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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

Tripawds is the place to learn how to care for a three legged dog or cat, with answers about dog leg amputation, and cat amputation recovery from many years of member experiences.
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Alendronate for dogs. Side effects? Efficacy?
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Forum Posts: 23
Member Since:
11 January 2019
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14 June 2019 - 1:43 pm
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Hello, 

After a diagnosis of osteoarthritis in our Bailey’s right rear leg, her doc prescribed a two week course of alendronate. 

I haven’t been able to find much peer reviewed research or even info on dosing, side effects, etc. 

Can anyone offer some insight into this drug? Should it only be given for two weeks? Is it supposed to be given on an empty stomach like humans? Side effects? 

Thank you!!! 

The Rainbow Bridge



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14 June 2019 - 6:07 pm
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Alendronate is a new name to us but it’s apparently a bisphosphonate? If so, it’s important to get the FAQs from your vet for Bailey’s specific situation. I would hate to give you the wrong kind of insight on how to use it for her OA. 

It is a new one to me for OA, so please do tell us what you learn from your vet OK?

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Forum Posts: 23
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22 June 2019 - 6:39 am
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Well, he just said to take it and when I noticed there were no refills, I asked about why there were no refills. He said, just see if you like it. He said biphosphonates strengthen the bone. That’s all he told me. When he told me about biphosphonates initially, I didn’t realize it was a prescription while we were in the consultation and figured in the back of my mind that I could just go home, do a little research, and then order from amazon. 

BUT, then the tech brought out the script and that’s when the convo about the actual drug happened. In between patients at the front desk. 

Since she finished chemo, we’ve been back to the vet twice to try to get the right cocktail for pain and the osteoarthritis. Amantadine gives her pretty bad gastro issues (think explosive diarrhea as she’s running out the door to get outsidepoopiconpoopiconpoopiconsmiley3), so we had to lower that dose to get that under control, which left a gap in pain control. She’s already on a low dose prednisone – 10 mg once a day, because that is what helps her the most. He didn’t want to keep her at the 20 mg dose, so we compromised. That left us not many options so I guess alendronate was the natural next option. 

Here’s what I’ve found out- 

Alendronate is a biphosphonate used to strengthen the bone. It’s primarily used for osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. It was very popular when it first hit the market many years ago, but because there is an extremely slim chance of a sudden break in the upper thigh bone in humans, it started getting a bad rap because of the one-off internet stories that would circulate. Vets used to use it quite often before platinum based chemo became affordable for use in the veterinary world to “treat” osteosarcoma. The purpose was more to stave off bone proliferation and tumor growth and to minimize the risk of breaks. 

So, I started giving it to her in the morning on an empty stomach with water before breakfast and her first round of supplements. I am seeing a marked difference in her, and I was not expecting it to work at all. She has more energy, feels better, walks better, is up and around more, and just generally all around happier. The effect has been sustained for a week now, which tells me she hasn’t just had one or two “good days”.  That is HUGE to me. I’m so thankful. I was beginning to wonder if amputation was a cruel and selfish thing that I did to her to keep her with us longer. 

While it may not work for all dogs or even be appropriate for all dogs, it has improved her quality of life so far, and I could not be more thankful. 

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22 June 2019 - 9:45 am
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Not sure of bisphosphonates in dogs, but we use it in terminal patients with bone metastases to deal with pain.  Bone pain is difficult to manage and this has been very helpful.

My dog is much more mobile, active and happy when pain is adequately managed.  Perhaps this is the case with your dog too.

The Rainbow Bridge



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23 June 2019 - 11:30 am
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Hey thanks for that education, I’m thrilled it’s working for her! YAY! 

Just curious if you could share some of the links you found helpful when learning about Alendronate for dogs? I see it mentioned in a ton of studies but it sounds like you’ve located more backstory.

And yes, pain control is super important for new Tripawds, even when the recovery phase is “officially” over. Some dogs just need to go longer with pain meds, some indefinitely, and that’s OK as long as they get their mojo back and continue having a great quality of life. Sounds like you found the right balance. Fantastic!

P.S. Remember if you order anything on Amazon by using this link, the Tripawds community gets a small commission. Thanks for your support 🙂

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