Degenerative Myelopathy

Discussion in 'Grooming & Care' started by wuzzup, Sep 23, 2013.

  1. wuzzup

    wuzzup Senior Member

    Are there any Corgi owners out there that don't necessarily subscribe to the notion that spinal degeneration of dogs is a forgone conclusion and can be greatly delayed or avoided, completely?

    I have two wonderful male Pems, age 4, and they are, both, in excellent shape. One weighs 31 #; the other, 28.

    My previous two male pems lived 13 1/2 and 16 years. Both lost the use of their legs at the end. One had Type 2 Diabetes (I think)....

    I'm starting to suspect that, maybe, hip displasia and spinal myelopathy may be related to diabetes. It's been pretty well established that insulin insensitivity is related to both osteoarthritis and alzheimer's in humans. Could it be that improper diet (table scraps or dog food too high in processed carbs could be at the root of these terrible diseases in dogs? I invite your comments, please.
  2. Pamela

    Pamela Junior Member

    Hi wuzzup. Interesting questions. My previous Corgi, Bob gradually lost use of his hind legs around the age of 15 yr., 4 months. He passed away at 15 yrs. 10 months. There really is a lot we don't know about these diseases, their relation to one another, causes etc. The literature certainly indicates a genetic component with Canine Myelopathies. As conscientious dog (or any pet) owners, it's important to maintain our animals on a high plane of nutrition. Certainly, (at least here in the US, I don't know about Rx dog foods in other countries), diabetes is managed in it's nutritional aspect with Science Diet W/D, which helps the dog maintain a good glycemic index.

    I do know that over the last couple of decades, veterinarians were diagnosing increasing numbers of cats with diabetes. The old standard of care regarding diet was to serve 'dry food'..."it's better for their teeth". However, being obligate carnivores, cats were having a hard time metabolizing that carbohydrate loaded dry food.

    The other thing we can do for our dogs is to keep them fit and avoid obesity. Personally, I think that obesity in any dog with a long back is just asking for trouble. (not to mention generally bad health and a risk of diabetes) Shortly after we got our first Corgi, who was a glutton---AND my husband was giving him too many treats, I came home from work crying. Six months earlier, we'd had a 4 year old female Pembroke come in to the clinic for her annual and vax. I still remember her name, Dutchess...a real sweety. However, she was grossly obese. After the exam, my veterinarian (boss) gave me the task of Client Education regarding diet and the dangers of obesity. Unfortunately, I could tell that the clients didn't want to listen. Six months later, this darling 4 year old Pem came in for euthanasia, as she was completly paralyzed from mid-back, down. Tearfully, I told my husband the story of Dutchess, and thankfully for our own dog, this sad tale cured my husband of overfeeding our Pem.
  3. Sandygirl

    Sandygirl Senior Member

    Pamela, how sad for the 4 y/o pem!

    I notice that FAT people have FAT dogs. (And kids) Sorry if I insult anyone but it has been my observation for a long time. A (chubby) couple I know bought a beautiful pedigree lab puppy from a very reputable and expensive breeder in. The area. Within 3 year that gorgeous dog is is grossly overweight. It just breaks my heart to see what a slug they have turned that dog into. Just like their previous dog.

  4. wuzzup

    wuzzup Senior Member

    Sandy, You've been looking at all the wonderful photos that scroll across the top of this forum, haven't you? I love the pictures, too. It makes me realize how special these little dogs are and just how important they are to all of us. I will share this link, now, because canine arthritis, hip dysplasia, spinal degeneration and obesity/diabetes are so intimately intertwined. If you've ever own a corgi, there's high probability your friend will travel this "path" in the end.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Canine Arthritis: Facts From a Veterinary Expert

    Here are a few excerpts from the article...

    What are the most common contributing factors (for canine arthritis)?
    Dr. Cathy: These would be large breed dogs, overweight dogs, and genetic lines from parents who developed arthritis.

    What is the prognosis for a dog with canine arthritis?
    Dr. Cathy: This depends on how soon you catch it and how compliant the owner is. I have patients whose owners will not try to help the animal get the weight off so nothing really helps. On the other hand, I have patients whose owners do everything that I advise and find that we extend their dogs’ life and comfort for months to years.

    What to Do When Your Best Friend is Hurting. What can owners do to make their pets more comfortable?
    Dr. Cathy: Everything that reduces inflammation makes the arthritic patient feel better. Feed them healthy food (half meat, half veggies – people food). Help your pet achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
    Take them for walks. Massage the affected areas with a hand held vibrating massager like those designed for tired human muscles. Apply warm heat.
    When pain relief is necessary, use just enough to relieve the pain but not so much that negative effects occur.

    What are the top three tips you have for owners of arthritic dogs?
    Dr. Cathy: Good question! Here's my top three recommendations for owners:

    Transition the dog to a natural food diet or even the more traditional canine raw feeding as quickly as possible.
    Motion is good and inhibits pain so I’d advise them to take the animal for chiropractic care on a routine basis.
    If needed based on the level of pain, I’d prescribe or recommend herbs or some traditional Western drugs. I try to do as little as possible to get the dog the best comfort possible. My philosophy is to medicate as sparingly as possible.

    Sandy, imo, your observation is not insulting and is one shared by many, many dog owners for one simple reason. We are solely responsible for our dog's health throughout their entire lives. The conditions I've mentioned, above, in a word: excruciating. The single, most important thing a dog owner can do to shield your friend from these conditions is weight management. Nothing more need be said, really.
  5. Michael Romanos

    Michael Romanos Active Member Staff Member Moderator

    One can easily purchase low-calorie food and low-calorie diet food for dogs from commercial operators of processed dry and wet dog food - Either through a vet, on-line or by scouring the pet store shelves.

    MR likes this

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