This page is a bit more somber than the other pages, but I hope it proves useful for some of you out there that may have a dog suffering from Degenerative Myelopathy. DM is a disease that degenerates the spine, which causes a loss of use in the rear legs. DM is seen mostly in German Shepherds. Venus was recently diagnosed and treatment options were provided to us. It is this page where I will report her progress and let you know how she is doing. I am confident in our treatment options and Venus is looking forward to the exciting treatment of swimming (her favorite past time).
Jan 25, 2011 – Treatment for Venus’ Degenerative Myelopathy begins. Her first series of treatment began with a B Vitamin, which contains 100mg of essential B Vitamins. Also, she began her fish oil treatment as well. This includes 1 1000mg Fish Oil vitamin one time per day. Venus is not the best pill taker, so unfortunately she has to take these the hard way, mommy putting them down her throat. Surprisingly, she hasn’t spit out any of them so far, but after she takes the last one I am rewarding her with a treat. Exercise is also another form of treatment. Last fall I ceased walking Venus because she wasn’t getting around so well. This was the worst thing I could have done, so we are easing back into a walking schedule. Today she walked to the end of the street; she had two instances where she drug her left back leg, but was able to regain her stance and continue walking. The goal is to work up to two hours per week of exercise. Two days at 30 minutes and one day at an hour. Those in between days she can exercise for 15 minutes, but after each long day she needs a rest. It will take a bit to get her up to this level, but I am confident she can do it.
This morning, I started the next stage of vitamin treatment and added 1000mg of Vitamin E to the B & Fish Oil. Venus has been so good about taking her pills. Perhaps she knows they are helping? She struggles with her walks, but around the house she is doing much better. I can definitely tell a difference. She's able to recover when she does start to slip (most times) and she's also figured out how to get herself up from bed in a pretty quick fashion. Her walks are a two-man approach. Dustin and I both go and he steadies her as we walk. Walks will become much easier when the cart arrives. We can't wait to come home and see it on our doorstep.
The cart is here! After tinkering with it just a bit, we think it fits properly. Watching Venus with her new wheels is a bit hysterical, think bull in a china closet. My old girl hasn't moved this fast in a long time. Once she gets going, she goes! We've only played in the backyard, but today we are going for a real walk. The instructions note we should only go for short walks for the first week or so, until the dog gets used to the cart. We'll follow instructions, but I think she's really happy to be so mobile again.
The Vitamin E really seems to be making a difference as well. The last week she has been much more active, and even playing ball. This morning she was bouncing off the walls - a sight for sore eyes!
It seems Venus's progression of the disease has definitely slowed. She is not worse, but she is also not better. Her cart walks still seem a little foreign, but are improving. Her daily vitamin regime consists of 2000mg Vitamin E, 1000mg Fish Oil, and a complex B vitamin. This weekend, she will get another vitamin added to her dailys, a Vitamin C. This is the last addition to the recommended regime. She does well taking her pills, as it has become routine. As for her spirits, she really seems to be perking up and acting like the Venus we know and love. She "talked" to Dustin the other night for the first time in a long while. Climbing the stairs is not something she has done since we moved, but the other day she followed me up and kept me company while I did homework. I carried her down. When we are out in the yard, she brings me her toys, but struggles to chase after them. She doesn't want to give up the fetch just yet. For the most part, she stays up on her four legs as long as she doesn't try any sudden movements. She stills enjoying being outside, but nowadays she's a little more subdued in her enthusiasm.
I'm happy to report that the vitamins seem to really have halted the progression of Venus's DM. Even though she is not better, she is not getting worse by the day as it seemed she was just a few months ago. Her spirits are quite high most days, and she is enjoying playing with Dallas again. She even waits at the end of the patio with her toy, beckoning me to come play with her. The weather is just right at the moment, and V spends most days lying in the shade watching all the interesting things going on in the backyard. She is able to make it to our community mailbox without the aid of the cart, and without falling. This is awesome! Any longer walks, however, still require use of her wheels. She still has not got used to taking all 5 pills, and I think this is the most dreadful part of her day. In pure Venus dramatic fashion, she will now not take a treat after her pills, such an act of defiance. What a goof. As it stands, I am really hopeful for the old girl because she is doing great.