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My 13 year old German Shepherd was recently diagnosed with this deadly disease and my heart hurts because I am loosing my best friend and protector. I have had him since he was 8 weeks old so he is not just a dog, he is family. He is struggling to be able to walk, loosing his appetite and just recently over Christmas started having problems with incontinence. I would appreciate any guidance or suggestions to help me do the best that I can to take care of him for whatever time I have left.
 

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Sorry to hear this is happening to your dog! But really you should talk to your vet about the best way to allow him the most comfortable existance he can have in his time left.

I recently met an older dog with DM who had great trouble walking, but could still, mostly, get around. He was happy and enjoying life still, but eventually, when he had more bad days than good, had to be humanely PTS. It is sad, but it is something you will have to deal with at some point. Again, sorry for the situation you and your dog are in!
 
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My 13 year old German Shepherd was recently diagnosed with this deadly disease and my heart hurts because I am loosing my best friend and protector. I have had him since he was 8 weeks old so he is not just a dog, he is family. He is struggling to be able to walk, loosing his appetite and just recently over Christmas started having problems with incontinence. I would appreciate any guidance or suggestions to help me do the best that I can to take care of him for whatever time I have left.
How was he diagnosed? I ask because DM is not treatable and other things with similar symptoms are!
Loss of appetite is a new one. Since DM is painless most DM dogs maintain their appetite.
If it really is DM, given that the incontinence has started, just enjoy what time you have. A sling will help you to assist him with getting up and around, non slip mats will help as well if you have bare floors. Keep pads under him when he sleeps to assist with clean up of accidents. Give him all those special treats he wasn't allowed, let him do what he likes and take a thousand pictures of his face.
I'm sorry.
 

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How was he diagnosed? I ask because DM is not treatable and other things with similar symptoms are!
Loss of appetite is a new one. Since DM is painless most DM dogs maintain their appetite.
If it really is DM, given that the incontinence has started, just enjoy what time you have. A sling will help you to assist him with getting up and around, non slip mats will help as well if you have bare floors. Keep pads under him when he sleeps to assist with clean up of accidents. Give him all those special treats he wasn't allowed, let him do what he likes and take a thousand pictures of his face.
I'm sorry.
^^^^^ I agree...my namesake on this forum ( Shane ) had DM...symptoms started at a younger age.... back then there was no DNA testing like there is today ....we ended up seeing a specialist who mainly dealt with neurology and as Sabis mom said other issues can have symptoms that look like DM....IMO best to seek a second opinion......Sorry you're going through this.....
 

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My 13 year old German Shepherd was recently diagnosed with this deadly disease and my heart hurts because I am loosing my best friend and protector. I have had him since he was 8 weeks old so he is not just a dog, he is family. He is struggling to be able to walk, loosing his appetite and just recently over Christmas started having problems with incontinence. I would appreciate any guidance or suggestions to help me do the best that I can to take care of him for whatever time I have left.
My 11 year old male is going through this now... wobbly back legs and dragging his rear feet/toes.
Thankfully he is still getting along ok with a little help from his friends.

We got booties for his feet (link below) and we give him a boost UP the stairs.... going downstairs I just stand beside him and make sure he doesn't end up crashing at the bottom.
As silly as it sounds, My wife bought a green light gizmo (link below) and she goes along his spine twice a day and it actually seems to help!
It also seemed to help my hand / slight arthritis finger... so who knows... I know people have mixed opinions on light therapy.... and I know DM has no cure.... but anything that gets us one more day .... I'll take it.
Best of luck.

light- www.lumasoothe.com
booties (1000 denier) - 1000 Denier Cordura® Booties - Dog Booties
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Sorry to hear this is happening to your dog! But really you should talk to your vet about the best way to allow him the most comfortable existance he can have in his time left.

I recently met an older dog with DM who had great trouble walking, but could still, mostly, get around. He was happy and enjoying life still, but eventually, when he had more bad days than good, had to be humanely PTS. It is sad, but it is something you will have to deal with at some point. Again, sorry for the situation you and your dog are in!
Thanks for your guidance.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
My 11 year old male is going through this now... wobbly back legs and dragging his rear feet/toes.
Thankfully he is still getting along ok with a little help from his friends.

We got booties for his feet (link below) and we give him a boost UP the stairs.... going downstairs I just stand beside him and make sure he doesn't end up crashing at the bottom.
As silly as it sounds, My wife bought a green light gizmo (link below) and she goes along his spine twice a day and it actually seems to help!
It also seemed to help my hand / slight arthritis finger... so who knows... I know people have mixed opinions on light therapy.... and I know DM has no cure.... but anything that gets us one more day .... I'll take it.
Best of luck.

light- www.lumasoothe.com
booties (1000 denier) - 1000 Denier Cordura® Booties - Dog Booties
I will give it a try. Thanks
 

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^^^^^ I agree...my namesake on this forum ( Shane ) had DM...symptoms started at a younger age.... back then there was no DNA testing like there is today ....we ended up seeing a specialist who mainly dealt with neurology and as Sabis mom said other issues can have symptoms that look like DM....IMO best to seek a second opinion......Sorry you're going through this.....
Thanks, I will start searching for someone skilled with neurology.
 

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If your state university has a veterinary school with a clinic, that's a good place to check on finding a neurologist. I believe they're boarded as veterinary Internal Medicine specialists with a subspecialty in neurology -- they usually have "DACVIM (Neurology)" after the DVM on their title. Here's the national directory for them:
 

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Please let us know when you do find out! Best wishes for you and your dog!
 

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There's lots of things to do and buy to help your dog and slow down the onset of DM. These things may buy you extra time, not cure, but could possibly help slow down the progress.
Adequan injections by vet. Helped my 15 yr. old dog at early suspected onset of DM. Eventually stopped working.
Good vitamin/ mineral supplement. Keeps whole body and mind in peak condition.
Non skid boots if dog will keep them on.
Lots of towels/ bed linens, comforters for dog to sleep on if incontinent.
Doggy diapers.
So sorry you're facing this. Be grateful for each day that your dog is still comfortable.
 

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Sadly, our girl Halo started showing signs a couple months past her 8th birthday and we lost her at 9-1/2. We did twice weekly swim therapy sessions for nearly a year. It helped maintain some muscle since even though she was losing strength in the rear she was still kicking strongly in the pool. It's very expensive though, and we were fortunate to find a rehab place not far from us. It also helped keep up her spirits since she had always loved to swim. We also used this harness to help her get around. We lifted the hip handle and she could maneuver around with her front legs. Choosing the Right Harness
 - Help 'Em Up®
 

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I'm sorry. This is a horrible way to watch your dog age. I used a sling to help mine walk. I had to carry him (all 98 lbs) up and down the stairs and into the car in his last year or so. He also had fecal incontinence when we were in the car, right in the middle of eating a meal, many times while he was sleeping. It's hard because I had to wake up at 3 in the morning many times (in the last 2 months of his life) to clean the floor and his bed and wash his behind because he was a long haired shepherd and that poop stuck to his fur and it was not easy to clean up. And the worst part was the look on his face...it's still etched in my mind...that he knew he did wrong - pooping in the house. So heartbreaking. I'm sorry you have to go through this. They're such regal dogs and to see them end up like this is difficult to deal with. I wish you the best.
 

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I'm sorry. This is a horrible way to watch your dog age. I used a sling to help mine walk. I had to carry him (all 98 lbs) up and down the stairs and into the car in his last year or so. He also had fecal incontinence when we were in the car, right in the middle of eating a meal, many times while he was sleeping. It's hard because I had to wake up at 3 in the morning many times (in the last 2 months of his life) to clean the floor and his bed and wash his behind because he was a long haired shepherd and that poop stuck to his fur and it was not easy to clean up. And the worst part was the look on his face...it's still etched in my mind...that he knew he did wrong - pooping in the house. So heartbreaking. I'm sorry you have to go through this. They're such regal dogs and to see them end up like this is difficult to deal with. I wish you the best.
Sorry to hear what happened to your dog. It sounds heart breaking.
 

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My 13 year old German Shepherd was recently diagnosed with this deadly disease and my heart hurts because I am loosing my best friend and protector. I have had him since he was 8 weeks old so he is not just a dog, he is family. He is struggling to be able to walk, loosing his appetite and just recently over Christmas started having problems with incontinence. I would appreciate any guidance or suggestions to help me do the best that I can to take care of him for whatever time I have left.

Had to post when I saw this. When our GSD was diagnosed with this I started using a harness for her hind legs and was able to navigate through a lot of your problems. Keeping her inside on a blanket I didn't care about and only taking her out to make-it. When it got to her front legs I added a second harness and basically carried her around to get her out. When my back started hurting I knew I had to say goodbye to my friend. Nowadays there are people with 3D printers that can create wheelchairs to help your friend navigate. And even more expensive wheelchairs if you want to go all in. Your path is tough right now, may God bless,you and your GSD...
 

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It is important that the breeders prevent this. All dogs can be tested by the for DM by swabbing the mouth. The AKC does it. I would shy away from breeders that don't test their dogs prior to mating. It's up to the buyer to have knowledge of this so they can purchase their pup with confidence and not have the heartbreak and expense in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
How was he diagnosed? I ask because DM is not treatable and other things with similar symptoms are!
Loss of appetite is a new one. Since DM is painless most DM dogs maintain their appetite.
If it really is DM, given that the incontinence has started, just enjoy what time you have. A sling will help you to assist him with getting up and around, non slip mats will help as well if you have bare floors. Keep pads under him when he sleeps to assist with clean up of accidents. Give him all those special treats he wasn't allowed, let him do what he likes and take a thousand pictures of his face.
I'm sorry.
He woke up one morning and just suddenly couldn't walk so I took him to the pet emergency hospital and they took a blood sample and found that he had the DNA in his genes. Three months later and he was worse. He got worse this past weekend so regrettably I had to put him to sleep on Monday so my heart is really hurting right now. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do because Bandit was not just a dog but he was family. My home is not the same without him so I struggle to make it through the day but I know I had done everything that I could possibly do but nothing stops the degeneration, believe me I tried everything. I chose to have him put to sleep at home and he died in my arms, I couldn't bare to take him to my vet's office so I had someone come to my home. I feel lost without him and everything is too quiet now that he is gone. I was not prepared for this so I hope that what I experienced will help someone else to be better prepared to say goodbye because I wasn't and now I am trying to just make it through the day without him.
 

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Sorry to hear what happened to your dog. It sounds heart breaking.
I went through that as well, Bandit had been potty trained since he was 4 months old and I feel he was embarrassed so He would whine when he had an accident and I got up no matter what the time to make sure that he was clean and that I loved him, reassuring him that it was okay. Thanks for sharing.
 

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Had to post when I saw this. When our GSD was diagnosed with this I started using a harness for her hind legs and was able to navigate through a lot of your problems. Keeping her inside on a blanket I didn't care about and only taking her out to make-it. When it got to her front legs I added a second harness and basically carried her around to get her out. When my back started hurting I knew I had to say goodbye to my friend. Nowadays there are people with 3D printers that can create wheelchairs to help your friend navigate. And even more expensive wheelchairs if you want to go all in. Your path is tough right now, may God bless,you and your GSD...
Thanks for your kind words. Bandit had to be put to sleep a few days ago as he got worse. Please keep me in your prayers.
 
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