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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had my Toby Dog at the chiropractor yesterday.
I asked the chiro, who is a DVM, whether he thinks I should have Toby evaluated for degenerative myelopathy (my latest neurotic idea about him) and he said no, Toby doesn't show ANY of the classic symptoms. So that was a great start!
Toby has gained 4 pounds since I switched his food and started adding a can of sardines every day to his diet, but again, great news....the chiro said it's MUSCLE ! ! ! He showed me the muscles that have developed "significantly" since Toby was last there, 3 months ago, mostly along his back (think between the ribs and pelvis along the spinal column) and in his thighs, whoooo hooooo !
And to top it all off, he said not to come back for 3 months because Toby is doing so very well!
So it was a great visit, and I was as pleased as could be.
Oh, and Toby says hi to Copper.
Meanwhile, my Tiny Girl is starting to drag her back feet every so often, so I think she'll be making a visit to the chiro pretty soon as well. It would be her first visit.
 

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That is simply terrific news for your old guy! Heck, I'll celebrate a NO diagnosis on DM any day, since that's what my angel boy died from. Fingers crossed that Tiny Girl just needs an adjustment to get her back feet working properly. Smooch the pooches for me, please; I'm always thrilled when a senior gets a good report:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks!
Didn't you say he was about 12 when he was diagnosed with DM?
The chiro said Toby is not a likely candidate because his rear end weakness has been very very slowly coming on for almost 3 years now. He wags his tail like a wild man (I guess loss of tail use is one of the symptoms?) and he corrects his feet immediately if you turn the toes down on a rear foot.
Also, he has a calcified disk in his lower spine (on xray) that the chiro feels is what is causing most of Toby's problems.
Can you tell me (us) more about the symptoms that led to diagnosis for your boy?


That is simply terrific news for your old guy! Heck, I'll celebrate a NO diagnosis on DM any day, since that's what my angel boy died from. Fingers crossed that Tiny Girl just needs an adjustment to get her back feet working properly. Smooch the pooches for me, please; I'm always thrilled when a senior gets a good report:)
 

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I am so glad to hear a positive vet visit! I too, would like to know more about DM. Not that suspect anyone has it, but to know the symptoms. Always looking for information.
 

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Momma to angel Cody
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Barb, Cody was diagnosed in the summer of 2001 and went to the Bridge in July of 2005; he was almost 14 1/2 when he died. I'm a ridiculously zealous dog owner and know every nuance of their health, so when I noticed that his hind legs would periodically cross when we were out walking, I took him to my vet. I already knew he had spondylosis, but this wasn't the same. When my vet did the proprioception test (turning his paws upside down so he was standing on the top of the paw, for those who don't know the term), it took him about 30 seconds to right his right rear and not quite as long on the left. Vet recommended seeing a neuro vet.

I took him to a specialty clinic up near CSU, where the neurologist had been a full professor at CSU. I took his x-rays with me, showing the spondylosis but nothing remarkable otherwise. Neuro guy did his own x-rays to confirm that nothing else was going on. He wanted to do a myelogram, which I refused due to cost. Turns out that was fortuitous on my part, as some DM dogs who are still walking come out of a myelogram completely paralyzed. He came back with a diagnosis of DM; he'd seen it mostly in GSDs (there's controversy whether there are actually two forms of this disease, the GSD version and the any other breed version), but his wife's golden had it, with a similar presentation. He advised that he thought the progression would be slow due to his age and breed.

I researched the heck out of it and joined an on-line support group, where there were lots of GSDs, corgis, boxers, a few Pyrs and a couple of goldens. Cody's progression was indeed slow, although there came a time when he really couldn't do stairs (I live in a tri-level house!), so we became adept at my lugging his rear end up while he used his front end. A friend loaned me a cart (doggie wheelchair) that her dog had used, but it was counterbalanced and made Cody nervous. He also insisted on walking, and since he still could and did until he died, I carried a sling for those times when his imitation of a drunken sailor was too good:) We couldn't go far that last year, but we went virtually every day. Usually, with DM, the progression is from the rear end forward. Most dogs are PTS before they're completely paralyzed. Cody never became paralyzed, nor was he incontinent. However, he was pts on the day he had a series of devastating seizures, which my vet attributed to the DM. Most DM dogs die from something else before it affects the brain. There is no test to confirm a DM diagnosis; it can only be verified through necropsy. I should have, but I didn't have one done. It would have helped in the research that's being done at Univ. of FL and Univ. of Missouri, but I was too devastated to do it. Research on human MS may have some benefit in DM, although they are not exactly alike.

Did you really want that dissertation? :) There are a few canine diseases that I'm all too familiar with, so I will always celebrate when someone's pup DOESN'T have one of these nasties:)
 

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Momma to angel Cody
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Doggie wheelchair

Here are a couple of photos of the cart for those folks who've never seen a dog wheelchair. This one happens to be an Eddie's Wheels, but there are a few other companies that manufacture them. In the doggie snow angel photos, he could no longer get himself up from that position, so I was a serious doggie slave at that point. Note that he didn't use his hind legs in making those snow angels. DM is not painful, he was a happy camper until his last day on earth.
 

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That is wonderful news about Toby. So happy for him and you. I know how worried you have been about him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yes, I really did and thank you SO much for posting it! I think it helps all of us to be aware of things that have vague symptoms so we can be on the lookout for them in our dogs.
I am still going to ask my "regular" vet about DM when I see him next, in January, but I see why the chiro said that Toby's correcting his toes immediately is a good sign.
I made a comment to the chiro that there's really nothing they can do to treat it anyway except load them up with vitamins E and B, and he said I'm wrong, there are some new drugs that are having excellent results. So that was good to know.
Thanks for the information! I want to know everything I can about things that someday might involve my dogs, or those of people I know!


Did you really want that dissertation? :) There are a few canine diseases that I'm all too familiar with, so I will always celebrate when someone's pup DOESN'T have one of these nasties:)
 

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I am ecstatic over Toby's good news!!!!
Waht have you been doing to help with muscle development (you know I might have to do that too!)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks!
Unfortunately for Copper, the thing that has made the most difference for Toby, as far as we can tell, has been the sardines. It's the most incredible turn around for him. Between the added protein, and the tons of Omega 3, we saw a difference within a couple of weeks.
But I've also been doing some exercises that the chiro suggested, and I don't know if they help build muscle or if they just help to keep him a bit looser and more stretched. I suspect a bit of both. In any case, they can't hurt.
1. Walk sideways (him not you, LOL).
Hold a treat in front of his nose, stand next to him facing his rib cage. Move the treat away from you while very gently nudging his ribs with your legs and tell him side, side, side or similar so that he steps sideways. As he gets better at it, have him go 10 feet or more. Then do it in the other direction (using the other side to lead off). Repeat it several times during the course of the day. Normally they figure it out pretty fast and you don't have to nudge his ribs after a few times.
2. Walk backwards
Harder than it sounds. Hold a treat in front of his nose, slightly below his nose so that he doesn't sit. Gently push it toward him and tell him back, back, back or similar so that he steps backwards. Sometimes it helps to do it along a wall at first so that he understands he has to step backwards rather than angle toward the treat. You'll see what I mean when you try it. Do it 10 feet at a time, again, several times during the day.
3. Neck and shoulder stretches
Hold a treat up against his flank and tell him to get it. The point is for him to turn his head, twisting his body, so that his nose touches his rear flank. It's easy for a young dog to do (think of the motion that they'd make if they were to try to chew on the very top of their rear leg) but not so easy for an old dog. Do one side, then the other side, repeat 5-10 times. Excellent stretch for dogs who are overusing their front ends because of a weak back end.
Then hold the treat down low, with him standing, and slightly between his front legs. Get him to stretch his head and neck down so that he's attempting to reach his nose slightly between his front legs. Another great stretch for overused front ends!
4. Leg stretches
VERY GENTLE when you do this one. Very, very gently take one front leg and stretch it out (off the ground) in front of them. Do both front legs a couple of times, and then very very gently stretch the rear legs out behind them. It's important to move very slowly and gently when doing this, and if you feel resistance, don't do it. Also very important to stretch the legs straight out to the front or rear, not to the side at all.

And if nothing else, the old dogs seem to really enjoy the attention, and it's something they can do and feel successful at!


I am ecstatic over Toby's good news!!!!
Waht have you been doing to help with muscle development (you know I might have to do that too!)?
 

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Sorry to run out on you this morning. I had to help DH with something and then go christmas shopping!:(:(:(:(:( I wienied out and gave restaurant/visa gift cards mostly.

I want duralactin/glycoflex II or III (not sure which) and already got a new ortho bed and of course a few treats....... Guess who rules around here?

Did the chiro recommend anything new with Toby or just keep up the same routine? It sounds like it is working so GREAT!
I use these same exercises with my horse (who is almost 22), but never thought to try them with Copper. I do use a massager on him almost every day. He likes it and it seems to help.

It is wonderful that Toby is doing so well. I know that is exactly what you would want for Christmas.:) ;):p:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
it's the same stuff we've been doing for a couple of months. I really do think it helps! Try it with Copper, if nothing else he'll love the attention!
 

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When is Tiny going to the chiro?
I hope she gets as good of an evaluation as Toby did.;):):p:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm trying to decide about Tiny, because I think her problem is the result of a VERY slow to heal injury. I'm still mulling it over.....
 

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Glad to hear about Toby. I know that is a burden off your shoulders. I know it does not turn back the clock but still.

As for Tiny, would an evaluation hurt? Not that you want to start unnecessary exams. I am not a fan of chiro, but you like and have success with yours so maybe it would help? I know it is another way to spend money. What would you spend it on otherwise. ;) Something simple as a soreness can make a dog compensate and could throw off the way they move.

Ann
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
just that it's really expensive for the first time, because we'd need to do spinal and rear hip/leg xrays first.....
She hurt a back leg messing with the boys, must be about 3 months ago now. It's much much better, and I think :crossfing it's just really slow to heal because she's coming up onto 13.
Still haven't decided....


Glad to hear about Toby. I know that is a burden off your shoulders. I know it does not turn back the clock but still.

As for Tiny, would an evaluation hurt? Not that you want to start unnecessary exams. I am not a fan of chiro, but you like and have success with yours so maybe it would help? I know it is another way to spend money. What would you spend it on otherwise. ;) Something simple as a soreness can make a dog compensate and could throw off the way they move.

Ann
 

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Ouch. I had no idea about the expense of an initial visit to the chiro.

tiny's problem sounds like Copper's too. I believe he hurt his left hind leg on the slippery deck last summer and he is still having trouble with it. I think the older guys and gals just heal a lot more slowly and of course it takes longer to heal since they are still using it as best they can.

But, I am very glad toby is doing well. that's a merry christmas for sure!

just that it's really expensive for the first time, because we'd need to do spinal and rear hip/leg xrays first.....
She hurt a back leg messing with the boys, must be about 3 months ago now. It's much much better, and I think :crossfing it's just really slow to heal because she's coming up onto 13.
Still haven't decided....
 
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