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Ask the Veterinarian/cockerspaniel-female 14.5 yrs old


QUESTION: My cockerspaniel (standard breed,brown) has always been very active with me. Growing up she jogged, ran, and  while I bicycled, she ran along beside me. Of course, now as a senior citizen of the doggie world, her health is beginning to fail. While she has a strong, still healthy heart & lungs, her hind legs are beginning to give out every 50-60 yds of just walking. Past x-rays at the vet indicate beginnings of arthritus of front legs. However, till last week, she was always able to run up and down stairs of my house. Blind in one eye did not stop her steady gait. Now, as stated her hindlegs are giving out. Besides, returning to her vet of 10yrs,[I'm going to ask for new x-rays, do you have any other suggestions? She  recently has gained significant weight. Thanks Ken of S.I.NY

ANSWER: Hi Kenneth,
I am sure you realize that the weight can cause many problems, and this is one of them. However, from what you are describing, this sounds more like a spinal issue, and more precisely, a central nervous system issue.

As dogs age, then tend to have issues with connectivity and the signals being sent down their spines to their limbs. So what happens is that they do fine and then they have a 'brownout' much like our electricity. They will continue to have these then suddenly they have a blackout.

Sometimes there are other causes such as heart disease, a spinal stenosis (shrinking of the spinal canal) or just poor nerve conduction. Arthritis can play a role in them not wanting to use their limbs due to the pain, but it doesn't cause a nerve problem that is wide spread.

If you get her to slim down some that could possibly help but at her age it is hard to say how much it will increase her mobility.
I would get some more xrays of her spine and pelvis to see what kind of shape they are in.

There are so many new medications out there for arthritis that one may help her tremendously. There is a food that Hills makes as well called J/D that has helped thousands of dogs regain their mobility.

I hope that you can find an answer for this soon.

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QUESTION: Jana: I wish to thank you for your insights, the several remedial
options that you provided. I think you are on target regarding central nervous system (CNS) circuitry problems.
We walked today down by the beach (Staten Island). We walked approx. 20-25 minutes in the sand since the boardwalk was off limits. Alexis'  gait was "NORMAL" without any hitches. sitdowns or 'brown outs.'I'm ruling out cardio/pulmonary issues but concur with your insight regarding CNS issues. Like a light switch that goes "ON" and "OFF," the switch appeared to stay on today. I will take her to vet to check Pelvis and  central nerve condutions. Hopefully, we'll prevent her from having a Blackout! Again, thank you so much.  Ken from Staten Island NY

ANSWER: You are very welcome Ken. I too, hope that she doesn't have any blackouts. It's not very often that we see cockers with this type of problem that renders them unable to walk, but her extra weight might not be helping much. If you can get even 5 lbs off of her with walking/and or diet, that will really help her a lot.

There are also some supplements that could help. I already mentioned the J/D diet from Hills, I think, so you might want to start her on that. Cosequin can help, as well as a supplement called Cholodin. It helps more with the cognitive and CNS functions as opposed to the arthritis issues.

I highly recommend a canine acupuncturist if it's within your budget. They can do wonders for inflammatory conditions if it's arthritis.

Just some thoughts. Glad you two survived Sandy. Us west coasters were sending out a LOT of prayers for all of you.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Jayne: We S.Ilanders appreciate your prayers. Staten Ilanders are a hearty group. Everyone is helping each other non-gratis.
We have PETCO here in S.I. If J/D Diet products are not available there, can you suggest an on-line site for same? While Alexis has a great appetite, she can be very "pickee." She has been on Cosequin for 2 yrs.It's being continued and is very helpful! Is Cholodin similiar in composition/? Where available?
Again, thanks for your wonderful responses and HELP!! ken

Cholodin is basically Choline and inositol, both of these are amino acids.

You can also get it on Amazon:

J/D is only available through a vet with a prescription. It is a wellness food made by Hill's. Your vet can write a prescription for you to get it online through PetCo or any online store that sells Hills products, but the vet can also order it. If your vet doesn't carry Hills then call around to other vets in town. It is a very common brand for vets to carry.
Of course I would wait to see what the vet says about her little brownouts of her back legs. J/D is meant for dogs with joint disease such as OA (osteoarthritis) and since it's not cheap, better that you wait and see if that is the culprit here and not a real CNS problem.

I hope for your sake and hers that it isn't a CNS issue. Arthritis is more easily treatable. But Cholodin might help for a while, no matter what the issue is.

You are very welcome for the help and the prayers!  

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Jana Connell RVT, CVT


PLEASE READ BEFORE SUBMITTING TO ME: I am NOT a vet and do NOT diagnose diseases. That is only for a licensed Veterinarian to do. I will give you suggestions and steer you toward calling your vet for help. You can call the vet's office and talk to the technician there or the vet at times. Don't be afraid to call them! If you have a serious issue with your pet please post it to one of the veterinarians in here- I will tell you the same thing in my answer. IF your pet is injured or in an emergency situation, CALL YOUR VET- Do not wait and post in here. Just call the vet's office and get them in to see the vet right away. Critical treatment time is lost if you seek answers here when you should have your precious pet at the vets!! Don't sit at home waiting for an answer when your pet is critically ill or injured!! I can answer most questions about small animal and wildlife care as well as small animal nutrition. I can also answer questions about all phases of dental care for small animals. I DO NOT answer questions about birds (unless it is wildlife or songbirds) or HAMSTERS/GERBILS/CHINS/GUINEA PIGS/REPTILES/FROGS/RABBITS/PET BIRDS OF ANY KIND so please submit these questions to the appropriate sections. I, as well as other experts in here, do NOT do homework questions- that is for YOU to do! Please respect these rules for all of us. Thanks!


I have over 42 years experience in the field of veterinary medicine. I specialized in small animals and did wildlife rehab for over 25 years, mostly raptors, squirrels and opossums. I am a Small Animal Nutritional Consultant with 6 certificates from Hills Pet Foods, CNM and Purina. I also specialized in Small Animal Dentistry which is a field I truly love. I also Teach Veterinary Technology to working technicians who are studying to take their California Tests to become Licensed Technicians. They have to take both the VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) and the California boards.

Audubon,World Wildlife Federation, American Society of Veterinary Dental Technicians.


Licensed with California and Oregon, RVT and CVT. Certified Veterinary Dental Technician Have over 1500 logged hours of Continuing Education Credits(that means I keep up to date!).

Awards and Honors
Nominated for Expert of the Month for the last 5 years.

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