Diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy
So I took my girl Cedar to the vet today for weakness in her rear end and got a diagnosis of DM. Only thing is, I'm wondering if this is truly the right diagnosis.
I got home from work last night at 6 pm. I took my dogs out to play and everything was normal. No lameness or weakness that I noticed (key word is noticed). I went inside to have dinner and when I went back outside to play with the dogs again, I noticed Cedar was a little off. She had a tiny bit of lameness in her rear legs. Hardly noticeably though. I brushed it off not thinking much of it. We went inside and she layed around for a while. When she went to get up, she struggled quite badly. The weakness she has is quite bad after she lays around for a while, but is hardly there when she's warmed up. It's better today than it was yesterday, at least slightly anyway. She can get up on her own slowly today, but last night she couldn't with help.
So I took her to the vet and got a diagnosis of DM. He downplayed and acted like it was no big deal. He mentioned he's seen young dogs get DM and live long, normal lives. I know this isn't true since this is a fatal disease (I learned that after my appointment). So that makes me wonder if he doesn't truly know what DM is and uses it as a catch phrase for everything that isn't hips or spinal cord related (which he believes he ruled out by doing a physical exam).
Her only symptom is this sudden weakness in her rear end. She is 3.5 years old and has never had any issues like this before. As I said, when she's warmed up, she can run and jump (not that I let her right now) just fine. I watched her chase after my other dog, and she's as fast as ever. But when she lays around, she stiffens right up.
So with all that in mind, and I know that nobody can say with any certainty, but does this sound like it is likely DM? Other than hips and spinal cord, what else should I consider?
If this turns out to be DM, what can I do? Lots of exercise? What about any vitamins or supplements? Can medicine or surgery slow the progression? Anything I can do at all?
My poor girl has an enlarged heart and has pannus, and now she's dealing with this, all at the age of 3 and a half. She's a very happy girl and has a good life, but she hasn't had the best luck of the draw.
I'm pretty worried right now.
Cedar - August 8, 2010
Titan - October 20, 2011