Progressive neuropathy - any advice?

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Progressive neuropathy - any advice?

This is a discussion on Progressive neuropathy - any advice? within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Our 11 year old beagle/cavalier rescue has been losing the use of his back legs for quite a few months, but more so lately. Today ...

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Old 03-23-2017, 11:41 PM
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Progressive neuropathy - any advice?

Our 11 year old beagle/cavalier rescue has been losing the use of his back legs for quite a few months, but more so lately. Today an X-ray confirmed what we were worried about... he has progressive neuropathy. (It's currently affecting his back legs and his head, to a small degree -- he has two sunken spots so that his skull bones between his head and his ears protrude. It's just cosmetic for now, but it might affect his jaw and eyes soon). So far he can still sort of walk, but falls over a lot... He's not in pain. We tried little grippy boots on him today but that seemed to make him fall over more.

Has anyone gone through this? What did you do to help your dog? The vet recommended getting him to walk in deep water and also physiotherapy, but he said the prognosis is not good. He made it sound as though once the condition progresses to where he becomes incontinent, we shouldn't let it go on because his bladder could rupture...? Just looking for any tips or advice from those who have gone through this.

He is my first dog as an adult, so I've never really had to deal with the decision making side of end-of-life care...

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Old 03-24-2017, 07:19 AM
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I am so sorry you are faced with this. I can't offer much in the way of advice. I just wanted to lend support.
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Old 03-24-2017, 08:57 AM
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My old dog had started to suffer from this before she passed. There is some physio you can do - google it but check with vet first. Plus we tried acupuncture and it seemed to help somewhat.
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Old 03-24-2017, 09:02 AM
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I've dealt with DM ( degenerative myelopathy ) in one of my past dogs, sounds somewhat similar to your dog's situation. I'm sure you are making every moment of your dog's daily life as fulfilling as possible. I tried most every option available, some of which you cited. I'll never know if they helped to slow the progression of the disorder but I suppose it didn't hurt anything as I knew there was no cure. Some people choose to extend the dog's life by using slings and dog "wheelchairs" but it wasn't my choice as my dog's life was too active for such a remedy. The upside was, there is no pain for the dog with this disorder but the lack of motor skills was taking its toll through frustration on the dog's behalf, it rips one apart watching such a noble creature struggle as they systematically lose the control of their lower hinds as it spreads forward.

Your vet by saying " the prognosis is not good." is being honest and helping you accept the inescapable.

I decided the best mindset I needed to have in making decisions going forward was one of complete selflessness and this on its own was difficult for me as I so wanted my dog to be by my side for longer than the 8 years she had already but I had to table my wants and think of my dog's best interests. It killed me that I could not do better for my girl, it made me feel inadequate as if my dog was looking to me and asking " C'mon boss, help me out here like you always have" and I did, I liberated her from her hardship. It was the toughest of all the times I've had to say my last goodbyes to all the dogs I have had over my life.

It's hard to mask sadness and chances are your dog will know something isn't 'right" with you as you wrestle with this difficult time period. So, try your best to keep a smile when it is so tough, your dog deserves it.

I'm not sure about progressive neuropathy as compared to DM but DM doesn't cease, it continues to paralyze the dog systematically over time.

Let your conscience be your guide as you weigh your choices and remember it is you who knows your dog best therefore nobody can stand in judgment of your decision. This decision you will have to eventually make is the last greatest gesture/responsibility we as humans will make for our loyal companions who have served us so well over their life. And in my case, even though I didn't believe I could possibly care more for future dogs than I did for this girl, she lives on in all her successors and taught me how every day with your dog whether it is glorious or puts you at your wits end, is to be cherished and respected.

I wish you strength and clarity of mind as you deal with this tough inevitable phase, enjoy every moment you have with him.
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Old 03-24-2017, 11:38 PM
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Thank you for your words of support and your tips.

He just pooped on our deck after we took him for a walk, and didn't really seem aware that he had done it (and he never normally does!)... I am feeling pretty sick to my stomach at how quickly this seems to be progressing.
I feel like it's going to be impossible for me to say goodbye, because while intellectually I know it is the kindest way to honour his life, emotionally it feels like I am betraying him. It's awful.
But! We are not there yet and we will try acupuncture and physio next.
Thanks again for the support.
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