Doreen Fawcett, 64, from Walker, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, found herself facing a dog owner's nightmare: helplessly watching the quick deterioration of her companion's health. Her Springer Spaniel, 11-year-old Bill, had been suffering from arthritis for several years. Quite suddenly, his usual treatment of anti-inflammatory drugs and joint supplements no longer seemed to help.
“He collapsed and couldn’t walk at all. He just went downhill so quickly it was absolutely awful," Doreen said. "I was crying my eyes out because I knew he was suffering so much.”
Doreen was considering putting Bill to sleep, but made one last attempt at finding help and brought him to the PDSA hospital in Newcastle.
PDSA senior vet, Clare Hinchliffe, said, “We carried out tests which showed that Bill had spondylosis of the spine, a degenerative condition, as well as narrow space between his spinal discs. He also had severe arthritis in his hips and knees which was causing him constant pain."
The situation was so severe that the PDSA staff considered putting him to sleep as well, before deciding along with Doreen to try a different treatment first, adding another medication to those Bill was already taking.
“We don’t tend to use this combination of drugs as a standard long-term treatment for arthritis in dogs but in Bill’s case it was the only option,” Clare said.
The decision paid off, and Bill's condition improved steadily.
Doreen said, “He couldn’t get up at all before but now he can walk around and even climb up and down the stairs. Bill is such a happy dog, he loves everyone and he loves life.”
PDSA vet Rebecca Ashman explained that there are some things dog owners can do to help improving their arthritic dog's quality of life.
“We see many cases of arthritis where the pet can be helped not only through veterinary care, but also through weight reduction and appropriate levels of exercise," she said. “Recognising symptoms and taking early action can help alleviate pain and slow the progression of the condition.”
Images by PDSA.