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SAF
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This last week, I learned about a disease that is mostly limited to German Shepherds. It's called Degenerative Myelopathy and is an auto-immune disease of the spinal cord. It's a doggie version of Multiple
Sclerosis and causes the dog to lose control of its hind legs. It's not painful, but ends up crippling the dog and, as a side effect in the late term, causes incontinence (both types).

There are a lot of resources and information about this if you Google the term, the best of which seem to come from the U. of Florida by a
vet/Ph.D. named Dr. R. M. Clemmons.

Unfortunately, I learned of this disease the hard way and there is no cure for it. I thought my dog was simply getting arthritis because her symptoms started with a limp. During the last couple months, her rear legs would go out from under her when doing one of her famous high-speed, chasing-the-Kong turns. Now she can't jump up into my
truck anymore and is losing muscle mass in her haunches, and walks
funny much of the time. As a side note, her hips are great, not
a trace of displasia at age 9.

Anyway, I posted this for informational purposes because I know a great many of us are dog lovers. I hope no one else's dog gets this
awful disease.
 

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♥Meezers♥
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I am so sorry to hear this oldgraywolf........

I had a 2 yr old purebred siamese cat die of heart probs (cardiomyopathy). It just killed me. I hope that the vets can at least make your girl comfy, so she is not in alot of pain. It is a totally helpless feeling, and it just plain sucks. My thoughts are with you.
 

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SAF
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I appreciate your sympathy, Peach. The vet is pretty much out of the picture now. I'll be using the U. of Florida recommended therapies
(vitamins, supplements) to try to mitigate the effects and slow the
progression a little.

As I said, there's no pain involved, she's just losing control of her hindquarters. She can still run like the wind, but looks a little odd doing it. I can see that her legs aren't working quite right. I won't let her suffer any pain, ever. It'll kill me, but she won't suffer ever. As someone posted in G36.45's thread on GNG, the vet can give a pill prior to euthanizing so the animal won't even have to feel a needle.

And I'm sorry about your kitty, too. Yep, it sucks to lose a pet.
 

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I have had 2 working GSD's. First one I had to put down at 3 years old due to degenerating discs in his back. My 2nd one I still have, but he developed glaucoma in one eye and I had to have it removed. They were/are great dogs.
I would post a pic if I could fugure out how to do it.
 

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SAF
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Nice looking dog. Someday I'll take the time to learn how to post a picture.

Mine is from working stock, too--tracker/sniffer, very active and athletic. She was a handful for the first few years, sweet and
reasonably obedient but at times a real brat. Now I'm just enjoying whatever time she has left before the disease overtakes her.
 

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Grrrrr.....
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oldgraywolf,

I'm sorry for the troubles with your furry friend...

We put down our female GSD 2 months ago as she had the symptoms you mentiond---mainly loss of control of the hind end.

We had her spine x-rayed when we first noticed her legs buckling, and there was no Myelopathy or displasia. It was typical old age, with arthritis ---- she was 13...

Let us know how you make out...

Best of luck!

DD~
 

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My first shepherd had this in the early stages. The first sign was the rear legs "sliding out" and dragging of the rear feet.
The test the vet looks for before xray's is a placement defecit disorder, or something called that. What you do is place your dogs top of the rear foot on the ground with the dog standing on all fours; This would be the equivilant of us bending our foot all the way back and touching the floor the the top of our foot or toes as most can't bend that far back. The sign of this disorder is that dogs cannot place the foot back into the correct standing position.
I didn't wait until my dog was completely incapactitated until I did the right thing.
On the way to the vet, I stopped at McDonalds and bought him a Ice cream cone.
It's tough to lose them.:beer:
 

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Devious Member
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oldgraywolf,

Do you have any links you could share on your research, the vet thinks mine has this. I feel for you, this was my grandpa's dog, he is the best GSD I've ever been around.

Thanks for sharing, and good luck with your friend.
 

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SAF
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

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When I read your original post and symptoms of the disease my heart sank, as my older female is exhibiting many of these, particularly incontinence, dragging of the rear feet, and loss of muscle mass in the rear half. Petra is pure working stock through and through and will be 10 years old this year and despite the possible onset of this horrible disease she still thinks she can keep up with the young guy. Thanks for the information, I will certianly bring it to my vets' attention. For now I will educate myself about this disease and continue to provide exercise and love to my loyal partner.
 

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SAF
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Alsatian

Good luck to you and your pal. There's helpful info on the U of Florida site I linked. You can help them out with diet and vitamins.

My dog is showing all the classic signs (no incontinence, tho), but
can still run like crazy. We walk her 3-10 miles a day, plus Kong time. Exercise is one of the things that slows the progression of the disease. All you can do is take good care of them and when their quality of life goes away, do them the last favor you can.
 

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SAF
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
This is her, my pal.
 

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oldgraywolf,

Thanks for the links, your friend is a fine looking GDS, best of luck to you, and thanks for sharing.
 

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Hey oldgreywolf,

First, thanks for sharing and more importantly, good luck with your girl. Know that both of you are in our thoughts..

We have three GSD's and so far, so good. Hang in there my friend.

mavrick
 
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