The noise of my dog catching the carpet caught my attention in November 2018. The sound was calm, prickly zip, and from then on, the reality of losing my dog dawned on me.
Actually, to be minimal with the truth, my inner feeling was definite that all was not well. I embarked on a search through the internet and was devastated by what I found — degenerative myelopathy (DM). On Sep 7, 2019, my dog finally succumbed to this ailment.
DM is a progressive spinal cord ailment resembling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in human beings. The dog will initially show signs of trembling at the back end while the hind paws knuckle or protrude. It is also characterized by the weakening of legs, paralysis and bladder disappearance. The disease, which also affects the breathing system, is incurable but causes no pain.
In the company of my husband, Troy, I took the dog to the vet after I witnessed knuckling for the first time. The vet report was promising. The scale of the MD infection was mild. The knuckling had not spread much, and only a back paw was affected. With the right approach, which would include exercise and strengthening, things could start working for Gracie, the dog.
During a visit to my parents’ home in December 2018, she slipped by her back legs while wandering near the Christmas tree on the shiny wooden flooring. In February, she went through several sessions to try and make her legs stronger. We decided to take Gracie for X-rays in March following a host of other health-related issues that ultimately affected her wellbeing. The results showed there was no problem with her skeleton and also ruled out arthritis, which could have been a possibility owing to her age.
Image source: “Lauren Twigg Krupica” via HuffPost
April saw us heading to a canine neurologist who suggested an MRL. Even in the absence of an MRL, he knew it was DM. We were advised she needed genetic testing, and therefore we had to send a DNA sample. During this time, Gracie lost one of her back legs to paralysis.
The findings of the test came back in mid-May and were positive for DM. We felt disappointed, but we’re determined to ensure Gracie triumphed over this predicament. We sought help from all angles, including buying a rear harness to support one of her legs. We followed this with a wheelchair. We checked online for foods and supplements that could help alienate her suffering and bought them. We even went ahead to purchase reusable diapers as well as piddle pads for use during her incontinence.
Continue to page 2 to learn more about Gracie’s condition.