I’m pleased to post our second featured dog Dekan. Dekan is a boxer with DM. Dekan’s story is a great example of how frustrating it can be in the beginning and what lack of info even our vets have. Although sharing these stories is sometimes heartbreaking, it is very helpful to other people who may be frustrated with the lack of info. Please continue to share your stories so we can continue to help other people who find themselves in a postion like Trina did with Dekan.
Here is Dekan’s story as told by Trina:
“I have come to rely on your your website for info on how to help my Dekan. Your website has helped me on days when I thought there was no where to turn. I was devastated to hear of your recent loss and cried tears of sadness with you. I know you were a pillar of strength for your pup. I wanted to email a bit about Dekan in hopes that it might help someone else like you’ve helped me(and my husband and Dekan).
It was Christmas of 2009 when we noticed Dekan having some weakness in his hind quarters. We watched him closely for a few days and decided to call the vet because it wasn’t getting any better. The vet thought he had strained something and said to have him take it easy. He said that with all the ice we had in the area he probably pulled something. When spring came around things were a little better but not much and we took him in again. The vet looked at him and did some diagnosing. It was determined that his acl was the problem and he would need to have surgery. We scheduled the surgery and took him in late April. We waited for the phone call telling us how the surgery went. We got a phone call later that day and the doctor said that they ran some simple neurological tests before the surgery and it was determined there was a greater underlying cause to Dekan’s problem. They did not perform the surgery and instead wanted us to make an appointment with a neuroligist. We made that appointed for May 5, 2010. It was the day that changed our lives. We went in and hoped for the best but found out what would be the worst. We went in and left Dekan so they could do an MRI and rule out other causes. Late that afternoon I received the call telling me I could pick Dekan up and although it can’t be tested for it was determined that Degenerative Myleopathy…I was in shock. They had to be wrong. This is the dog that had cancer, missed getting clipped by a car and wasn’t happy until he was sleeping next to me on my pillow. They just had to be wrong. The neurologist gave me a list of vitamins to give him with his food and basically told me that it would be day to day from now on. I wanted answers. I wanted to know how and when and what to do. No one could tell me that. All the research I found basically told me that I would have 6-9 months with my dog from the onset of symptoms. Well which symptoms? The ones in December or the ones that came as time moved on? I tried calling that neurologist back and would leave messages but would never again speak to him. I did speak with my vet and he told me that no one really knows the answers to my questions. I could just hope for the best. At that time I knew that I was going to do right by my dog and that no matter how long he had with us it would be good. My husband and I did not take the news well but we were determined to be strong for Dekan.
As the spring and summer progressed Dekan’s walking deteriorated. He would scrape his feet and nails and bleed. We became good nurses during this time. Dekan began to have a hard time standing up when he would poop. You just had to look at his face to see his embarrassment. We would hold him up and tell him it was okay. He still seemed upset but dealt with it. As we entered into fall it became near impossible for me to take him outside by myself so it became a two person job. Dekan liked this as he had his mom and dad with him. We switched from a regular lease to a harness that allows us to have a better grip on him. Dekan always has kept his spirit and has a friendly smile and lick for anyone who gives him a second glance. Before we knew it was winter. We kept along our normal routine but were struggling with the changing weather. Dekan could no longer stand up and would have to be held up or lay down to go to the bathroom. We were managing but would usually be in tears when we came in from outside. Here we were watching our crazy dog who would zip around outside struggle to just go to the bathroom. We questioned what we were doing everyday. Dekan was/is a happy dog. We knew that much and that kept us going. The holidays came and went and we celebrated because we had the gift of Dekan still being with us(a year after first noticing symptoms). As the winter continued we had a very bad blizzard and had no way to take Dekan out. We bagan using puppy pads and although Dekan wasn’t ecstatic about going to bathroom in the house he soon realized that it was okay and that’s what the pads were for. It seemed to help him mentally. Spring started to fast approach and we started talking about getting Dekan wheels so he could begin to venture outdoors again. I spoke with my wonderful breeder who had wheels that we could use. It was a good day in the Dekan household. At first it was hard to see him what was such and active dog in this crazy contraption but when you see his face and the joy in it some of the pain in our hearts went away. He was joyous. It’s now summer, 18 months after first symptoms, and Dekan is doing better. We have come to understand and know what works for us as a family. We took him in for his annual vet visit and the vet was in tears. He said that he was so happy that Dekan was doing so well. He said that he didn’t think it would have been possible to see him again for his annual visit. It was another good day in our house. I think that Dekan is a fighter and we take this day by day. There have been struggles and days when we question if he is still happy. There have been days when I ask him and I can honestly say he is happy. He plays, he loves and he enjoys life. I love my dog more then anything and will do whatever I need so that he is comfortable and happy. I pray that he continues to live life to it’s fullest and I am grateful for each new day that he can do this.
A typical day in our house is wake up, eat breakfast and vitamins, go to couch eat a treat, watch tv(sleep), move to the floor, play, move to couch, eat dinner with vitamins, have treat, cuddle/massage and off to bed.
The cart is used but it is not a daily thing. Depending on weather and Dekan. He lets us know what he wants and that’s what we go by. His favorite pastime is spending time with his friend Expresso who is a 6 pound yorkie poo.
I don’t know if this is DM related but he has extremely rough puppy dreams and bites, growls and barks in his sleep. Since this has started he no longer sleeps with us but next to our bed. He is happy with this compromise. He has nipped my foot during one of these dreams and has since been fine sleeping next to the bed and he has also nipped his own tongue. It is because of this that we do wake him from these dreams by calling his name. He bled A LOT when he bit his tongue and we want to avoid such a thing in the future.
I am glad I found a support group like this…I wish I would have found it sooner!”