Re: Dog limping
posted at 7/28/2011 3:53 AM EDT
UPDATE - We have found that "Tessa" has Canine Degenerative Myelopathy
My Wife was able to take our pups to the VETS today as we had a particular worry about Tessa. Our " Moose" of a Dog has had an issue with her balance and lack of ability to control her rear legs. The Vet prounced her fit for a 12 year old dog but the likely cause of her issue is Canine Degenerative Myelopathy
This effects dogs like Tessa and is similar to ALS in Humans. She is not in pain as the nerves stop working and the dog loses her ability to coordinate her hind legs.
She has had the issue for about 6-10 months and there is a chance it will become advanced. In these cases, the dog loses ability to move front paws and it can effect the other areas of the dog. Luckily, Tessa seems to be holding up well and still asks to go out on a walkies each morning with my wife pulling her around the block regardless of her issue. The VET stated that as long as she feels able, the more exercise we get her the better....My Missus also gives her suppliments like fish oil caps and glucosimine. Eventually, if the dog needed it, we could get her a set of rear wheels which are designed for dogs like this and would allow her to get out and about.....She is remarkably smart and still asks to go out the door for "walkies" each AM as it is what she enjoys.
For now, we'll see how it goes and do what we can for Miss Tessa......she is not in pain or suffering but is just having issues with getting old like all of us. At some point, it may become a quality of life issue, but for right now, we are not as worried about that as she is perky and full of the bright light in her eyes......
Here is some info from the web on the issue.
Canine Degenerative Myelopathy
Degenerative myelopathy typically affects dogs 5 - 14 years. The disease typically presents with a slowly progressive loss of coordination in the hind limbs, increasing weakness, and rear limb muscle atrophy. This occurs because of deterioration of neural tissues in the spinal cord that conduct nerve impulses. Specifically, the tissues that are graduallyy disappearing are the myelin and axons in the white matter. These changes may be found anywhere throughout the spinal cord, especially as the disease progresses, but they are most severe in the lower back (thoracolumbar) region. The fact that the disease is so prevalent in German Shepherds indicates that the primary origin of the disease is genetic. However, the mode of inheritance is not known.
The initial changes associted with canine degenerative myelopathy develop slowly and are frequently initially blamed on hip dysplasia, as hip dysplasia is another common disease that affects German Shepherds. The first signs are weakness and hind limb incoordination, which are more apparent when the dog is walking on a smooth surface. At first, the disease may be assymetrical, with one side more severely affected than the other. The condition does not appear to cause any pain, and dogs retain the ability to control urination and defecation, but as they become progressively weaker, they will be unable to move to an appropriate spot or assume the necessary posture to eliminate. These signs gradually worsen until the dog is unable to walk, in most cases several months to a year after the neurologic problems are first noticed.
There are no specific treatments for canine degenerative myelopathy. Management of the disease is therefore geared toward suggesting ways to help you adjust to your dog's gradually increasing limitations, and to recognize the point at which quality of life becomes the most humane option. Adjustments include hooking a towel under the abdomen just in front the rear limbs and pulling up on both ends to aid in walking and posturing to void, or even obtaining a wheelchair to carry the weight of the hind end of the body. Some dogs will be more ammenable to these adjustments than others.
Some veterinarians believe that treating with a combination of increased exercise, vitamin supplementation, and aminocaproic acid helps to slow the progression of degenerative myelopathy, but results are largely anecdotal with no studies available to confirm this..