Degenerative Myelopathy is a dreaded disease among dog owners. A genetic cause is suspected, but it has not been completely clarified. This disease is particularly feared because it cannot be cured and is certain to be fatal.
The diagnosis is a great shock for dog owners, as it means the certain death of the beloved four-legged friend. Nevertheless, giving up would be the wrong way to go. While there is no cure, there are ways to significantly delay the progression of the disease.
Physiotherapy – the most important measure
The most important factor is the intensive physiotherapeutic care of the dog. There are many testimonies that show that dogs were able to live a life worth living for several more years and that the progression of degenerative myelopathy was slowed down enormously.
Physiotherapy can be used to counteract the loss of muscles and paralysis. Joint mobility is maintained and coordination and balance can also be stabilized for a long time. In this way, you give your four-legged friend the chance of a much longer active dog life. It is especially important that you as a dog owner support your dog daily with physiotherapeutic measures such as active movement exercises and also passive measures. The active exercises should always be adapted to the health status of the dog. Please let your physiotherapist instruct you accordingly.
This is another way you can support your four-legged friend with degenerative myelopathy
Paw shoes give your dog support… They prevent slipping away and thus falls. They also protect the paws and claws of dogs that drag their paws. If a quadruped suffers only from weakness of the hind legs, shoes on the hind paws may be enough.
I always recommend you to make sure that the shoes fit perfectly. They should not be too tight, but also not slip. Then they do more harm than good. There are shoes that are made so that you can use them indoors. Likewise, there are special outdoor shoes, which are made of other materials. The soles have a different profile.
Your dog’s sleeping space should also be set up to accommodate his condition. It should not be located in cold, drafty areas. An orthopedic dog bed, for example, provides wonderful pressure relief for the back. Your dog sleeps like on clouds. By the way, I can highly recommend orthopedic dog beds. They are suitable for healthy and sick as well as older dogs alike.
Non-slip surface in the house
If a dog is affected by Degenerative Myelopathy and does not wear paw shoes indoors, be sure to avoid slippery surfaces. For example, you can make areas in the house that he uses regularly safer with carpet scraps or something similar. You avoid slipping away and also falls. Your four-legged friend prefers to move around the house more easily.
Adapt load to the state of the disease
The amount of exercise should always be adapted to the current state of health of the four-legged friend. Rather, take short walks that won’t leave your dog so exhausted. This also shortens the regeneration phase.
Avoid jumping in and out of the trunk. If you can’t lift your dog into the trunk, there are handy dog ramps. Dogs usually get used to it quickly.
There are practical carrying aids. With this you can support and relieve your dog. They give him a lot of security when he is wobbly on his feet. You should make sure when choosing a baby carrier that it fits well and is made of a tear-resistant, sturdy material. Furthermore, the material should be soft and not cut in any place. Neoprene is often used, which is also easy to clean and dries quickly.
Elevated drinking & feeding place
Especially for larger dogs, an elevated drinking and feeding area is a good relief. Your dog does not have to bend over in front. The load on the joints is evenly distributed. He can take his meal in a comfortable position.
But there are also some things to consider in everyday life
- Avoid riding other dogs at all costs.
- Patting and patting on the back is also uncomfortable for your dog.
You see, there are many different things you can do to delay the progression of the disease while making everyday life easier for your dog and improving his quality of life.
Do you have any previous experience with degenerative myelopathy? Feel free to share your tips and experiences with me in the comments!
All the love, your Tina
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