We would try to help him move...and he would growl and bark...like "don't touch me." He had never ever growled at us before.
I would have to get down on my knees to wrap myself around his upper body and try to pull him to the door, inch by inch, so that he could go potty. Each move was a struggle for our brave boy. At one point...he could not even wag his tail.
After a few more days Mikey could not move. His front legs were giving out. If he could manage to get up on his front legs...they would shake and quiver. We gave him a doggie nsaid and other meds...but nothing was helping. Mikey kept trying to crawl...but was giving out after a little bit of movement.
Our son came home and helped us...and even he had trouble moving Mikey outside to potty. At one point Mikey went a day without success voiding. Another symptom.
We were having to hand water and feed him. He could not get to his food and water. We were afraid to let him have too much water because of not being able to void. And we did not want him to dehydrate either. We knew we had to get Mikey back to the vet. Quickly.
To transport Mikey to the car hubby and son made an improvised stretcher with a folded blanket. Mikey was not too thrilled about that...but they got him in the car and to the vet, where he was transported inside with a better animal stretcher/gurney. He was stoic about the moving...and did not appear to be in pain.
Everything happened so fast. Mikey spent the night at the vet hospital, where he was treated with steroids, etc. to try to help. He managed to get on his feet, but only briefly. His rear paws would rotate as if he were walking on the tops of his feet. This is NOT good. This is one of the symptoms of the disease, and one of the tests...the paws test.
The suddenness of all of this made my head spin. A disease I had never heard of had gotten its grip on my sweet Mikey. I did read that the disease is not painful. I am thankful for that! The legs just stop working because of neurological problems in the spinal cord.
We made the decision to not let Mikey suffer any more. He became a paraplegic in a couple of weeks. He could not walk. It killed us. Mikey has been the picture of health over the years. That is why were were so stunned by this sudden turn.
We have lost other dogs. But losing Mikey brought all of us to tears. We cried like babies! Even the big tough guys! We had just lost our furbaby. We were just a mess. I am glad the vet's office had a box of tissues.
This disease is seen in German Shepards, and other breeds...and our vet had to put hers down a couple of weeks ago after working with him. I guess it was good that our vet had experience with the disease...and knew what to look for. If you have more interest in reading about this...
just google Canine Degenerative Myelopathy. I think it is mostly in large breed dogs, but not positive. Here are a couple of good sources for more information.
Mikey has no control of his rear legs in this photo.
He still had upper body strength to raise up.
But in time...all he could do was lay his head down.
He was just "beached."
My Mikey had been struck down with a horrible neurological disease.
Mikey kept me so busy in the first few months that I did not notice that my house was empty of kids. There were leaks, dribbles, and dog fur! Lots of cleaning and sanitizing happened multiple times a day. We had a cage in a corner of the kitchen for him. That was his "bedroom." I can remember sitting playing roll the ball getting him ready for lights out. Potty in the grass, then lights out. Well, there was a night light and public radio for white noise.
Little by little it seemed that Mikey became a house dog. Wow. Me, the one who always wanted the house to be spotless, was learning how to deal with dog fur, drool spots on the floor, paw prints, etc. I later learned that Mikey more than paid for his room and board with love, hugs, quiet understanding, and companionship.
Mikey had his work cut out for him too. He had a papa, a mama, and two grown kids to help take care of. Then our daughter married and his circle included another two people. It is a lot of work to love so many people and take care of their emotional needs.
I remember locking myself out of the house once when Mikey was about a year old. I was so exasperated that I sat on the front porch and cried. I remember looking at him and how he had this expression of what's this all about. Head tilted and ears rotated up.
Mikey endured two moves with his family, adapting to his new surroundings each time. He loved making friends with new people, kids, dogs. Mikey did not have any bad habits either. He did not dig holes in the yard. He did not bark...unless absolutely necessary. His favorite treat was a "golden" oreo. He was one good boy!
I took golden oreos with us when we went to say goodby. Each of us gave him one last golden oreo! Hugged, cried, hugged cried, hugged cried.
|Mikey with Larry the Lion...one of his favorite toys.|
over the Rainbow Bridge.
(All pics were taken after Mikey's legs stopped working. Normally I could not get a pic of Mikey because he was "in my face" with tail wagging.)
Thanks for visiting today... I will heal, but I will always remember sweet Mikey for showing me a special kind of love.