Nike Update - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 09:26 PM Thread Starter
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Nike Update

A while back I posted that Nike had Cauda Equina Syndrome and wasn't responding to steroids. My last resort was to take her to a veterinary neurosurgeon. After having an MRI, the vet determined she did not have CES, but rather the dreaded Degenerative Myelopathy.

My girl is going downhill fast. She almost can't get up from a sitting position any more without assistance. Stairs, tile, etc. are becoming her enemies. She's even starting to lose her enthusiasm for chasing the ball. She still has a puppy's sparkle in her eyes though, even at almost nine years old, and still makes a beeline for the kitchen if she knows a green pepper is waiting for her.

My husband and I know she's not going to last the 3-4 months the vet estimated and we fear the time has come to make "the decision." My husband thinks that we should send her to the Bridge why she still has that sparkle in her eyes. In my heart I think he's probably right, but I keep feeling like it's still too soon. I haven't seen the look from her yet that tells me she's ready, but I swear I see the frustration in her eyes every time she struggles to get up only to plop back down again. Sometimes I think she's saying, "Mommy, help me."

I'm not asking for people to tell us what we should do. Rather, I'm just curious what others have done in this situation. Did you send your pup to the Bridge even when he/she still had some life and spirt in him/her or did you wait until it was obvious the time had come?

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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 09:35 PM
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Re: Nike Update

Ugh, this is such a hard one. I'm very sorry you're going through this and can empathize because I've got a 13 year old dog who is going downhill too. I've gone through this three times now. Once with a young dog with leukemia and twice with older dogs. With the older dogs I did wait until it was clear they were ready to go. I had a very hard time deciding what to do with my first dog because she went downhill over a long period. When she stopped eating I knew it was time. Same with my Basu.

Have you tried a harness for your dog? That could really help with mobility. I know some people whose dogs have DM also use a cart for them. Check out this website: http://www.handicappedpets.com/prodwalk.htm

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2008, 10:49 PM
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Re: Nike Update

When I rescued Jessie, she was 10+yo. She had advanced DM, but she had an amazing will to live. Even when she had a hard time getting around, she would go out with the guys and would patrol her yard. She could not run, but she did many other things and found things to enjoy in life. She had a hard life before she came to me and ended up dumped at the shelter. The 2.5 years in my home were probably the best in her life. She loved to eat. I posted her story in the "In Loving Memory" section. She was my champion of courage. One day she could not lift her front end and that was when I had to put her to sleep.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Nike Update

Thank you. I'm waiting to hear from her vet to decide a course of action.

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 01:40 PM
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Re: Nike Update

So sorry you are going through this. I have lost a few older ones and it was just the typical old age, very stiff and sore and inability to keep food down that told me it was time to let them go with two of them.

My one GSD had a spinal cord compression and became paralyzed quickly but was in some pain. I knew when she woke up that am and could not walk it was time. Because she was only 8 and not in a lot of pain she still had a sparkle in her eyes. Before we put her in the truck to take her in we put her in the front yard to lay down for awhile and I remember looking at her beaufitul face with the sun shining on it as it rose. She was very peaceful and I was glad we did it before she had a chance to suffer.

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 05:00 PM
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Re: Nike Update

I don't have any input here-but wanted to lend some support-it is so difficult to try to put this into a formula that allows us to feel like we've done it "right." I think this is the part of having a pet that is so hard-please take care.





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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 08:44 PM
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Re: Nike Update

I wait until the dog tells me it's time. And they do. First dog went down hill with cancer fast. I talked the vet into letting me take him home for one night. I shouldn't have. He was clearly uncomfortable.
Another dog took about 18 months. When she stopped eating & the interest was gone from her eyes it was time. Yes, she slowed down significantly and it was hard. But over those months it became clear when I took her on short trips that she was still "here." I think as Vet science has become more sophisticated, it is harder to know when the time is right. There's so much that can be done now to keep them happy.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 09:16 PM
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Re: Nike Update

Everyone of my pets have been different. The last one, I had to put to sleep because of cancer, I was told it would have at least a year, but it did not turn out that way, I checked with the vet one week several months after diagnosis, and he said no need at that time. One week later, I woke up and knew. I called the vet and told him what was going on - he said it is time.

I have a friend that I recommended she consider putting her dog to sleep when it was time. She refused. She totally regrets this now because she had to hold her dog in her arms for 12 hours while it screemed in pain until passed away. Pray about your decision as well.

Bless you while you go through this time in your life. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-08-2008, 09:51 PM
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Re: Nike Update

I'm so sorry to hear your pup has DM.

This is the most difficult decision to make as a dog owner. It's a hard question to answer. To me the dogs get a certain look, like they've had enough, it's hard to explain, but I know it when I see it.

This is the best site I know of for information about DM. It has a lot of information about the disease itself along with a lot of tips about living with dogs with the disease. Marjorie worked a lot with Dr. Clemmons, the neurologist from the U of FL who did a lot of research on DM until his funding went dry.
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