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Our 12 1/2 year old Golden is in the late stages of Degenerative Myelopathy & last week he suffered partial paralysis in his hind area & stopped standing or eliminating.

Working with acupuncture he quickly regained the ability to eliminate. He can bear weight on his rear left leg, but requires a harness to support his hips. We were so thrilled when he regained the ability to eliminate, and were looking into a wheelchair for him. But over the weekend he started to become aggressive (growling, snapping) when we needed to get him up. He will no longer attempt to stand on his own, and becomes aggressive at our previous method of giving a gentle tug to the front of the harness while calling his name.

The DM appears to cause him no pain, though he does suffer from arthritis as well. He is taking Rimadyl, Tramadol & Gabapentin for potential pain. He has always been a sweet boy so this aggression is completely unexpected. I fear it is more stress or frustration at his lack of independence than it is brought on by pain.

Has anyone experienced this with an older golden? Have you had any luck in controlling it? I don't want to muzzle him as I think that would add to the stress. I fear he may be trying to tell us it is time & he does not want to try anymore, but I certainly don't want to make that decision prematurely.

In all other aspects, he is in good health.
 

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Lovey's Girl, my Cody, who died in 2005, had DM. It went to his brain in the end, causing catastrophic seizures. If your fellow has arthritis, pulling on the harness can be causing pain and therefore the aggression. Do you have a HelpEmUp harness, which has a front and a rear end piece, enabling you to lift both ends equally? If you think he's trying to tell you that he's finished his gallant fight, I'd do a physical check list to determine his quality of life. Still enjoying eating? Still want to play ball, even if it's rolling it to him? You know your dog, so your check list will be his favorite activities and his attitude. I used to be a member of the DM list on Yahoo, and a saying that everyone took to heart with a DM dog was "better to let them go a week too soon than a moment too late". It's a terrible disease, and I'm so sorry that your pup has it. My guess is that his snarkiness isn't frustration with his lack of independence but it is likely pain. Wishing you and your beloved dog a resolution of this situation......
 

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Thank you Kristy & Finn's Fan. We have the HelpEmUp & the vet definitely intimated that his time may have come. Sometimes he also becomes aggressive if my husband just tries to pick him up to carry him, other times he is OK with that. This morning he would only tolerate being carried on a stretcher.

I know his aggression is likely pain or frustration, but I wanted to post this just in case someone had a similar experience and could make a suggestion.

He had such a miraculous recovery for several days last week after his initial collapse that we were hopeful for more time. Now I realize that my elder daughter was away & his "rebound" ended once she was safely back home. It feels like he needed to know his family was safe before he gave us the signs that it was time to let go.
 

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I'm so sorry you're having to contemplate this very sad time. I've been there and it is just heartwrenching.

It does sound like your poor boy is reacting to pain, or maybe disorientation (which could be causing fear aggression). I'm so sorry I have no experience or advice to offer - just support. Please let us know what happens.
 

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I have no advice and knowledge of this DM, but just wanted to say that I'm so sorry that you're going thru this terrible time. It's so hard to loose our precious gold. Keeping you in our thoughts at this sad time.
 

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We had to carry our beloved Homer outside the last week of his life. Was not easy for us or him. Degeneration in our beautiful noble Golden babies is the hardest cross to bear.
My best to you.
 

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Lovey'sGirl, it sounds like your brave boy did indeed wait until all the chicks were in the nest before letting his feelings be known. It's uncanny how so many pups make a miraculous recovery a few days before they let you know that the battle is over. My Cody walked upstairs the day before he got his angel wings....and he hadn't been able to do stairs for months. I hope that you and your dog are peaceful with the next step in his wonderful life. My heart goes out to you at this sad, sad time.
 

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I'm in agreement that the onset of aggressive behavior is probably an act of confusion and pain. I think that would be the sign for me, though only a dog's family can really know for sure. You'll make the decision with only his interest at heart, and it'll be the right one.
 

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Thank you all for the kind thoughts. We sent Lovey to the Rainbow Bridge on Tuesday. I was able to say good-bye without any question in my mind that it was time. They are all so special, and the grief is only as great as the love that preceded it.
 

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I am so very sorry for the loss of your dear Lovey. Take comfort the pain is now gone and your sweetheart is free to run and play with new Golden friends. All my best.

Sent from Petguide.com Free App
 

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I am so, so sorry. Your heart must be broken.

My very first Golden was named Lovie. Such a perfect name for Goldens.

Thinking of you...
 
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My previous Goldy Brodie developed arthritis at an early age & by the time he was 9 yrs old he was becoming aggressive towards other people to the point he was dangerous so we kept him away from visitors. This was a dog who had grown up with our kids & had always been good tempered & patient so it was a shock to see him get so angry at the world around him. There was no obvious reason for arthritis so young & even his breeder was shocked as he came from dogs bred & trained as guide dogs so should have lived for around 15 yrs.
He was on medication for the pain but as it progressed it was not helping him much, I finally gave into the vet's repeated requests to let him go after he attacked me. The vet explained that his aggressiveness was part of the pain cycle & that he was starting to lose it mentally, he asked me "what would it take, that he attacks one of yr kids before you agree to let him go to a better place?"
I think when Brodie attacked me so viciously it made me understand he was in too much pain to be able to think straight so it was not fair for him. At least he went peacefully & is in a happier place while we have the memories to keep with us forever.
It still brings a tear to my eye when I think of him even 14 years later because a Goldy stays in yr heart always, but I know now I did the right thing for him.
 

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My previous Goldy Brodie developed arthritis at an early age & by the time he was 9 yrs old he was becoming aggressive towards other people to the point he was dangerous so we kept him away from visitors. This was a dog who had grown up with our kids & had always been good tempered & patient so it was a shock to see him get so angry at the world around him. There was no obvious reason for arthritis so young & even his breeder was shocked as he came from dogs bred & trained as guide dogs so should have lived for around 15 yrs.
He was on medication for the pain but as it progressed it was not helping him much, I finally gave into the vet's repeated requests to let him go after he attacked me. The vet explained that his aggressiveness was part of the pain cycle & that he was starting to lose it mentally, he asked me "what would it take, that he attacks one of yr kids before you agree to let him go to a better place?"
I think when Brodie attacked me so viciously it made me understand he was in too much pain to be able to think straight so it was not fair for him. At least he went peacefully & is in a happier place while we have the memories to keep with us forever.
It still brings a tear to my eye when I think of him even 14 years later because a Goldy stays in yr heart always, but I know now I did the right thing for him.
THank you for sharing a painful and personal experience with us, I'm so sorry that your family and your dog had to go through it. Time doesn't always help the pain.
 
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