Degenerative Neuropathy - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 07-06-2011, 04:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Degenerative Neuropathy

Hello all...Twelve days ago I took my 2 gsds to the vet for their check ups and shots. My fears about my 10 year old male were confirmed; he has degenerative neuropathy, as well as arthritis in his spine. About a year ago we noticed he had lost a lot of muscle mass in his rear legs. The vet was cautious and said it was a symptom of getting older. We had noticed over the past few months that he was losing control over his back legs and sometimes stumbled on his front legs. Now, he limps on his left front leg and often drags his rear feet. The vet did some reflex test on all four legs...very little reaction in the rear, only moderate reaction in the front. Our vet said he will continue to deteriorate, and based on his current condition, she said he probably will not make it to next summer. He still has that sparkle for life, wants to play fetch, etc. We still play his favorite games, on a scaled down basis. Has anyone else had a gsd with this disease? Any advice? We want to make his remaining time as comfortable and fulfilling as possible! HELP!!!
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Old 07-06-2011, 04:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's so very hard when our lovely companions have health issues. I don't have any advice on this but just want to say the Vets don't have all the answers and how much time a living creature has. It sounds like he still has a lot of life left in him. Best of luck and I hope you get some helpful advice here.
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Old 07-06-2011, 05:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have one the same age - same thing....and as long as he has control of his functions, can get around, and is happy ...... he will continue to go for rides, get treats and live as normally as possible....when he cannot get around, is not in control of his bodily functions, then I will know it is time...

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Old 07-06-2011, 05:33 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The one thing that should console you is that the condition is not painful.

The worst thing about watching my old GSDx go through DM was the gradual loss of function, which she did not understand... she was still all there, mentally. But she would get stuck in corners, and fall over and have a hard time getting up, which frustrated her; she would also poop in her sleep, which disgusted her. But she still got the newspaper for me every single morning, though I often had to help her get up and down the steps. She still played with her toys and would retrieve as well as she could. She ate like a horse up until her dying day.

As long as your dog has a good, happy attitude, his quality of life can be good for quite a while. Just keep him comfortable, pick him up when he falls, and let him know you'll be there for him. The trust he has in you means so much right now.
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Old 07-06-2011, 05:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My GSD had DM. She lived her last year or so to the fullest. And when it was time to let her go, it was the right thing to do for her. She could no longer stand by herself anymore. We had to help her around the last few months. I would support her back end and let her go after her favorite toy and she loved it. You'll know when its time to let your dog go. Hugs to you!
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Old 07-06-2011, 10:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Stem cell treatment worked miracles for my boy with DM. Another dog I know had a similar response. This is the thread with the before and after videos.

Success: stem cell treatment for degenerative myelopathy
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Old 07-07-2011, 06:17 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you to all of you for your support and advice. As to the stem cell treatment, my gsd does not have DM, he has DN (degenerative neuropathy). So, the vet told me there are no treatments for this disease. If anyone knows differently, please let me know!!
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Old 07-07-2011, 08:47 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KayElle View Post
...he has DN (degenerative neuropathy). So, the vet told me there are no treatments for this disease.
AFAIK there is no useful, affordable treatment at this time for a dog with this condition. I was going to say I had a dog who suffered from this condition, but as far as I could tell he was never in any pain. I had to dock his tail at age 7 or 8 because he couldn't feel the end anymore and he tore it open repeatedly. I put him down the day he couldn't get around anymore (2 months before his 11th birthday). That was the only time in his life that he didn't growl at me when I picked him up (Mink line over Gildo).
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Old 07-07-2011, 09:04 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Based on my research, this disease appears to be genetic, but there are no genetic tests yet to detect it. If I am wrong about this, please let me know. I emailed the breeder to let her know about this. I thought that she, as a responsible breeder, would want to know that her line carries DN.

Also, I feel that this disease is better than others -- although none would be better -- simply because he is not in any pain from it. Only the arthritis in his spine give him some pain, but we are treating that. Trying VERY hard to keep him happy and make him feel loved and needed!!
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Old 07-07-2011, 12:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I was told that DN has the same symptoms and progression as DM.

I agree, since the disease causes no pain at least our dear friends are comfortable and painfree.
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