So our 12 yo GSD Nica has developed/is developing loss of control of her hind legs. It is somewhat minor at this point but she needs help getting up (occasionally does it on her own), and some times is much more pronounced than others. She has slight dragging of her right leg. Some times gets the "drunken sailor" walk. We have been to the vet, to an ER at a local vet school and are in the process of scheduling an appt with a neurologist.
This is what we know- DM has been pretty much ruled out- it is more pronounced on her right side than her left (vet suggested DM is usually equal on both sides), she does appear to have some pain associated (also not generally associated with DM) with it although she is on NSAID's so that may have mitigated some of the pain which led the vet at the vet school ER to push us to have blood sent for the genetic test for DM. Our breeder has said her dogs have been tested for years and not found to have it and also DM is very rare in 100% East German Shepherds (which is all this breeder has).
The X-Ray's today show arthritis (which the vet had prescribed the NSAID's for a few weeks ago) and they believe there may be some disk and/or nerve issues going on causing this. I made a doggie wheelchair for her although we have not used this yet. Tonight I made a harness so my daughter can help her up from the hind quarters.
We will know more when we see the neurologist but here is my question (I know....finally right?
).....she is 12....would you subject your dog to an MRI and then potentially surgery? Each will require full sedation which has its own risks. Plus I am not sure what we would see from an improvement in her health or for how long?
The breeder has said she would not recommend surgery on a 12 yo dog. A very close friend who has raised many dogs himself, his Dad raised and trained dogs for years said he did not think it was a great idea given the anesthesia, the drugs and rehab that would be needed. He said he felt the best thing would be to make sure she is comfortable for as long as possible and then kindly say our goodbyes.
Its a very hard decision in our house. Its my wife's first dog and she is willing to do absolutely anything for even a few months of potential better life. I am not so sure that this makes sense for Nica (not to mention the $9K should both the MRI and surgery be done). I think the quality of her life matters and I also think we will have to make tough decision(s) when the time comes because she (Nica) can't make them for herself.
I'm just curious what others feel about this and welcome all thoughts/suggestions. Thanks!
Here she is last winter helping me in the snow.