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BRUMI1968

Anyone's Dog Have Dm

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Hi all. My Emmett (see avatar) just got diagnosed as probably having Degenerative Myelopathy. This is when the nerves in the spinal column lose their sheath (myelin) and short circuits start happening. He can barely use one of his back legs now. Three weeks ago he was going on 16 mike hikes - now he gets tired too quickly from using his front legs to do all the work. It's depressing. He's 9 - so not a spring chicken - but we were hoping for 12 or 15 -- one of those really old grey dudes barely able to walk from old age instead of from some weird disease.

Anyway, anyomne who has lived through this -- can you share anything that might help?

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I am so sorry for your furry freind. It is so very hard to deal with their pain, it is not like you can explain to them what is going on. Just on the off chance it might help are you feeding him gluten free food? Perhaps that might help, if gluten can mess up our nervous systems it can also mess up a dogs if he is sensitive to it and gluten is in most mainstream dog foods in one form or another. If you haven't tried it already it might be worth a shot.

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I found this:

High potency B-complex (B 50)

400 IU of vitamin E daily (over 2 years of age, give 800 IU)

250 mg vitamin C twice a day (over 2 years of age, give 500 mg)

100 mg of selenium daily (over 2 years of age, give 200 mcg)

500 mg of borage oil twice a day

12,500 IU Beta Carotene (over 2 years of age, give 25,000)

1 mg/kg (or 1 capsule) Ginkgo bilboa 2-3 times a day

1 capsule (or cup) Green tea, twice a day

50 mg grape seed extract, once a day

2 sardines or 1 T ground flax seeds

1-2 Raw Garlic Cloves (crushed)

Note: Add the supplements gradually, one new supplement every few days. That way, if something does not agree with your dog, you will know what has caused the problem. Overloading the digestive system of a dog with many new items, all at once, is never advised. Vitamin C is not recommended for dogs with IBD.

http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/dogdisease...mylopathy_3.htm

I dont know if it will help, but supplements cant hurt - introduce one at a time.

I also found this information for your veterinarian as well as yourself. It is not a common disorder so many vets have not seen it before. It is considered autoimmune.

http://www.upei.ca/cidd/Diseases/nervous%2...0myelopathy.htm

There are several conditions that can cause this kind of weakness in the hind end, in middle-aged medium to large breed dogs. Your veterinarian will do a thorough neurologic exam on your dog and x-rays, to rule out other causes.

For the veterinarian: Rule-outs include diskospondylitis, myelitis, intervertebral disc protrusion, and spinal neoplasia. Abnormalities on neurologic examination are consistent with an upper motor neuron lesion in the T3-L3 region, and include decreased proprioception and placing reactions in the hind limbs, normal to exaggerated patellar and hind limb withdrawal reflexes, normal anal sphincter tone, and sometimes crossed extensor reflexes in the pelvic limbs. Occasionally patellar reflexes are depressed or absent in one or even both legs, but this is an afferent rather than an LMN lesion.

Hope this helps. I am sorry to hear that your active Emmett has been diagnosed with DM :(

Sandy

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I am so sorry for your furry freind. It is so very hard to deal with their pain, it is not like you can explain to them what is going on. Just on the off chance it might help are you feeding him gluten free food? Perhaps that might help, if gluten can mess up our nervous systems it can also mess up a dogs if he is sensitive to it and gluten is in most mainstream dog foods in one form or another. If you haven't tried it already it might be worth a shot.

Actually, Emmett has been eating raw food for some time, totally grain free. I am a bit worried that because for a spell he didn't have any bone, he might've gotten calcium deficiency, which can affect your nerves.

And, the good news about DM, if such a thing can exist, is that it is painless -- in fact, what is happening is that he's losing communication with his hind end. It starts in the legs, then eventually moves into the bladder/pooper control, then eventually they stop breathing, though that is a long ways down the road I hope. Prognosis is that the dog will die from the disease -- it is just a matter of so many factors as to progression, that no one can guess. Some dogs last weeks, others last years. I'm voting for years!

I'm going to supplement him on B vitamins, copper, and calcium in addition to the omega 3's he already gets. Thanks for thinking of the gluten though! Dog's don't exactly go about baking bread in the wild, do they? That would be a funny site - a pack of wolves baking some bread around a fire!

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I found this:

High potency B-complex (B 50)

400 IU of vitamin E daily (over 2 years of age, give 800 IU)

250 mg vitamin C twice a day (over 2 years of age, give 500 mg)

100 mg of selenium daily (over 2 years of age, give 200 mcg)

500 mg of borage oil twice a day

12,500 IU Beta Carotene (over 2 years of age, give 25,000)

1 mg/kg (or 1 capsule) Ginkgo bilboa 2-3 times a day

1 capsule (or cup) Green tea, twice a day

50 mg grape seed extract, once a day

2 sardines or 1 T ground flax seeds

1-2 Raw Garlic Cloves (crushed)

Note: Add the supplements gradually, one new supplement every few days. That way, if something does not agree with your dog, you will know what has caused the problem. Overloading the digestive system of a dog with many new items, all at once, is never advised. Vitamin C is not recommended for dogs with IBD.

http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/dogdisease...mylopathy_3.htm

I dont know if it will help, but supplements cant hurt - introduce one at a time.

I also found this information for your veterinarian as well as yourself. It is not a common disorder so many vets have not seen it before. It is considered autoimmune.

http://www.upei.ca/cidd/Diseases/nervous%2...0myelopathy.htm

There are several conditions that can cause this kind of weakness in the hind end, in middle-aged medium to large breed dogs. Your veterinarian will do a thorough neurologic exam on your dog and x-rays, to rule out other causes.

For the veterinarian: Rule-outs include diskospondylitis, myelitis, intervertebral disc protrusion, and spinal neoplasia. Abnormalities on neurologic examination are consistent with an upper motor neuron lesion in the T3-L3 region, and include decreased proprioception and placing reactions in the hind limbs, normal to exaggerated patellar and hind limb withdrawal reflexes, normal anal sphincter tone, and sometimes crossed extensor reflexes in the pelvic limbs. Occasionally patellar reflexes are depressed or absent in one or even both legs, but this is an afferent rather than an LMN lesion.

Hope this helps. I am sorry to hear that your active Emmett has been diagnosed with DM :(

Sandy

Thanks so much! I'd been looking at the work of Dr. Clemens, and many of those supplements are on his list, but not all. I'll certainly look into adding those. My vet wanted me to add the salmon oil first to see if it helped - I always add everything and then we can't figure out what helped - but that was before we knew how fast things were going to be progressing. I'm at least going to add copper/calcium/b vitamins OR have him tested for deficiencies there. I almost bought Borage Oil yesterday.

I'll look into these and get started adding them. I don't want to wait too long to do some good.

There is also two drugs that folks use, that you have to have made into paste at a lab, but they help some dogs. They are both some kind of acid I forget the name of right now. I might try that as well, after I try the natural supplements. Thanks again.

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Hello, I am wondering if that is what my sisters old Pit bull had. Unfortuneatly he did also get a blood clot in his right hip. so I had to put him down, me and my sister could not afford the surgery to remove it. My sister was in Iraq serving our country when I had to put him down. He was the best dog I have ever known.

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They really are such great dogs. We've had two, and will probably stick with the breed (or an English Bull Terrier, which is what my partner wants - he's practically obsessed with them). PB's/Staffys are not prone to the disease, but all dogs CAN get it. They still don't know what causes it. I think boxers have a slight propensity for it.

Emmett is doing alright. We are getting back the last set of blood work, and if it comes back alright, then we are probably looking at DM. Weird - a disease the "diagnose" by everything looking just fine. In fact, they don't officially diagnose the disease until the dog is dead and they do a necropsy.

Anyway, sorry to hear about your sister's dog. It's so tough. We had to put our American Staffordshire Terrier down before we got Emmett. She had massive breast cancer and a mastectomy didn't keep it out of her lymph system.

I wonder how many dogs are orphaned by war - obviously in the place of war, but also back home where folks have to leave. I think of all the dogs orphaned in Katrina. I saw so many dogs for adoption from Katrina -- you can still see it on Petfinder or whatever. That, and cities going with breed specific dog laws. Denver, for example -- a lot of dogs need to be adopted from Denver, and from Yakima, WA.

Take care.

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Actually, I think my dog has this. She is a very small (45 lb) german shepherd. She is 12, and was put on kidney food and a medicine because she was wetting her bed (even if my hubby let her out every time she stirred during the night, poor dear). She's also on a supplement for arthritis, which got that pained look off her face.

But when I went back to my vet and said her legs just seemed weaker .. . like, she was such a dominant female, she would lift a leg to pee, and she's started to fall over when she does that, so she squats now. One of the things he did was flip her paws upside down, and he said that the fact that it takes her a second or two to flip them back, indicates its probably that. He didnt suggest testing, because he said testing is expensive and there's really no treatment - plus, 12 is pretty old for a dog.

What I've read said that it can either go fast or go slow - for her, it seems slow. She was dx'd with it at least 3-4 months ago, and she's still walking fine, even going up and down the stairs with no problem - she just trips sometimes tho. We never took really long walks, just around the block a few times a day - but when she was young, she could jump a 4 foot fence from a standstill, and now she falls if she tries to jump up a 2 foot embankment.

I met a woman who said she does chiropractic for dogs to help with that, but I havent been inspired yet . . . i have a hard enough time keeping up with the health problems of me and my three kids and my husband, sigh.

Sorry I dont have any good advice

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Actually, I think my dog has this. She is a very small (45 lb) german shepherd. She is 12, and was put on kidney food and a medicine because she was wetting her bed (even if my hubby let her out every time she stirred during the night, poor dear). She's also on a supplement for arthritis, which got that pained look off her face.

But when I went back to my vet and said her legs just seemed weaker .. . like, she was such a dominant female, she would lift a leg to pee, and she's started to fall over when she does that, so she squats now. One of the things he did was flip her paws upside down, and he said that the fact that it takes her a second or two to flip them back, indicates its probably that. He didnt suggest testing, because he said testing is expensive and there's really no treatment - plus, 12 is pretty old for a dog.

What I've read said that it can either go fast or go slow - for her, it seems slow. She was dx'd with it at least 3-4 months ago, and she's still walking fine, even going up and down the stairs with no problem - she just trips sometimes tho. We never took really long walks, just around the block a few times a day - but when she was young, she could jump a 4 foot fence from a standstill, and now she falls if she tries to jump up a 2 foot embankment.

I met a woman who said she does chiropractic for dogs to help with that, but I havent been inspired yet . . . i have a hard enough time keeping up with the health problems of me and my three kids and my husband, sigh.

Sorry I dont have any good advice

Well thanks for your story anyway. It does sound like the same thing, and German Shepherds get this disease quite frequently; sometimes it is even called German Shepherd Degenerative Myelopathy (GSDM). For us the diagnosis is harder because you can't really be SURE that is what a dog has -- and since our breed isn't prone to it, there's always a slight question about whether or not it's that or cancer or a bulging disc or what...which is frustrating. Anyway, thanks for your story. Good luck.

Our Emmett has stabalized slightly, and we are about to try him out on some drugs they've got for the disease.

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Hey Guys

I'm brand new here, but came in search of some advice about putting down a dog with DM... i have read the posts here, and it sounds like we have all seen the same unfortunate symptoms of DM. I have a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, also a dog that is new on the "at risk" list.

Barley was diagnosed at the end of August, and has been a real trooper for the last 7 months. Today, for the first time, he looks sad. His legs kept giving out, even when we were outside, he would fall and just look at me with a confused little look on his face. He is still eating (he is a food monster through and through!) but I can tell that he is just not the same dog today as he was yesterday. I am going to wait until the morning and see how he feels, but I think tomorrow will be the day where I have to make the call. Barley is the first dog I've ever owned, and so I've never been through this before.

I have talked to the vet about the logistics of putting him down, and have decided that I want to be there with him, but I am also really nervous for those last couple of minutes. I don't know what to expect but I know that that will most likely be some hard minutes to go through. I will be so so sad to not have my best buddy, but I can't go on watching him trip and stumble and fall to the groud, defeated. He has always been determined and managed to look unphased by the lack of coordination in his hind, but today he looks different.

Anyway, it feels better to write this all out. I am so sorry for anyone else who's dog has been diagnosed. I have been giving him garlic, ginger and olive oil to keep his immune system strong, but I realize that it is inevitable, and Barley is not getting any better. Although I am filled with sadness, I also am filled with honor for being able to own such a really cool dog for his lifetime.

Best of luck to everyone, I will be online again tomorrow to write again about what happened.

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I am so sorry to hear that Barley is at the end of his battle with DM.

It will be the hardest day.... when you bring him in. :(

I am an AHT and I want to help you understand some things about the process of euthanasia- it may or may not help you.... I am just so sad for you and Barley.

I would ask the veterinary staff that all paperwork , questions etc are taken care of ahead of time, so that when its over, you can just leave. There is a form you have to sign that gives consent, and there will be options about caring for Barley after - cremation, burial (if you have a site in mind), private cremations are available where the ashes are returned to you.

A pet is given an overdose of a drug that is given in a vein - some vets will sedate a pet prior to injecting the drug...this eases anxiety and allows owners some quiet time and final goodbyes with their beloved family member. You can ask for a sedative if you think Barley needs it.

It is usually very quick - often within seconds. You should let them know that this is the first time you are experiencing this - and ask them to explain how they will do it and what to expect. I hate talking about this in writing, I'd much rather have my hand on your hand sitting with you and quietly explaining everything....sometimes if a pet has a chronic illness or circulatory issues...the drug may take a minute or two to reach the brain (it's a concentrated anesthetic drug), you may see what appears to be a gasp from the pet - but it is an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm...a frightening thing to witness if you have not been forewarned...if it does happen, please know this happens AFTER the heart is not longer beating, there is no pain, your beloved pet's pain has already ceased... I have only seen it occur occasionally.

Enough clinical stuff.

For you, it will be heartwrenching, but it is truly an act of love...you are seeing through Barley's eyes - that he is in pain and cannot enjoy life as he has in the past. You are offering the gift of a peaceful exit, that he gets to be with you and know your kind touch, he will not die alone.

It is when we do all we can to keep them alive one more day, and then we must ask ourselves " Who am I doing this for?" If an animal is suffering and they have depended on you for food, a home, love and all that we give them ....then they also depend on us to see when life is near its end.

The same question can be asked when considering euthanasia : " Who am I doing this for?"

If the answer is: " I am doing it for my pet, to ease his suffering"...then you are acting out of love.

I hope that the staff are kind and gentle with Barley, and with you. You both deserve nothing less.

Sandy

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Hi Sandy,

thanks for taking the time to write back! So this morning when I got up, i took Barley out, and he seemed a little more chipper today than yesterday. He was excited for his walk, and ate his (larger than usual!) breakfast... so I will wait it out today and see how he seems to be feeling. Yesterday I could have been positive that he was "telling me", but this morning was different... so i'm not sure what to do but wait?

My boyfriend is coming back into town tomorrow, so maybe it's best to wait until then anyway so I don't have to be solo on this trip with him :(

Either way, your advice is much appreciated, and I will keep updating here! It feels like a bit of a relief to share this online, and know that others have experience with these situations. I know i'm not the first person to have to put down their dog, and the support really is comforting :)

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wow so much to think about! My 12-yo Queen is tripping more and more, but most of the time she just gets up as if she didnt notice. But now that I think about it - who do I want there with me ... the almost-12-yo is very emotional and attached to her, we got her when he was an infant. the 15 yo doesnt care much and wont want to be there. THe 4 yo has gotten really close to her - my mom had her for much of his life, but she's been back here since summer. Is is appropriate to let a 4 yo be there? And if he's not there, my husband certainly wont be . .. ugg . . . i've never had to go through this before, either. all of the dogs I had as a child or an adult died - hit by a car or at the vet for other reasons. I also felt bad reading that bit about you know you're doing it for the dog - because i just dont want to keep a dog who cant walk. I mean, sure, part of it is hard for the dog who cant do those basics . . . but i dont know if the dog would rather live or die, I just know that I cant handle having an incontinent dog I have to carry in and out of the house .. . I'm so dreading this . .. and barley seems a few steps ahead of us . .. thoughts w u two also . ..

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Sick animals require us (owners) to sometimes make the decision to end their suffering.. The animals dont have conflicted thoughts about living or dying. Because they are domesticated, humans interupt the cycle of life - in that only the fittest survive - the sick and the weak succmb to the elements or to predators in the wild or on the street. Domesticated animals are protected, medicated and nursed back to health in the safety of a home, by a human.

It is the owner who knows their pet the best, if the pet refuses to eat or drink, cries continually in pain or struggles to breathe, to walk, feels crappy due to organ failure ...it is the choice of that owner to make the pet comfortable, allow nature to take its course and hope for a peaceful death (which can and does happen when pets die in their sleep at home).

I was just wanting to offer that if euthanasia is the choice - then most often an owner is doing it out of love for their pet but it is a very difficult decision.

As for the choice of staying with the pet while it happens:

!) Children should never be told the pet is "being put to sleep"... this is the term doctors use when putting children under anesthesia. It can make the child fearful of ging to sleep at night or that they think the pet will wake up again since it is "just asleep". Children are concrete in how they think. I say this to a child: " Your pet is very sick/hurt and we will be giving him an injection to help him/her to die peacefully. I also add that this is not something they give to people and it is different than any medicines that help people and pets get better when they are sick

2) Some owners want to be there when the injection is done, others choose to wait and then come in afterwards and say a final goodbye. Others place their trust in us and simply say goodbye to their pet and then leave,...... the euthanasia is performed as soon as they leave.

3) Children can be present - if they want to be, and the parents feel it will be okay. Under some circumstances we ask that children wait and come in afterwards. If a small child is crying and upset, it is best that they are not present but offer them a lock of fur, an impression of a pawprint - that kind of thing.

Each circumstance, each family is individual, and each pet's illness or injury unique.

Sandy

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hey dbmamaz,

I'm sorry to hear that you are having to face the same difficult decision soon, especially with a disease where there seems to be no certain defining moment to end the life of your dog. Barley has had stumbles and trips too, and again, he usually looks unphased when it happens... but now he is having trouble standing on his own, and is struggling with the stairs etc. I have been watching him carefully to see signs of resignation on his part, and now i'm just not sure what he's feeling. Time will tell i guess..

I am terrified that if I make this call too soon, that we will be at the vet and he will be scared or give me a look of "what are you doing to me?". I need to be absolutely sure that this is the right time before I go in, and the fact that he seemed a little happier today made me doubt if he really was ready.

DM is horrible, it's the worst to watch your pet decline like this. I know Barley is not in pain, but that doesn't make it any easier to watch him fall, drag his feet, cross his legs, or stand on his knuckles. He really has no coordination in his back end now, and watching him fall with a frustrated look on his face makes it even worse. His usual "get back up" attitude seems to be fading. But like I said, today is better than yesterday, so I'll wait and see. But i know the outcome is inevitable, and i know that it is my call to make when the time is right.

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You can do it at home at any time - with soft clay - like you get at a craft store. Or store bought play dough can be used - but has wheat (yuck) and can create skin issues for the person.

You work the clay til its soft, the pet can either stand on it or you can push the paw into the clay. Make sure the clay is soft so you dont have to push hard. Then you can get plaster of or some other material, fill the "mold" you made and let it set - and then you will have a "cast" of your pet's foot. This is easier to do with dogs than with cats!

Some vet clinics carry commercial kits for this purpose. ..or you can ask ahead of time of the staff could do this for you / help you with it.

Big hugs to Barley

Sandy

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My friend's a veterinarian, and she said that your dog may just have injured a disc and maybe you should try accupuncture (sp?)-- worth a try! :) :)

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hey dbmamaz,

I'm sorry to hear that you are having to face the same difficult decision soon, . . . .

Thanks - its kinda cool to find someone else going thru the same thing at the same time, esp here of all places! I hope we both feel right about it when the time comes!

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Hello, I am wondering if that is what my sisters old Pit bull had. Unfortuneatly he did also get a blood clot in his right hip. so I had to put him down, me and my sister could not afford the surgery to remove it. My sister was in Iraq serving our country when I had to put him down. He was the best dog I have ever known.

We just lost our kitty to a blood clot that cut off circulation to his hindquarters. He also had a heart murmur and diabetes for the last 2 years (which was when we got him)--he was only 9 or 10. It was the first time we've had to make that gut-wrenching decision to euthanize (something I have always HATED), but the vet was clear that he felt that it was the only choice, and that our kitty was in a LOT of pain, and would likely never regain use of his hindquarters. His poor little back paws were so cold...

I hope things improve for all the poor animals on this thread. At least they have owners who love them, though!

{{{HUGS}}}

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