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A Vet's True Take On Osteoarthritis in Dogs

Dr. Shawn Wayment isn’t your everyday veterinarian; he’s also an avid bird hunter with three awesome hunting dogs: Gretchen, Cinder and Ellie. Known as @BirdDogDoc on Instagram, Dr. Wayment operates his practice out of the Animal Care Center of Castle Pines in Castle Rock, Colorado. When he’s not caring for small animals and dogs, he likes to get lost in the great outdoors.

When I discovered Dr. Wayment on social media I knew I needed to talk to him as soon as possible. A highly admired veterinarian with a keen understanding of hunting dogs = score! That means he knows more than most about osteoarthritis in hunting dogs. Dr. Wayment was kind enough to take time out of his busy day to answer some questions about osteoarthritis in dogs. Here’s what he had to say!

#1. Introduce us to your current fleet of hunting dogs!

I have three dogs currently.  I would like a dozen, but my wife keeps me grounded...

I love English setters from the grouse woods that are classified as cover dogs.  Gretchen is 10 years old and 27 pounds.  My other setter is Cinder and she is 11 months old. I also have a field bred English Cocker named Ellie that I hunt with and she is heck on birds. Ellie is 9 years old and a fantastic quail and grouse dog.

#2. What type of bird hunting do you do and where are your favorite places to go hunting?

I love to hunt all upland birds...but all my early season bird hunting is to get my dogs prepared from quail season.  I love to hunt quail and my very favorite are the scaled quail here on the prairies of Colorado.  My favorite places to hunt are Colorado's shortgrass prairie, the uplands of southern Idaho, the Kansas grasslands and southern New Mexico for scaled quail.

#3. Have any of your hunting dogs developed arthritis?

All of my dogs have developed osteoarthritis.

#4. What forms of treatment provided the best results to your dogs with arthritis?

Proper weight/diet, exercise, Adequan (injectable glucosamine), omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils, rehab and class IV laser therapy, and NSAIDs like Rimadyl as needed.

#5. How commonly do you see arthritis in young dogs?

Not very often unless a dog has a orthopedic developmental disease like hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia or a traumatic injury to the joint like a fracture. Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear disease of the joints over time. A study was done many years ago that showed that 20% of dogs over the age of 1 years old already are developing arthritis. We may not see the clinical signs of arthritis such as limping in these young dogs for many years.

#6. What sorts of injuries do you commonly see in hunting dogs that could potentially lead to arthritis down the road?

Great questions! ACL (Cranial Cruciate Ligament) rupture is very common in our bird dogs. Obesity in the "weekend warrior" bird dog can lead to abnormal strain and stresses on the joints. Improper conditioning can lead to injury that can also affect the joints.

I've seen two bird dogs hit by a truck on separate occasions on county dirt roads that affected the joints and the dogs ended up with arthritis. Be careful roading or conditioning dogs on a hard surface, specifically if they are young and not fully developed as this can wear their joints out quicker.

#7. Do you think hunting dogs are more prone to arthritis?

Hunting and athletic dogs are absolutely more prone to osteoarthritis than other dogs. Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear disease and our bird dogs wear out their joints over time.

#8. What about fish oil and krill oil for arthritis in dogs?

For arthritis, a dog needs a high dosage of fish oils. A common dosage of Omega-3 fatty acids for osteoarthritis is at a minimum 50 mg/kg once daily orally. This equates to about 1200 mg of the active ingredients (EPA and DHA) in the capsule. I give 3 Costco capsules a day to my 27 pound setter, Gretchen.

#9. Is there any way to enhance the effects of MSM, glucosamine and chondroitin as supplements for dog arthritis

I've heard that oral vitamin C does but I'm not convinced of this.   

#10. What are your favorite supplements for dogs with arthritis?  

My favorite supplements orally are fish oils from Costco and injectable Adequan. I'm most familiar with Dasuquin and Cosequin from Nutrimax Labs orally but oral/gut absorption in my opinion is questionable.

We’d like to thank Dr. Wayment for taking the time to answer our questions. You can follow the Bird Dog Doc via Instagram and his personal website.

 

 

Vol. 11: Everything You Need To Know About Arthritis In Dogs: 9 Commonly Asked Questions

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