It’s been a rougher than usual last few days. In the last week I’ve had to have a bunch of plumbing fixed, I learned I have roots growing in part of the sewer pipe that requires part of our concrete floor to be jack hammered, the 1 year anniversary of Ozzy passing happened, and on Saturday night Jayne was bit by a woodchuck.
Our oldest dog is Ralphie, a nearly fifteen year old dachshund my wife and I have had for eleven years. He was the first dog for both of us and he’s lived in the three homes we’ve had over the last twelve years. Of course, at his age stuff starts breaking down.
About a year and a half ago, he had an eye removed due to a growth inside that was destroying the eye from the inside out. We didn’t know if it was a cancerous tumor or not until the eye was removed, and even then it was another week of tests. Thankfully, it was the most benign case of tumor, not a cancer. Ralphie recovered from his eye surgery better than Kelly and I did, I think.
His other eye, though, has been slowly deteriorating since then due to age related issues with his retina and the gelatinous material inside the eye. Yesterday, I looked into Ralphie’s eye and it looked real cloudy to me and I thought maybe he had a bad cataract. I called the vet right away and set an appointment for today.
Turns out there wasn’t much of a cataract but his vision continues to get worse. If he lives another year or so, he will most likely be blind. There is nothing we can do, and medical science for dogs (and probably humans) isn’t advanced enough to fix him up.
The vet did suggest we try a new treatment based on supplements. He gives it to his own dogs, and some dogs apparently respond well. The vet told me he holds the three creators of the supplement in high regard and thinks the science is sound. I could tell a little from his voice this was a long shot, but he thought it was worth a shot even if it helps for only a little bit.
The thing is, this supplement looks like all sorts of woo to me. All sorts of red flags go up. Ralphie, because of his build and breed, has been on Glucosamine and Chondroitin since he was probably seven years old. Now in humans, G&C has been shown to have no effect, and inconclusive for dogs from what I can tell, but over the years I’ve had like five vets swear it works for dogs. Has it?
I can’t know for sure, and Ralphie’s story is just that, a story. He’s not had back problems and doesn’t have any arthritis. He may have a couple tweaked discs but they never bother him and might be nothing. Remember, he’s like an 85 year old man essentially. Have we succumbed to woo?
This latest supplement has me thinking this is more woo, but then again, dogs have totally different body chemistry than dogs. It might vary well work. It’s not super expensive, it’s around 90.00 for a 3 month supply. For 90.00 there isn’t much I wouldn’t try if a whole bunch of vets tell me to. And Ralphie has zero chance of regaining any vision if we do nothing. What to do when your skeptic senses are tingling, but the experts are telling you to do it?
I have to admit, that despite the red flags, I’m going to take the vet’s advice on this, and give Ralphie a shot with the supplement. If there is anything we can do to help him enjoy life a little more we’ll do. There are no crystals or homeopathic treatments coming his way, he won’t be getting an adjustment from a canine chiropractor.
No, he’s gonna get a supplement for a few months, lots of hugs, lots of treats, and as much belly scratching as he can stand. We’ll carry him to the couch when he can’t jump up on to it, we’ll carry him to the ground to keep him from jumping down, and we’ll make sure he gets to go on walks and dig holes.