Despite being brothers, Hennessey and Metaxa are totally different. Hennessey is chunkier and has always been slower. They enjoy long walks together, chasing balls and going swimming.
“I've always monitored their joints because I know as they get older that shepherds struggle with their mobility. When they got to about five Hennessey was much slower than Metaxa. In his hips, he was becoming a little bit stiffer after a long run. He's never been able to jump in the car. He's always put his front feet up, and I've had to lift him.”
Although Hennessey has never been particularly athletic, Gemma was worried about how much he had slowed down. So, whilst at work, she discussed it with the vet, and they tried him on medication. Alongside that, Gemma was also giving both dogs a joint supplement.
“To be honest, in the practice, there's probably about six or seven supplements on the shelf that we can choose from. So we tried each for a month or two to see if we noticed any change. But I often feel like when you give joint supplements, you never actually know if they're working or not,” says Gemma.
Hennessey had hydrotherapy regularly, but his mobility was no better, so they investigated further. “He had x-rays when he was six because we thought it could be his cruciate ligament, but it wasn't. It was osteoarthritis.”
Having some clarity on his mobility issues made Gemma more tentative with him.
“I guard him more than I guard his brother. I'm a bit more sensitive with him jumping up, jumping over things, or whatever he wants to do. I say, ‘No, you can't do this. Slow down.’ For about a year, I kept him on the lead just so that he couldn't charge around. I didn't want him doing any more damage.”
Whilst scrolling through social media, Gemma came across a post by Vetz Petz® Education Manager, Chloe White.
“I Googled Antinol® then to see what was in it, and I thought, ‘there's nothing in it that will harm him, and there are no known side effects – we'll just give it a try and see.’ It was the biggest change I'd ever seen using a supplement! Hennessey now jumps in the car on his own. I don't have to lift him up.”
Gemma took Hennessey and Metaxa on holiday and couldn’t believe the difference in him.
“Normally, after running on the beach for 20 minutes, he'd slow down and get a bit stiff. When we got home he would just lay down. Antinol® has changed that – he's quite hyperactive. With a whole week of running on the beach, I didn’t see any signs of stiffness.”
It’s helped improve the brother’s relationship too; they enjoy their time together now.
“I used to be worried about them playing because if Metaxa got too excitable, I was worried that he'd knock Hennessy over and hurt him. They run side by side now, which was never a thing in the past because Metaxa was much faster. Hennessey can actually keep up now!”
Gemma was so impressed with Antinol®, that she decided to feed it to Metaxa too.
“He's always been the athletic dog. He's always running after his ball and he's much more agile, so I never really thought that he had any signs of stiffness. But I started him on Antinol®, and wow! At the speed that he runs now he’s like a whippet! He seems looser and freer when he's running. He’s never really been stiff after walks, but now he’s become so much livelier, and the two of them play together more now.”
Getting the brothers to eat the Antinol® capsules has never been a problem.
“It's really funny. At seven o'clock every night, they stand at their cupboard waiting for their Antinol®. They’re so palatable. I have to watch Hennessy because he likes them so much, he might jump up and try to steal them. With other supplements, I have to hide them in cheese, but they will just eat Antinol® like a treat!”
Gemma hasn’t just seen a difference in their mobility. It’s impacted other parts of their lives too.
“Being German shepherds, they’ve got really thick coats, and it became so silky and much nicer to brush. I’d also say they're so much livelier! They were quiet dogs after they'd had their walk. Now they come home and play together and run around. Their whole demeanour seems much happier.”
Everyone is hearing about Antinol® from Gemma now. “I recommend it to everybody, out on walks, everywhere. I've given it to my parent's dog. He's 14 years old, with knee problems. He used to get pushed around in a pushchair, because he only walked for 10 minutes and then he'd give up. The pushchair doesn't come out now. He actually walks most of the walk by himself! He's much happier and he's not grumbly anymore when you pick him up.”
What would Gemma say to other pet parents considering Antinol® for their furry family member?
“Give Antinol® a try! Video your animals before and after. I watched back a video of the dogs running together, before Antinol®, and I can actually see the difference in how they're moving!”