try to treat her stiffness/arthiritis."

    I think daily exercise -- even for seniors -- is very desirable in preventing deterioration, and maintaining mental and physiological functioning. I'm not aware of any studies on dogs but there have recently been many done on people and their physiology is very similar. So IMO finding that amount of daily exercise for Sandy that leaves her without pain or stiffness would be very worthwhile to help her live a long and healthy life. [Our local "Y" has a 3 day/week program for local seniors (sponsored by the Kansas Department of Aging) that uses aerobic exercise, strength conditioning, etc. It's based on a Washington state program found to be very effective in maintaining functioning.]

    While limited amounts of daily swimming could be very helpful for Sandy, monitoring and limiting the amount she runs and retrieves to keep it just below the level of stiffness and presumed pain would also be helpful. For seniors, whenever there's pain, there's never a gain.



    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

  7. #5
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    DefaultRe: Running an old Lab

    All,

    Thank you for the detailed reply and good advice! I guess our instincts were right there.

    I sometimes take them swimming - it ain't easy - the two younger dogs swim well.. Sandy.. doesn't. She can, but it is very awkward for her. She isn't afriad of the water, she just doesn't swim well.. Thrashes the water and doesn't use her back feet enough.

    So, we will need to try and limit her running and maybe walk her instead of retrieving so much.

    She has had a complete blood workup in the last 6 months and her organs are in good shape we are told.

    Thanks again to all!

    B

  8. #6
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Running an old Lab

    Blutch said:
    She isn't afriad of the water, she just doesn't swim well.. Thrashes the water and doesn't use her back feet enough.
    I had a back legs problem with Puff when she was a pup and I was teaching her to swim.

    A canine life vest leveled her out in the water and that helped her learn to use her back legs.

    Might help....
    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

  9. #7
    Snowco Labradors's Avatar
    Snowco Labradors is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Running an old Lab

    I agree with a vet check and full blood work. This should be done yearly from age 7 on.

    also agree with the life vest. works great and in no time they are swimming without it.

    I wrote a recent blog on arthritis with info on natural supplements for pain.

    www.heartypet.com/blog go to the canine-breeder section and see "Our Beloved Seniors".

    Moderate exercise is beneficial for arthritis as it helps maintain muscle mass to support joints, tendons and ligaments. IMO you should feed a food with protein of at least 26% to help maintain that muscle.

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