Confusing symptoms in 13 yo GSD any thoughts? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 01:28 PM Thread Starter
New Member
 
vulky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 10
Confusing symptoms in 13 yo GSD any thoughts?

Hello everyone. I was hoping to get some input on a problem I am having with my dog, Sherman.

First I have to say he is 13 years old, has canine hemophilia, arthritis, and five years ago was treated for two crushed discs in his back. When he had the episode with the bad discs, he started in the morning with a hunched walk and was completely paralyzed by the time I had driven him to a specialist 2 hours away. We received what was, in my opinion, very expensive and poor treatment, but long story short, after a blood transfusion, pain killers, steroids, and three months of nursing a dog who could not walk (and having to guess and hope I was doing the right things - no support from the specialist), he regained mobility but with significant degeneration of muscle in his rear legs.

Fast forward to now - he started "wobbling" about a month ago upon rising and after too much activity. We assumed it was arthritis or hip dysplasia and increased his supplements, but then he had a very bad day three days ago of falling down and not being able to use his rear legs - toes curled under and dragging, muscle tremors, weakness, and signs of distress. We planned to go to the vet the following day, but when we got up the next day he was 95% better, walking fine and just seemed a little stiff when rising. So we waited on the vet (we are still paying on the $8000 dollars from the visit to the specialist, I am out of work and we are living paycheck to paycheck).

Yesterday he was even worse than the first day, having to be helped up to go outside, weak legs, only able to walk short distances (much to his annoyance). He doesn't show a lot of pain, but he has never been a whiney dog, and the panting seems to be part of his frustration more than anything. When he is in the midst of falling down and trying to drag himself (which we won't let him do - dragging and blood disorders don't mix) his feet curl under and will not return unless placed upright, but if you can get him on his feet and balanced, he can walk short distances, squat to urinate and deficate, etc. but he does "sway" as he goes like I have seen in dogs with dysplasia. If you pinch his toes while he is resting/not looking, he knows exactly which foot you are touching and he will give you a dirty "what did you do that for?" look and rapidly pulls his foot away and kicks at you with it.

Today he seems worn out, not trying to move unless made to. It is a holiday, so no vets open where I live, not that they can help much anyway. Any thoughts from experienced GSD people as what this might be? I was sure it was the bad back again (they were supposed to fuse the spine five years ago but decided not to), but the day of being o.k. has me confused. Eating, drinking, urination, etc. all seem fine so far. Sorry this is so long, thanks for reading and thanks to all who reply!
vulky is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 01:34 PM
Crowned Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 4,832
It sounds like it's about time to let him go. His quality of life isn't good and he shouldn't have to be in pain and dragging himself around. He's old and has a bad back, which sounds like it's suddenly gotten worse, and probably isn't fixable, especially at his age.

Remember, that when you love your dog, you have to do what's right for your dog, no matter how much it hurts you.

Elaine and the herd
Elaine is offline  
post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 02:05 PM
Knighted Member
 
Gretchen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: California's Central Coast
Posts: 3,325
The problems sound neurological in nature, could be further spinal injury, degeneration. In humans, muscles tremors can be caused by electrolyte imbalance, not sure if that would apply to your dog or not. Sorry to hear your well loved companion is having such a hard time.
Gretchen is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
New Member
 
vulky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 10
Thanks for the input, Elaine. We realize we may be at the end of the road here, but we don't want to give up without at least knowing what going on. We will go to the vet as soon as we can, but we are in a small town and their resources are limited, so I was hoping someone here might have a clue as to what we're up against.

This dog has made a life out of beating the odds. He was 6months old and a day away from euthanasia when we rescued him from the pound. He bled out for three days after being neutered before the local vet admitted (after dealing with a very angry owner) there was a problem and I needed to take him to a city hospital where we discovered he had hemophilia and was about a day away from bleeding to death. They told me then I would be lucky to keep him 2 years without having to put him down because of the disorder. He made it 8 with only one hematoma - then the discs went in his back. The vet told me he would maybe last another year, maybe two with the back problem - he's going on 5+.

I was told at every turn I should just put him to sleep. We have had 13+ mostly great years and Sherman has lived like any other dog - we treated him for the most part like he was normal and just used common sense. Except for the hospitalization over the crushed discs (which I will go to the grave saying that particular vet center is taking advantage of people), I have not spent any more money on him than I have any of my other pets.

I do not let my animals suffer for my sake. Until this week, Sherman was active, happy, and doing his best to be a pain in my butt (his favorite pastime). These symptoms are just weird and contrary to me and I just wondered if anyone else had dealt with something similar.
vulky is offline  
post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
New Member
 
vulky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 10
Thanks, Gretchen - I am figuring it must be something related to the spinal injury, but the "normal" day has me thrown off. He has done fine on the same diet for years, so in order for his electrolytes to be off, maybe he would have to have a metabolic problem?
vulky is offline  
post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 02:49 PM
Knighted Member
 
Twyla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Georgia
Posts: 2,028
Send a message via Yahoo to Twyla
You described him as having his feet curl under and not straightening them. While I haven't had a dog with this (knock on wood) the symptoms sound like DM. Look at this link.

Degenerative Myelopathy of German Shepherds
Twyla is offline  
post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 04:20 PM Thread Starter
New Member
 
vulky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 10
Wow - that is an excellent page - thank-you! We will definitely be discussing that with the vet as the description sounds very much like what we have been experiencing. We already partially feed a homemade diet with supplements - we will have to see if we can find some more!
vulky is offline  
post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 05:15 PM
Crowned Member
 
Daisy&Lucky's Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Ohio
Posts: 7,823
Sherman sounds like a great and loving boy. I have a 12 year old GSD Daisy who the vet believes has DM and she has many of the classic symtoms;weight loss in her back half, curled toes ,difficulty rising,she missteps alot. She has some great days,yesterday was one she was up and down the steps no problem but today she wants to nap.There is alot of info on the above link DM and the GSD. May Sherman beat these odds too. The problem for me as I look at Daisy I want ger to have a good lifeand so far she does not appear in pain and she still likes to go for a ride but I know the time is short. My prayers are w/ you and Sherman.
Daisy&Lucky's Mom is offline  
post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-04-2012, 05:20 PM
Master Member
 
rooandtree's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Woodbridge,Va
Posts: 646
2 years ago my Dakota was 12 and doing alot of the same things you descibed. We would have to take a towel under him to lift him like a wheelbarrell to just get him outside.but he had so much life in his eyes and some days he was great. the vet had him on steroids and pain killers...it wasnt until he wasnt able to control his bowels anymore that she told me it was prob best to let him go..he was my first dog ever i had to make the decision to let go..it was hard..but i know my vet wouldnt of told me it was time if it wasnt....good luck and prayers to you and your dog
rooandtree is offline  
post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 07-05-2012, 04:38 AM Thread Starter
New Member
 
vulky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 10
Thank-you to everyone for your prayers and support. We will see what the vet says tomorrow and hope for good news!
vulky is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the German Shepherd Dog Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome