Hello all - I came looking here for help for my girl Xena, though I wish I'd seen this years ago. Ah, well...
To the beginning - she has very bad hip dysplasia, but I didn't know how bad till age 5 when I had the x-rays done - until then she went to dog parks every day (her favorite running partner was a Pharoh Hound
). Gradually over the years the hips deteriorated, then the knees - she was on senior food at age 5, supplements by 8ish. The playgrounds stopped between 7 and 8. She was always very active with an obscenely high play drive. She also chased a burglar out of the apt when she was 1.5, and got between me and a mugger at 9. She is now 13.
About 2.5 months ago she started to trip over herself and fall. I thought it was the hips/knees. Occationally she'd step down on her toes on the side with the injured knee - and I thought she wasn't picking her paw up high enough somehow. She ate, drank, and seemed happy enough so I just took it as another stage of old age.
Then I came home from work one day 2ish weeks ago and she could barely stand. Next morning, at the vet. He diagnosed her with Ataxia "Drunken Dog Disease" - a progressive neurological disorder that often affects the back end, causing them to fall all over like they're inebriated. It can have a gradual or sudden onset, and while it can have several sources there is no definitive cause or cure. My dog is not displaying any of the secondary signs very strongly to determine which type of Ataxia she has, though cerebular is suspected.
In the past few weeks it's gotten worse - she can't really stand without help, she drags her butt along. She thinks she's supposed to go INSIDE not OUTSIDE...and despite rugs, wee-wee pads and my best efforts the wood floor underneath is puckering from the piss while I"m at work. Most nights when I come home I'm cleaning for an hour or more.
She hasn't given me the look yet that she's ready to go, but since I can't be home all the time to clean when she goes she's covered in piss when I get home, and I know that's not good. This is my first dog, and I don't know what to do. Beyond that she's 77 lbs and too big for me to carry into the car by myself now (I'm a 145lb woman). I don't know what to do. I'm getting her back on Rimadyl hoping that it's the pain that's inhibiting her from standing/walking but the few steps she takes are almost sideways...which Rimadyl will not help. And if it is cerebular ataxia as my vet suspects my question becomes...when is it time to...you know... Because it's always fatal, though sometimes it can progress slowly. Sadly that doesn't seem to be the case now.
Thanks in advance for letting me write a three tissue post for my first time here.