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a question for dog experts

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I have a German Shepherd who is about 10 yrs old. She is a sweetheart. We let her sleep in the house, but we are having a huge problem with odor (like maybe from her female glands?). She has this odor even after a bath. I have asked the vet about it and the vet didn't seem concerned and didn't have any advice or help to offer.


She also has cysts on her belly, which concern me, but the vet also did not seem too concerned. She is 10 yrs old and her hips give her pain. As for this, the vet suggested x-rays and talked about options for hip problems, but this is way out of my budget. She can't go for long walks anymore and she sometimes whimpers when she has to get up. My son takes her around the block every day for her exercise, but we don't take her for long walks. My husband says that it might not be too long before she needs to be put to sleep. Quite a few people have told me this, actually, but I don't even want to think of putting her to sleep. She is part of the family.


What do you think? Could the odor be symptomatic of something more serious? Does it sound like she is close to having to be put to sleep?

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Well, to me, no, it doesn't sound like she needs to be pts.


It sounds like she needs medical care though. If you cannot provide it, then maybe you need to consider what the ethical decision would be. Leaving her in pain is not ethical IMO.


For her joints, she needs at least a joint supplement like the products on this page:



She may also be at the stage where she requires pain relief. Metacam & Deramaxx are often prescribed but I'll grant that they are not inexpensive, esp for a large dog. I've got an 80lb dog here on Deramaxx and on a minimal dose, from a discount pharmacy, his meds cost >$40/month for just that (dispensed from the vet is more than double....) . He still needs the joint supplements too.....


If you absolutely cannot do afford any of these things, aspirin is a last resort & it may or may not work & it may or may not cause gastric bleeding. If it causes bleeding, obviously you'll need to take her off it. Dosages & discussion of its use in dogs for pain here:


Ordinarily, I always recommend a full vet exam & xrays but if you're not able to do that at this point, then this may be a distant 2nd best.


What kind of treatments was the vet discussing that you're unable to consider? There's a bit price diff between surgical interventions & medical/pharma interventions to improve quality of life.....


did the vet fully palpate the joints? Did the vet observe the dog outside, walking in all directions? Did the vet assess proprioception? You need to know whether this is probably arthritic or if it's neurological (degenerative myelopathy springs to mind) or both.... as treatment & palliative support would be different.


Cysts are impossible to discuss without a dx. It's possible they're just fatty lumps or they may be skin tags or they may be mammary tumors.


Odor - is she spayed? Is she leaking urine? Females can get yeast & bacterial infections & other similar probs - just like us. Is this a new thing? If it's new, it really needs to be swabbed, cultured & treated.


You need to have a vet you can trust, someone who can give you a range of options.

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The odor could be a number of things: ears, anal glands, or teeth. I would want those three things checked for sure. . . and whatever other things the vet comes up with.


The creakiness can be treated. It is common. A NSAID such as previcox, deramaxx, generic rimadyl, metacam. . . can help immensely. There are other options, but it sounds like she is far gone enough to need an NSAID for sure. Carprofen is the generic name for rimadyl. Pound for pound, it is definitely the most economical choice. It is safe and effective. The newer ones (previcox, etc.) have certain advantages, but Carfrofen is your best bet for an economical option. If Carprofen alone does not do the trick, as the vet about adding Tramadol. It is a cheap opiate that works wonders when used on top of a NSAID. (It is a controlled drug in many states, and has human abuse potential, so don't walk into a new vet asking for it. . . or they will definitely not give it to you!)


I think you need to either go back to your current vet and be more assertive about getting your concerns addressed, or go to a new vet.

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Thank you for all of your replies. I am thinking maybe I need to get a new vet, or I should just go in with more specific things to be checked. I have brought up these concerns on 3 different vet visits within a year and the vet never seems to have any concern about them. As for the cysts, she said that it was probably fatty lumps. However, I would like to get something for my dog's pain without having to go through x-rays, which also require anesthesia. This vet won't prescribe anything without seeing xrays first. As for the odor, now I have some things to bring up to the vet and ask to be checked (I guess the vet couldn't smell it??). It is very frustrating being on a tight budget, taking her in to see the vet, and paying $100 for pretty much nothing but an exam, and then leaving with the vet saying that my dog seems ok for her age, but giving me the option to bring her back for the $1,000+ for hip xrays. (I simply cannot afford hip replacement, but want her to have pain medicine for the pain she is experiencing. I want her to be pain free.).

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Most vets would not require x-rays before prescribing NSAIDs for arthritis. Unless there is something else he is noticing on exam that indicates some other issue. . .


Yes, I would look for a new vet. I would go in with specific concerns. 1) the pain/arthritis and 2) the smell.


For arthritis, there are several nutriceutical approaches, oral glucosamine/chondroitin (dasuquin being a gold standard, but generics often work very well. . . a great method is to start with dasuquin or cosequin for 30-60 days and IF it works well, try transitioning to some generic and see if it is effective. . .if not, switch to another brand. . . if needed, go back to the more pricey name brand that worked well. . .) and/or injectable Adequan (awesome stuff). Hill's j/d food is a great option as it has loads of good fatty acids.


Unfortunately, nutrition approaches will typically help a dog with advanced arthritis unless they are also on an NSAID b/c the pain makes the dog stop moving. . . which leads to muscle atrophy. . . which contributes to the arthritis. . . so you must have pain relief (NSAID +/- opiate) before making much of a difference with the nutriceutical. Nutriceuticals are best used EARLY in the disease, and then used as an addition to pain meds once those are needed.


Managing arthritis is totally doable if you can work with a vet who you trust and who will take the time to help you explore what options work best for *your* dog. First step is an NSAID for significant arthritis. If you can afford to do more, adding some nutriceutical options at the same time is great. But, they are pricey as well, so if you can only do one thing, start with an NSAID.


The lumps are most likely harmless fatty tumors, which are very common in older dogs, that are no worry unless they are so large as to impair movement or unless they get ulcerated (begin bleeding). There is always some chance they are a bad tumor/cancer (mast cell, etc), but the vet can tell by palpating if they are higher risk lumps or lower risk lumps, so since $$ is an issue (and you might not be able to do surgery to remove even if it were cancer), it is reasonable to just ignore them if the vet judges they are most likely lipomas (fatty tumors) unless they become ulcerated or interfer with movement.

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