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Old 06-08-2014, 10:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need a little advice... GSD with possible DM

hey everyone. first time poster here.. i think.... well i will start out with my dog Marley. She is a little over 10. She had some trouble with her left leg yesterday. Was dragging her knuckle like the nerves were completely shot. after seeing the vet and doing some research i have come up with the symptoms being exactly what degenerative myelopathy. Basically a hereditary disease her parents must of had. There is no cure. the positives are that she's in no pain. The negatives are that its only going to get worse. Just don't know how long it will take. Anyone dealt with this? The neurologist wants 2500.00 for an MRI but i seems like i would be paying that to tell me what i know. She can still get around but drags her foot. I have bought her boots and a harness. My other issue is my wife and I have a one year anniversary trip overseas in 3 weeks. I would be heartbroken if something happened while i was gone. I am going to board her at the vet probably but she has never been boarded in her life. and lastly, my new job has me traveling overseas twice in the 3 times in the next 3 months. I'm so torn. Any advice? Im sorry for such a long post jut looking for some examples and advice. Ive never had to deal with an older dog and possibility of losing one. thanks in advance.
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Old 06-08-2014, 10:51 PM   #2 (permalink)
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First, sorry you are dealing with this.
You need to rule out everything else first, injuries, arthritis, etc. Then you can do a quick and cheap swap test and see if she actually could have DM. I think OFA has them. Personally I wouldn't do the MRI, but that's just me.
I can tell you that DM doesn't usually happen quickly. It isn't normal for the symptoms to suddenly appear and usually the first thing owners notice is the sound of the dogs nails dragging or scuffing.
If it is DM, swimming is awesome and exercise is a must, diet becomes very important and proper weight must be maintained.
Stem cell treatments, IMO need a lot more research. Some have reported success, some haven't.
My vet told me ultimately it is a disease that comes down to how much you can take, not the dog. Some owners hang on to the bitter end with the dog completely immobile and in diapers. I couldn't and neither could my dog.
Although some dogs hang in there for a lengthy period of time, average time from onset of symptoms is 8-18 months.
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Old 06-08-2014, 11:04 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for responding. Some positive things that you told me is that my dog has been getting stem cell once a year and still has cells left for her front elbow. Also I have a pool so that helps. Thank you again.
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Old 06-08-2014, 11:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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agreed , I wouldn't spend $2,500 for an MRI . This is a 10 year old dog, with a non-cure condition . So I would do everything in my might though to mitigate the situation , slow the decline as much as possible and give ex life extension with as much quality as possible.

give "good" source of protein , antioxidant , anti inflammatory , sources of choline , B12 , Foods That Improve Myelination | LIVESTRONG.COM bone broth, anything to help build collagen , selenium/magnesium .

Wobbler's which is associated with Doberman and Great Danes and GSD , is something which a friend of mine is experiencing with her young Dane . This is something I found for her New hope for treating wobblers syndrome

have no idea if it works but this video clip is very interesting.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carmspack View Post
essential fatty acids -- high omega 3 - helps with brain and nerve development and an oil (fish) that has a good dose of DHA which will help with myelination for nerve impulse MAY BE one of the ways to affect a preventive course against DM .
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Old 06-08-2014, 11:26 PM   #5 (permalink)
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whether the dog has DM or not , the nutritional additions to diet that I mentioned will benefit the dog regardless.
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Old 06-09-2014, 06:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If this dog has never been boarded, is there anyway you can have someone live in your house and care for her while you are gone?! Someone who can also take the time to help her in and out? The stress and slick concrete surfaces may not be what is best for her right now.

Did the vet send in a test to University of Missouri for the DM gene? It is not that expensive. We went through some neurologic issues on a 9 year old and wound up with a different diagnosis, probably an extruded disc........but did not do the myelogram and MRI they offered but said, really? I was not going to do a very risky back surgery so we opted for conservative management. There are so many things that can cause these symptoms.

DM is very gradual in onset. They can have a spinal stroke (one sided/sudden onset), a disk injury, any number of things. Acupuncture and cold laser helped us and restored function over a period of about 6 months.
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Old 06-09-2014, 07:55 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Dr. Clemmons at UF developed an antioxidant supplement for DM. He put my dog on it for Wobblers. You need a rx, but can buy it from West Lab pharmacy here in Gainesville, Fl, and they'll ship it.

Does she have anything else wrong besides the dragging? Lumbosacral problems are also common in the GSD.

Sorry you're going through this.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I would include chlorella, spirulina, garlic, parsley, MSM , NAC , sulfur providing ingredients . Antioxidants, high levels natural vitamin C . B 12 . Selenium - . Magnesium from FOOD sources . Fish oil high in the DHA portion .


Also - often overlooked , make sure your dog's nails are trimmed properly . Long nails affect posture. An older dog with decline in muscle tone will experience a greater response .
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:32 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Here's Dr. Clemmons' list of recommended supplements. He's got recommended doses for dogs with DM, and healthy dogs.

Degenerative Myelopathy of German Shepherds

ETA: Since knuckling-under can be so many other things, I think I'd ask for some radiographs of the spine and hips, and perhaps do several acupuncture sessions over a couple of weeks. Acupuncture isn't inexpensive, but you'll know right away if it helps. To me, it would be worth the experiment--when it helps dogs with nerve or spinal issues, it can be dramatic. If it's spinal pain or a nerve issue, you may well see improvement after a single session (though it won't necessarily last long after just one session).

Last edited by Magwart; 06-09-2014 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 06-09-2014, 12:06 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I thought my dog had DM. She had all the symptoms but turns out she just has horrible hips. Did your vet do x-rays? I wouldn't spend the $2500 either. There is a test for abou $65 you can do to see if it is DM. Orthopedic Foundation for Animals
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