WESTON, Fla. – There are many science-backed health benefits of owning a dog: Lower stress levels, higher activity levels, and reduced risk of heart disease.
For all our canine companions do for us, there’s a time when they need our help to stay mobile.
Ace, a black lab, was nine months old when he came into Luz Maria Parlante’s life and never left her side.
“He’s a fantastic, fantastic friend. I’m going to say that one more time: Fantastic friend!”
Naturally, as the years passed, his energy began to wane.
“He started to get like he didn’t want to play anymore, he knows a lot of doing the tricks, the big thing was he stopped wagging his tail,” Parlante said.
She brought Ace to different veterinarians who all said it was just part of the aging process and there was nothing they could do.
Then she heard about Cooper City veterinarian Dr. David Bieber, who began working with testosterone replacement for dogs over a decade ago.
“Testosterone does a lot of things for humans and for dogs. Basically, it creates muscle tone and it does bone density,” he said.
Bieber said that when dogs are spayed or neutered, their testosterone production drops to zero, affecting muscle tone and bone density down the road.
“What we see the number one criteria that they come in for is they have a hard time getting up from the ground, very hard, then after that it’s all hip dysplasia, arthritis, and vertebral disc disease, osteoarthritis, all those types of conditions it treats,” he said.
Although it’s not a “magic” shot, the injections can help ease the aging process for some dogs.
Parlante began the injections a year ago and says the improvement in ace is remarkable.
“Now he swims, he plays, he squats when he has to go. He’s another dog. He’s like he was before,” she said.
There are hormone-sparing methods of sterilizing a pet that can lessen the negative physical effects of hormone loss. These will not prevent hormone-associated behaviors such as territorial marking.