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Old Age, Hypocalcemia, Hip Dysplasia & My Good Little Dog

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This is me walking him a year ago.

Hi! My name is Johan Fritz F. Girado. I have a half-breed German shepherd named Morpheus. I named him after the pet character of Captain Silver on Treasure Planet. He’s a good dog that always comes whenever I call him by his name.

He hasn’t been doing well recently. Just four years ago this dog could walk faster than I could run before I got back into shape. This is him with me walking him a year ago.

He’s camera shy so he doesn’t sit still for long. I was in medical school for about 4 years. When I last saw him, he was whimpering and was sad to see me go.

I left him with my mother and younger sister who were obviously smaller than him and the household help wouldn’t dare go near him either for fear of getting chomped on. Long story short, he got neglected. I could come back only once every 4 months or so to give him a nice bath, delicious dog food, a trim and long walk.

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Coming Back Home

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"I came home a skinny, mangy, tired looking ghost of a dog that’s seen better days. "

After I finished my degree, I decided to come back home and train for internship in the town I grew up.

I came home a skinny, mangy, tired looking ghost of a dog that’s seen better days. I tried to get him to walk like we used to. I put on his leash and his collar but he could barely walk properly. The best he could do the first time I tried to make him walk was dragging his heels along while staggering all the way.

The days passed, I fed and watered him myself but I could see in his sad eyes that years of neglect had taken a toll on his once athletic body.

Before, he could sprint so fast I barely had enough time to catch up with him. Nowadays, every time we went for a walk, I could walk faster than he could run.

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Taking a Turn for the Worst

It’s been months since I last walked him out since he couldn’t tolerate the exercise. I left the cage open so he could come out anytime he wanted. But day came that he stayed inside his cage.

He just stayed there, not whimpering, not barking, nothing. He just stayed there the whole day and that bothered me.

Feeling concerned that he wasn’t his usual self, I got my leash and gestured him to walk with me like he always did. But that’s where something was really wrong. He couldn’t move his hind legs. He couldn’t stand up. He just lay there without even so much as a bark.

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"I left the cage open so he could come out anytime he wanted. But day came that he stayed inside his cage."

Calcium Carbonate for My Dog

dog calcium carbonate

I called my neighbor’s brother-in-law who happened to be a vet and made a house call. He came with a vial of Calcium Carbonate with B12 Vitamins and nasty looking 10mL syringe.

A shot to the leg and he was on his feet again. But the vet told me this was only temporary. He was getting old. My dog was already 15 years old and that was the equivalent of a 70 year old man.

His teeth were not as sharp as they used to be and some were already missing. He couldn’t get as much nutrients from his food and his deficiencies in vitamins and minerals were starting to show.

For a while, he could limp with me around the garden. I bought a stack of calcium carbonate tablets so I could crush them and lace his dog food with it so he could get as much calcium as he needed. The days followed by and he returned to just sitting around. Tears flowed through my eyes as I was helpless to do anything for him that could bring him back to his old self.

"He came with a vial of Calcium Carbonate with B12 Vitamins and nasty looking 10mL syringe. But the vet told me this was only temporary. A shot to the leg and he was on his feet again."

dog old

The Pain of Seeing Your Dog Age

It pains me every day to see him like this. To see him just sitting there brings a kind of pain of loss of that only someone very close to you can elicit. He’s still here, he’s with me. I bring him his food and water myself right up to his face so he just has to point his head in the right direction.

I studied the signs and symptoms of hypocalcemia, of hip dysplasia and the variety of medical conditions that I learned in medical school. I know that not being able to run around is brought about by these conditions and nutrient deficiencies. But without any proper training in pet care, all my medical knowledge is useless.

Every pet owner has to come to grips that in time, it’s time for our beloved companion to go. My stoic medical persona is doing a fine job so far of being a matter-of-fact about this. But my emotional sides of me seeing my childhood friend grow old and helpless cuts deep. He’s suffering but I don’t want him to go. I’m studying right now what are the best food supplements I can give him and I’m even considering giving my review money to pay for his surgery so he can walk again.

I hope he gets well one of these days. I don’t want to see him go.

"Hind leg weakness is consistent with hypocalcemia which can also manifest as muscle tremors, twitching, stiff gait, and muscle pain/cramping. "~Dr. Michael Salkin

For further reading:

Disclaimer: the above is a testimonial only. If you suspect your older dog is suffering from a nutritional deficiency or an an orthopedic problem, please see your vet for correct diagnosis and treatment. A calcium deficiency is uncommon in dogs unless actual bloodwork is run by your veterinarian and it shows a low calcium level, explains veterinarian Dr. Dave. 

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