Please help! Senior Doberman health problems

7 replies [Last post]
maxfield's picture
Joined: 2009-09-22

Pet Profiles

Maxfield is an 11 year old large breed Dobie.  His parents were both registered purebred large dogs.  Their owner trained police dogs.  Max is a very intelligent and beautiful dog.  We love him dearly.

Recently, Max has had problems going up stairs.  Today, his back legs gave out part way up the stairs.  He needed help backing down the stairs. 

I know the life expectancy for large Dobermans isn't very long.

Has anyone had experience with older Dobies and is there anything we can do to help him?

Thank you,

howsefrau32's picture
Joined: 2008-06-27

I'm so sorry about your dog. I don't have experience with doberman's and this issue, however, my english springer spaniel was 12 when the same thing happened to him, his legs just gave out.  He had been moving slowly for a while and then couldn't hold himself up one day.  I would get him to the vet ASAP for bloodwork, they can tell quite a bit from that.  If arthritis is the only problem, I know that rimadyl worked very well for us.  We knew the risks of using it, but given his age, we went ahead and used it. Eventually it wasn't enough and we had to add tramadol along with the rimadyl.  I almost forgot, we also gave him glucosamine, we used a product called Synovi G-3 and we used that before the rimadyl. We got 6 months out of our springer before having to put him in the rimadyl. 

I hope you are able to get some more advice on here from dobe owners and some help for your dog.

rgreen4's picture
Joined: 2008-10-26

I agree, an immediate trip to the vet and blood work is in order. My first red male Dobie (Hans) was 11 years and 7 months when he could no longer come up on my back deck (18" off the ground with one step). The vets work disclosed kidney failure and unfortunately was not responsive to treatment and he passed away naturally three days later.

Dobies have many of the similar problems we as humans have, cardiovascular, renal (kidney), arthritis and cancer. Remember that an 11 year old Dobie is an equivalent of an 84 year old human. (First year = 14, all subsequent years = 7). Continue to love him and be grateful for any remaining time. I was facing a difficult decision and the vet and I had agreed on a time frame for the decision if his kidneys failed to respond to the vets treatment. The vet called me a little before that time to inform me that the decision had been taken out of my hands.

glengate's picture
Joined: 2009-07-22

As the others said, talk to your vet about some testing and possible medications.  Beyond that, having recently gone through a situation where my old guy had degenerative myleopathy, you might consider getting your dog a harness or a sling so that you can help him up and down stairs.  Or alter his lifestyle if you can to avoid things like stairs.  In my case, I had to start letting my old guy out the front door more often than the back because there were just a couple of stairs out front but more in the back.  At this age, you do what you can to keep them comfortable. 

glengate's picture
Joined: 2009-07-22

My additional suggestion would be to make sure he is not too heavy.  My old guy ran about 85 lbs for most of his adult life.  He was right on the standard at 27 1/2".  When he started having trouble, I got him down to about 77 lbs until the end.  It was skinnier than he would typically be, but they don't need any extra weight causing them any further trouble in getting around. 

avortman's picture
Joined: 2007-12-22

As stated by others on a doberman this old, it could be many things. You must have your vet make an accurate diagnostic. It could be a tumor or pinched disc.  If it is a disc injury; I have seen where prednisone or other steroids have cleared up the situation.  If it is arthritis Deramax can be very effective in treating the symptoms.

loungepup's picture
Joined: 2008-09-29

i am a great believer in boys food has it in held my gsd hips solid for 13 years....natural choice w/ glucosamine...they have a senior blend...

Q Tip's picture
Joined: 2009-03-22

Pet Profiles

Hi Maxfield, I can only agree with all the points that the other members have made.
But if it is arthirits... in Australia they are doing amazing things with stem cells for dogs. I watched a doco on it recently and saw big german shepherds crippled with arthritis turn back into cavorting pups again. Im not sure if it has been introduced into the USA.
But here's a link to the Australian site.
I wish Maxfield all the best.