Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Dog-leg diary: Long walks, short meds

As you’ll see from Fargo’s recent blog post, we all went on holiday at the end of March. We enjoyed some beautiful weather and days out. It was the first holiday we’d had since Fargo’s knee operation last summer, so it was a bit of an achievement in itself.

Over the past few years, our holidays have changed a little. Back in the day, we could all be quite carefree about how long we spent walking, whether we got lost or added a bit extra to our walk. Now, we have to be a bit more careful. Charlie’s doing really well but there’s no escaping the fact that, at 13 years old and having had spinal surgery, his days of carefree roaming for hours over hill and dale are over. And Fargo will always have some arthritis in his knee.

This doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy some good walks. I discussed it with their physiotherapist before we went away and he reassured me that his expectations were realistic. People who take their dogs on holiday will stay out a bit longer on a nice day, and the dogs will tend to get more exercise than usual. They’ll probably come back tired and a little stiff, but as long as they’re checked up and rested properly on their return they’ll be OK.

So that's what happened with Charlie and Fargo, and their stiffness wasn’t made any better by the fact that it turned cold and rainy on our return home. Charlie needed to take it easy for a good week or so, but despite a little bit of stiffness Fargo bore up pretty well and he soon limbered up in the pool.

Fargo has been coming off his Metacam gradually over the past few weeks. He’s now on a small dose every other day. As long as he’s OK on that we’ll be taking him off it entirely soon, but for now, especially with the damp and cold weather, we're keeping him on the low dose. Even when Fargo's off the medication, he’ll still go for regular check-ups and hydrotherapy, which he loves. But having got so far with reducing his medication feels like approaching the end of a long journey. I’m really proud of Fargo. He’s a very bouncy dog, but he’s managed to stay patient and not to do anything stupid, so I hope both his knees will be OK now.

Of course, it’s always nice to have some extra help, so we were delighted the other week to receive a six-week supply of Joint Care+ treats from Pedigree, complete with a ball launcher and a rucksack with Fargo’s name on it! Fargo loves chasing a ball around and he really enjoys a day out, so what could be better than his own adventure kit? Not much, I can tell you.

Joint Care+ contains green-lipped mussel extract to help keep joints supple. I’ve heard good reports about it and as Fargo is coming off his medication, now is a good time to see if it will work for him. At the very least, he’ll get a lovely fishy treat every day and I can’t see him grumbling about that.

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