Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Joint Aid For Dogs

We have all been there. You wake up from sleeping in an awkward position and your back and neck hurts. Or the clouds roll in with signs of rain and your knees start to hurt. The latter happens to me often actually. Well, joint pain is just as common in pets as it is in humans.

Let's talk about Africa. As you will recall,  I was worried about Africa needing a very expensive surgery. ACL surgery is around $2500 dollars per leg and we thought Africa might need them both done. It has been well over a year and she is doing great without the surgery.

It seems that while her diagnosis was that her ACL was torn, her recovery has led us to believe that it could have simply been her joints. A dogs joints works very similar to ours. Our joints can hurt with a change in the weather such as rain just like it can for dogs. Similarly, as joint pain worsens, the tendons, muscles, and ligaments can be damaged or in pain as well. This could have easily been the case with Africa.

Our dog's extreme limping, lack of desire to get off her bed, and overall immobility led us to believe it was something that could only be helped with an invasive surgery. I now believe that keeping her resting and with the help of glucosamine she is healed. Joint aid for dogs is a much better treatment to start with than surgery. We gave her two tablets a day to start which had a combination of glucosamine and chondroitin. These two nutrients are the foundation for ease of discomfort and ultimate healing of the joints. There are lots of great brands of glucosamine out there.  I would definitely recommend trying this treatment plan first before any surgery, especially when dealing with a dog as large as Africa. Glucosamine will also help with arthritis in dogs, which is quite common. In fact, the vet has said that Africa may be heading in that direction even at her young age.

All is well at our house and next post I would like to talk about two new arrivals at our house. In the meantime, perhaps we can teach Africa how to skate on our bamboo longboards since she is up and ready to get moving. In fact, she is better than ever.

Thursday, November 1, 2012


 If you open up any media website you can find several articles with the latest crime and tragedy. Such headlines seem all too numerous these days. However, among the dark I always seem to notice the light. There are stories with happy endings and miracles. We think we have such a story in our home.

It may sound like a farce because it is no secret that we, or rather, I had much anxiety over the cost of the ACL surgery we thought Africa would need and therefore perhaps you may question my sincerity of our miracle. We had a family member offer to help us with the cost of surgery and were even sent the money. We were super grateful, but still hesitated and wanted to give it time to heal.

It went from bad to worse. Soon she was limping on the opposite knee which we had heard could happen once she started to favor the one. We put her on Rimadyl and Dasuquin to help with the joints and inflammation. We also reduced her food because she is overweight and tried to reduce her movement.

I am happy to report that she is much improved. Miracles do happen even with dogs. Little Jack prayed every night to "please help Africa to get better" and I can tell you that I fervently prayed and not just because there were dollar bills in my eyes. She is walking without any limp and took her first walk yesterday without any consequences. We still don't want her to overdo it and realize she is still susceptible to injury, but thankfully she is happy to lay around and take it easy.

We are grateful to have her well again and I have even seen her running after joggers and walkers in the yard. Thank you so much for your concern and advice. Below are a few articles that helped convince us that sometimes surgery is not necessary and to try other remedies. It may still be inevitable, but for now we be happy with the blessings we have.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Bum Deal

Actually it is not the bum, it's Africa's knee. It seems that Africa has torn her ACL and now requires a very expensive surgery. Perhaps you can tell from the photo but she is keeping her weight off the back right knee and walks around on 3 legs now. In short, it is a bum deal for her and us.

As much as I would like to complain about the cost, the fact that the husband works 3 jobs as it is, and the inconvenience of an injury like this, I mostly want to complain about how sad it is for Africa.

As you may recall we started our love affair for the breed, South African Boerboel, with our beloved Tonka who loved a short happy life due to Wobbler's Disease. His disease was so rare and tragic that we had no doubt that our next one would be unbelievably healthy and live an active life. This was not the case. Before this injury, Africa has been suffering from arthritis at just 3 years old. She is on glucosamine which helps, but this injury will only exasperate the arthritis and make her essentially suffer for the rest of her life.

For now, she is on anti inflammatories to see if that helps and then we will schedule this really expensive surgery knowing that the stress of walking on the other knee will probably cause the same thing to happen.

I realize that many of you have pets who suffer from long term ailments as well. How do you cope with it? Africa is like our child and knowing she will have a life filled with a lot of immobility is frustrating. How do you cope with surprise costs in an already tight budget?  Any thoughts and similar experiences with this kind of surgery and injury on a large breed dog would be appreciated. In the meantime, chin up! At least that is what I am telling myself.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Every Little Boy Deserves A Dog

Why does every post contain a picture of Africa on our near her bed? Because that is where she spends 99% of the time. Therefore, this is where I capture most of my pictures of her. This picture features my own little creature, Jack. He is the perfect child and makes up for where I am the worst mother.
He has figured out that I am not a morning person and therefore wakes up when the sun is up and cuddles with Africa. Adorable? Yes. Tragic? Perhaps, but I really am ok with it. I would like to take this time to thank Africa for being there for Jack in the morning when I am not available. Usually I find him sitting on her bed just petting her, but on this morning his 5 a.m. "rise and shine" got the best of him. Every little boy needs a dog.

Sweet dreams.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One Bark and Scary Night

It is 3 a.m. and I am not sure if I am awake or dreaming. A loud bark from Africa confirms that I am indeed awake and this is not a dream, but maybe a nightmare. The husband is away and I think my biggest fear is about to occur.

Africa never barks unless there is a human on or near our property that is not expected or welcome. Typical night sounds, other dogs barking, or anything that usually provokes a dog to bark, does not inspire Africa to needless noise. This trait is fantastic because we all know how annoying barking can be.

It is this knowledge that made me to begin to shake and panic when I was awakened to very confidant barking coming from the main part of my house in the very dark, and early hours of the morning. It got worse when I realize that Africa is even more loud and running across the house towards the garage.

I grabbed my cell next to me and immediately dialed 911. I explained that I was alone, I had two young children, and my dog was barking uncontrollably which never happens. I asked the operator to just stay with me as I investigated. She was ready to send someone, but Africa stopped barking just as I opened my bedroom door.

I checked out the rest of the house and garage and of course didn't find anyone. I confess I am an extremely paranoid person especially after becoming a mom, but I know that if Africa is barking, there is a reason.

I still don't know what that was, if anything. I live in a very safe neighborhood and a community with a low crime rate, but know that anything can happen at anytime. A similar experience has happened once before 2 years ago. It also resulted in nothing, but the that kind of feeling of panic is never far away from my memory. My own personal theory is that if it was someone, without even seeing Africa, her very bark is aggressive enough that she would have scared someone away.

I can speculate and wonder forever, but the one thing I am sure of is that I have an incredible guard dog who was a hero on that night and probably other times I don't even know about.

It is scary out there, but a lot less scary when you have one of these.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hoppy Spring!

Africa is always a good sport and didn't let the kids down on being the Easter Bunny this year. She brought them lots of candy, silly toys, and deviled eggs for me. We hope spring has been good to you and wish you lots of rain and happiness. If you don't want any rain, please send it our way. Arizona just never gets enough.  Hoppy Spring!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Definition of B. I. G.

You know you are big when you require two extra large dog beds.