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yellowgirl

Degenerative Myelopathy. Anyone have experience?

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My long-term foster boy, Pip, a 13 year old Chinese Crested, was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy in early June. His symptoms became very bad in a very short time and we thought we'd lose him in weeks rather than months. The best thing I did was to replace all the flooring with R10 non-slip vinyl like they have in nursing homes. His confidence with his balance and walking went right up straight away! (it was kind of a miracle really). 

 

Pip was originally diagnosed with Osteoarthritis and we started Cartrophen injections but his hind legs continued to deteriorate quite quickly. It became fairly obvious in a very short time that it was DM. This is what we've been doing since May when he first started having trouble with his hind legs...

28th May - started the first of x4 weekly Cartrophen injections (last one was 18th June).
4th June - started high dose of steroid medication (he's now on a lower, maintenance dose of 10mg Pred daily).
19th June - had new flooring put in. Specialty vinyl with an R10 non-slip rating. (made an immediate and major difference in Pip's balance and confidence).
28th June - started CBD oil (medical marijuana) daily. Our vet has okayed this as it won't interfere with other medications and DM is a rapidly progressive disease with no cure so he is happy for us to try anything that may assist in Pip's quality of life.
1st July - started 1000mg fish oil daily.
1st July - started physio/massage at home. Just some basic movement exercises for his back legs.
Continuing with - Glucosamine/Chondroitin joint powder at an increased level. 
Continuing with - Aust. made food with no colours, flavours, preservatives.

 

Here are a few videos of Pip. The first two show the early symptoms in June. The last one is a trip to the park last weekend, this is after the re-flooring, starting the fish oil, CBD oil and home physio. 

Has anyone else had experience with DM? I know that it's a rapidly progressive disease, no cure, and usually about 6 months quality of life from commencement of symptoms. Is there anything else I can do or try for Pip?  

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

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Boronia   

it looks as if you are doing all you can for him YG,

When I looked at the video of him with the dog-door I thought that you could, perhaps, stick some foam, or something soft and slippery, along the bottom of the door (this may be a chore as you would need to cut the bottom of the flappy-part so it didn't interfere with the foam). I get the feeling that the bottom of the dog-door may hurt him a little when his legs are dragged through.

I'm not telling you what to do at all; it's just an observation.

He is a dear little dog

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Thanks @Boronia, the doggy door is a tricky one because it's hard acrylic and I can't trim it at all. I attached the fluffy material to the flap so it doesn't scrape on their backs when they don't have shirts on but I can't put anything on the bottom part or it won't close. After I took this video I made sure that I always opened the door for Pip so he didn't have to use the doggy door, he was reluctant to use it anyway. In the past few weeks he just started using it again by himself .. and getting his legs through! I can't explain it but I sure am happy about it! :)  

Edited by yellowgirl
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Yellowgirl :) hello again .... Do hope you are keeping well - I won't ask about busy, cos it seems you are ! 
Dear pip - seems he is in just the right spot , with the best person . he did so enjoy that park  ! :)
Can't help with his illness- just wanted to say Hi  :)

:hug: 

 

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Not too bad, thanks, YG :) It really is good to know you are still caring for these lovely dogs . :love: Take care ..be kind to you , OK :) 

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I had two GSDs with DM a few decades ago. The disease wasn’t well understood then, and there wasn’t much available even for therapy or support. I considered acupuncture for one dog but the vet/acupuncturist didn’t think it would help. Surprisingly, my happy-go-lucky Sammy didn’t cope well and became very frightened of falling, whereas Missy - an introverted dog - adapted well and taught herself to seek support from walls and fences. I even found her, on one occasion, propped against the clothes hoist while she showed her young apprentice how to dig holes in the lawn.:)

 

The fact that your dog has developed a technique for getting through the doggy door seems like a good sign - confidence and adaptation is so important, I think.

 

Have you considered a mobility cart? I found an overseas vendor’s website with a lot of information on carts for dogs with DM, but I don’t know if there’s anything available in Australia.

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Thanks so much for your input @DogsAndTheMob, I really appreciate it :)  Love the story of Missy propping herself against the clothes line! Every now and then Pip will attempt to use a wall or tree to lean his leg against to do a wee but most of the time he just squats now. 

I've definitely looked into a mobility cart, full body harnesses, etc. There's more available in Australia now, thank goodness. He's not at the stage where he needs wheels, but I've noticed that he's starting to lose muscle around his front legs too now so I don't think a cart would be the way to go for him once he starts getting really bad. My main priority is that he has the best quality of life while he's still able to function :heart:  Can I ask how long your Sammy and Missy were able to manage once their symptoms started? At what stage did you decide it was time to give them their wings? 

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After all this time I can’t remember how long it was - between six and twelve months, I think. With Sammy, the precipitating factor was when she wore her hind claws down to the quick; Back then, GSD sized booties weren’t available. She still had some hindquarters mobility and enjoyed bark on command and shell games in lieu of more active training, and the DM wasn’t causing her pain, but I worried that the damage to her claws would hurt.

Missy had lost most of her hindquarter strength but was still very strong in her forequarters when I gave her her wings; we helped her walk using a towel under her stomach to support her. For her, the precipitating factor was when a passer-by leant over the fence and persisted in talking to my other dog even though I asked her to go away. Missy dragged herself down the path and the passer-by reported us to the RSPCA. Thank goodness I was able to demonstrate that we’d been actively canvassing vets for treatment. However, I felt that I could no longer protect Missy from harm.

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3 hours ago, DogsAndTheMob said:

After all this time I can’t remember how long it was - between six and twelve months, I think. With Sammy, the precipitating factor was when she wore her hind claws down to the quick; Back then, GSD sized booties weren’t available. She still had some hindquarters mobility and enjoyed bark on command and shell games in lieu of more active training, and the DM wasn’t causing her pain, but I worried that the damage to her claws would hurt.

Missy had lost most of her hindquarter strength but was still very strong in her forequarters when I gave her her wings; we helped her walk using a towel under her stomach to support her. For her, the precipitating factor was when a passer-by leant over the fence and persisted in talking to my other dog even though I asked her to go away. Missy dragged herself down the path and the passer-by reported us to the RSPCA. Thank goodness I was able to demonstrate that we’d been actively canvassing vets for treatment. However, I felt that I could no longer protect Missy from harm.

Thank you for going back into those memories @DogsAndTheMob, not an easy thing to have to recollect, so I do appreciate it. Protecting them from harm .. that's so important with DM. The only good thing about it is that it's a painless progression .. but as you mentioned with your Sammy, nails being ground down to the quick or wounds to the feet and legs as they drag them can quickly become infected, and of course any stumbling or falling can result in an injury. I do worry about  little Pip and I'm always thinking about or searching for things that will make his life safer and easier. Ebay must love me!

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Panto   

Hey @yellowgirl

 

How is Pip doing? 

 

I have experience with this. We consulted and exhausted all specialists available to us. Feel free to PM :) 

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57 minutes ago, Panto said:

Hey @yellowgirl

 

How is Pip doing? 

 

I have experience with this. We consulted and exhausted all specialists available to us. Feel free to PM :) 

Hi @Panto, sadly we lost Pip at the end of November :cry:  His organs started shutting down and his beautiful old body just failed him. I was pretty shattered to lose him, he was the dearest boy, I was honoured to be his guardian for the time he was with me :heart: 

 

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Panto   
On 5/15/2019 at 3:43 PM, yellowgirl said:

Hi @Panto, sadly we lost Pip at the end of November :cry:  His organs started shutting down and his beautiful old body just failed him. I was pretty shattered to lose him, he was the dearest boy, I was honoured to be his guardian for the time he was with me :heart: 

 

I'm so sorry @yellowgirl :cry: 

He was certainly lucky to be with you, and no doubt both blessed to have found each other. 

Run free Pip :rainbowbridge:

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