Theme: Joints & Movement
Nearly nine years ago, Nikolina’s best friend moved in with her – a Boxer named Leia. Nikolina tells us that animals have always been a big interest in her life. Ever since she was a child having birds, guinea pigs, rabbits and dogs she knew it was an interest that would be with her forever. Nikolina had plans to compete in obedience or working trials with Leia, but those plans had to be put aside after receiving bad news from the veterinarian.
Nikolina is 33 years old, lives in Stockholm and works as a salesperson. I think you can guess what she works with, and I can happily tell you that it is with animal products. Nikolina works as a salesperson at MUSH, which also means that Leia has the luck of being able to accompany to work!
Leia is a happy Boxer bitch who will turn nine in July. She loves to hang out with Nikolina on all their daily adventures, both at work and in their free time. She enjoys being a companion dog as long as life offers adventures and lazy days on the couch.
Both Nikolina and Leia love being in nature, and the forest is their go-to place!
“We like to discover new places where I can use my extremely poor sense of direction while Leia shows the way and pace. We have gotten lost more often than not, I can tell you. And after a day in the forest, there is nothing better than cuddling on the couch together.”
How did you discover Leia’s problems?
With Boxers, both hips and knees are x-rayed when they are one year old. This is to evaluate breeding and to ensure that dogs with poor joints do not go into breeding.
Leia’s x-ray did not show what we wanted, she had severe hip dysplasia with arthritis on one side. Unfortunately, the other hip was not much better, but slightly.
What did you do after discovering Leia’s hip dysplasia with arthritis?
Shortly after the x-ray, her problems began to show. She became stiff after activities that we had always been able to do before without any problems, such as long walks, playing with other dogs, tracking or training.
We consulted with one of the leading veterinarians in the field and according to his recommendation we started with physiotherapy and painkillers. After doing it for just over six months, we saw that the result was not what we wanted. She still had problems with even the most everyday things like walking on a leash.
After much consideration, we decided to replace one hip, the worst affected one.
So, in January 2017, the operation took place and Leia received a hip prosthesis. The operation went smoothly, she was quickly back on her feet. Even a little too energetic and happy, according to the veterinarian. After a period of rest and rehabilitation, she was just like any other dog, able to do all the things she had not been able to do before.
The hip we didn’t operate on has shown some symptoms in recent years, but not the same problems as before. We keep her on a low dose of painkillers, supplements and rehab to build muscle properly so that she can keep going for life.
The prosthesis has probably allowed her to relieve the other hip so much that she has not experienced worse symptoms than what she has today, which is not something I worry about today as there are very few symptoms, and she can still do what she loves – without limitations.
You mentioned that you give Leia supplements. Why did you choose to feed Leia supplements?
I give her supplements to support her joints and give her the best conditions. Especially as a happy senior like Leia, I believe we can prevent many injuries with the right supplements.
I give Leia green-lipped mussel as it supports the cartilage and increases joint fluid. Then I give her collagen, which helps her tendons and muscles maintain elasticity. And finally, I give her rosehip powder as it contains plenty of vitamin C. I give it because we know that vitamin C helps to increase the absorption of other supplements, but also because rosehip powder is anti-inflammatory.
Do you recommend other dog owners to give their dogs supplements?
Yes, why not give the dog the best conditions? Especially for an older dog or a hard-working dog. But I would start giving my puppy joint supplements if I was aware that it is a breed with an increased risk of joint problems. Or a dog I will train hard with, as I prefer to prevent then to treat.
But there are also other problems besides joints and mobility that we can promote with supplements. Including digestive health, dry coat, brittle nails and so on.
If you could choose one supplement, which one and why?
A difficult question as I like to combine different ones to get the best possible effect. But if I could only choose one, I would choose green-lipped mussel as it works for all stages of life, from puppyhood to seniorhood.