The FAQ section will continue to grow as the site grows, here are a few common questions people have when they find out their pet has DM.
Q: Is there a cure for DM?
A: No, there is no cure for DM, however, now a simple blood test has been developed that picks up a genetic marker for the disease. For information go to: www.caninegeneticdiseases.net/DM/ancmntDM.htm
Q: Are there medications that can help?
A: There are no treatments that have been clearly shown to stop or slow progression of DM. Although there are a number of approaches that have been tried or recommended on the internet, no scientific evidence exists that they work. The outlook for a dog with DM is still grave. The discovery of a gene that identifies dogs at risk for developing degenerative myelopathy could pave the way for therapeutic trials to prevent the disease from developing. Meanwhile, the quality of life of an affected dog can be improved by measures such as good nursing care, physical rehabilitation, pressure sore prevention, monitoring for urinary infections, and ways to increase mobility through use of harnesses and carts.
Q: Are there specific exercises that can help?
A: In my personal opinion the best exersize a dog with DM can get is by using an Eddie’s Wheels cart. Keep their back legs down as long as possible so they can continue to use all 4 legs and keep muscle tone. Use Pawz Dogs Reusable boots when they start to drag their feet. Even when you have to eventually put their feet up in the stirrups you can still put their feet down in when they are in the grass.
Q: How can I protect my dogs feet from dragging?
A: The only product that I have found to work this far is Pawz Reusable Dog Boots. Many of the other products out there are too big and your dog won’t be able to lift their foot high enough on the ground to prevent it from dragging and eventually falling off.
Q: How can I prevent my dog from slipping on floors?
A: Throw down rugs and carpets are great help, you can also use a harness while in the house to assist with walking the dog around the house. I will post links of harnesses I think work well soon.
Q: Will my dog become incontinent?
A: Not all animals with DM become incontinent although it is very likely. You can read my post on incontinence to learn more about what you can expect.
Q: Do carts really work?
A: Yes the absolutely work and are a life safer for your pet. Please visit Eddie’s Wheels for more information.
Q: Will my dog be able to go to the washroom in his cart?
A: Yes, although you may need to relieve some pressure by lifting their back legs when they start to pee. You can ready my post Wagging Tails and Lifting Legs to learn more.
Q: How do I know if my dog has a bladder infection?
A: The best way to know if your pet has a bladder infection is by the smell of their urine. You will notice a strong acidic smell when they pee if they are developing a bladder infection. You can read my post on bladder infections to learn more.
Q: How long do I have left with my dog?
A: My opinion is to take it day by day, as long as your pet is happy try not to worry, just enjoy the time you have with them. I’ve read that long term symptoms can occur between 6 – 12 months. Wrangler has been in his cart for 8 months now and I am starting to notice some of the long term symptoms starting to happen. However, it has been over 2 years since I first noticed early symptoms of DM.
Q: How do I know when it’s time to say good bye?
A: Unfortunately no one can answer this question for you. Some one told me that caring for a dog with DM is like saying the longest good bye and unfortunately there’s some truth to it. The disease progresses relatively quickly and in the later stages you do find yourself questioning whether your pet is still happy and enjoying their life. I try to take it day by day and although Wrangler can no longer do many of the things he once could he is still happy, does well in his cart, and has the desire for life. He is a fighter!!