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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know I haven't posted here much, but I need help. I have an 8 year old GSD that has been diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy, it is a neurological disease. I hope I am spelling this right. As of right now, he can barely walk, drops turds and does not know it. He is a house dog and needs to be right next to me or my hubby!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
He whines a lot now because he can't move! Our bedroom is upstairs and he whines when we go to bed, but he refuses any help! He eventually makes it up, but it takes him a long time! We love this dog and just can't make the dreaded decision! How do you do it?
 

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I'm not sure what your question is? When/how to make the decision to put him down? How to help him get around?

If it's when/how to make the decision, I usually use quality of life as my deciding factor. Quality of life in a dog pertains to such things as eating/drinking/being able to urinate and defecate normally/getting around without pain/wanting to be with the owners like always--basically enjoying life. Each of these factors needs to be taken into account. The lack of 1 or 2 of these factors doesn't necessarily mean that quality of live is lacking, but you need to look closely and objectively at the rest of the factors to make sure there is still quality of life.

Can your dog get around on his own without causing himself injury or pain? Dogs that drag themselves around usually cause nasty sores on the non-functional limbs. If your dog is doing that, you really need to make a decision-either find a way to help the dog get around or put him down if you can't help him.

To help him get around, there are doggy wheelchairs (slings set up on a frame with wheels). I think RandB got a wheelchair for his older dog a few years ago-I'm not sure if those posts got purged when we moved servers, so you might want to search the forum for dog wheelchair. You can also use handheld slings or towels under the belly to help the dog do stairs, etc. It may take some training to get him to accept the help, but it is necessary. He's going to really hurt himself if you keep letting him struggle with stairs and such.

I hope this post has helped in which ever way you needed help. If not, please post some more specific questions!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We have a wheelchair that we made this summer, he does not like it. We have a sling and he does not like it. I guess I am venting my feelings because it hurts! He is a proud dog and refuses help. I wish he would let me help him, but he will just not move if I try! Yup, I am just venting my feelings, I know what I need to do, but is is so very hard! I know I must be strong and make the right decision at the right time!
 

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BTDT It is sad to see dogs with DM struggle.

My last GSD with DM had to be put down in February. During her last weeks, I found a wonderful harness-type sling that greatly helped to get her up and down stairs. I bought it at http://www.handicappedpets.com.

The harness went around her chest and lower belly giving good overall support for getting up stairs. The part that went around her chest was a big help in going downstairs so she didn't go too fast. A handle on the dog's back area was perfectly placed for the dog's comfort, and human control.

Did your vet recommend any medication or supplements? Mine was on aminocaproic acid, a med that was prepared by a compounding pharmacy. Take a look at http://www.germanshepherds.com for a lot of information that may help you and your dog.

Good luck! It won't be easy...
 

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The Last Battle
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done,
For this -- the last battle -- can't be won.
You will be sad I understand,
But don't let grief then stay your hand,
For on this day, more than the rest,
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn't want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.
Take me to where to my needs they'll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don't grieve that it must be you
Who has to decide this thing to do;
We've been so close -- we two -- these years,
Don't let your heart hold any tears.

-- Unknown

My heart goes out to you. My husband and I have had to make that choice twice and are facing it again in the near future. It is never an easy thing to do.
 

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Yes, we had a dog wheelchair for our dog with similar problems. Thanks for remembering, Goldenmom.
Please take a look at all the options available at handicappedpets.com. It is a great source of information and products.
You said you made a home-made wheelchair for your dog, but please read all the info on the professional ones. If it isn't set up just right, it might not be working correctly for him. It has to be balanced and supported just right, so that it moves effortlessly with the dog. A proper one will support the dogs hind end in a way that once he is in it, he will be in a normal walking position, and if his front end is strong, you can encourage him to start the walking motion with his front legs, and the wheelchair will just come along with him, easily. When the dog discovers he is actually moving again, he gets his confidence quickly. If he has to struggle at all, or try to "pull" the wheelchair, I think he wouldn't like it.
The one we used was from "Doggon Wheels", It had bicycle-type tires, and the harness part could be detached easily and used as a sling inside the house.
Please look up some of these wheelchairs and read the fitting instructions - it will tell you if the one you made is correct for your dog.
Best wishes, it isn't an easy thing to go through, or an easy decision to make. But for us it was worth it to see our dog get some extra quality life, before the end came.
 

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ask yourself if you would want to have to go through the things he is, just to be with your people, because you are fiercely loyal and you cant let your people down.
GSDs are the most loyal breed, and will go above and beyond to do what they think is expected of them, even if it hurts.
It has been said by many wise men, sometimes when you love something you have to let it go.
Im sorry, but I really feel you should let this guy go while he has some dignity left, It hurts me to think such a proud creature is suffering with this.
 

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I have to agree with Cannon Farms. As I am owned by a GSD and having been owned in the past by them know this breed will struggle to be with you. They will go until they drop dead at your feet. I know this from experience. My first GSD did just that. Never let us know he was ill. He dropped dead. When the vet said he had ruptured a tumor in his abdomen and bled to death and that it was painful...I wept for days. Never will another animal suffer for my need.

You know what needs to be done. Hold him so that you are the last thing he see's. Speak softly to him and he will be at peace and so will you.
 

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Sorry you are in this spot. I know it is hard, but better to be a day early than a day late. You will have fewer regrets.
 

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You know what needs to be done.
That is a bit presumptive. Many disabled dogs do not necessarily suffer and can manage with their condition.

As others have suggested, I strongly recommend checking out the handicappedpets.net site and post in one of the forums before making that decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you all very much!

I called my vet to ask about the aminocaproic acid, he feels my dog "Lucky" is to far gone for it to be of any help now. He was diagnosed over 2 years ago and at that time I was told he had maybe 2 years left. We tried the Prednizone pills and then the shot, mainly to check for pain or inflammation. Neither helped, so pain has been ruled out. He will never get better only worse. I know in my heart what I need to do. I guess I just needed some support, it is so hard to decide the right time!

Denise
 

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That is a bit presumptive. Many disabled dogs do not necessarily suffer and can manage with their condition.

As others have suggested, I strongly recommend checking out the handicappedpets.net site and post in one of the forums before making that decision.
Yes many can. But not when they are in pain, can not navigate stairs, whine because they are helpless and can not move.

Or did you miss that in the second post? :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I have been on handicappedpets and the yahoo dm group since April. It is just so very hard to watch your best friend deteriorate before your eyes. I told myself when he couldn't use the the steps, I would do it, then when he was incontinent I would do it, now it is when he can't get up at all, I will do it! I keep making excuses. He can barely get up now and I am gutless! I must be there with him and I know it is gonna hurt like He77!
 

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(((((((((((((((((((Michgranny)))))))))))))))))))))) Yeah, it rots! There comes a time though when we need to make the ultimate decision of love. It hurts our hearts to do it, but it is the most selfless act you can do. Here's the website that helped me see that my beloved was masking a lot more pain than I had realized:

http://www.raiseddogfeeder.com/WEB.Loss.Quality_of_Life.htm
 

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Michgranny...I am so sorry that your having to make this choice. I have been there with a dog with cancer. I was like you and kept putting it off...first it was if he was not interested in eating (I then hand fed him)...then until the dog was unable to control himself in the house (as he had diarreah constantly)....then I reasoned he could still enjoy walking to the park...then I saw he still enjoyed a game a fetch (albeit short) , so continued taking him to the vet for rehydration and he lived in the backyard with my son camping out each night with him and me and the other kids spending our days in the yard with him. Then one morning he awoke and brought my son the ball and fetched it once, then gave my son a look...so he sat down and he laid his head in his lap, licked his hand and then passed away. To this day I still cry when I think about it. That was just so wrong. The poor dog suffered and gave his all to the end because "I" could not let go and help him pass. I still feel guility to this day. Please don't make the same mistake I did.
 

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Yes, it's going to hurt like he77. It's going to hurt you not Lucky. He will go to sleep and wake up in place where there is no pain and he can run & jump. He will wait for you...but not with un-ease because he will have no sense of time..only love and happiness. It will take a lot of courage but you have that because you love him so much and want him to be free of the need to please you. I am so sorry for you..I know how hard and painful it is and nothing will ease that but time.
Make sure you discuss the process with your vet and Lucky is heavily sedated before he gets the final injection. I say this because I have heard of some vets that don't do this (very rare) and you want it to be a peaceful passing.
Big hugs to you, you have my support and will be in my thoughts and prayers.
 

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But not when they are in pain, can not navigate stairs, whine because they are helpless and can not move.

Or did you miss that in the second post?
I did not miss the pain part because it was not there. She said that he whines because he cannot move. That could be due to frustration not necessarily to pain.

I simply feel that telling someone they know what they should do is ridiculous based on one or two posts by a person. You can encourage them to euthanize if there is pain and suffering but you should not presume there is necessarily. I have seen many owners claim their animal was suffering when in fact it was more painful for the person to see than for the animal to experience. For example my hound has a dislocated hip. When we rescued her we were told by countless people who saw her limping that we were cruel not to have her joint broken and reset into the socket but our vet felt that she was just fine and had formed a false joint. In other words, it looks worse than it is; you can palpate that leg and that joint and she never winces.

Just presenting an opposing point of view.
 

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He whines a lot now because he can't move! Our bedroom is upstairs and he whines when we go to bed, but he refuses any help! He eventually makes it up, but it takes him a long time! We love this dog and just can't make the dreaded decision! How do you do it?
Second post.

Whining is a symptom of pain. And what I was suggesting is that she knows what need to be done. She is there with him. She see's how he is feeling. That is what I ment. My opinion just as you have yours.

Michgranny...my thoughts are with you. This is never easy. And I am sorry that you have to even think about making this decision. Praying for peace for you.
 
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