Category Archives: Degenerative Myelopathy

Vetgood Protective Waterproof Dog Boots

Vetgood Protective Waterproof Dog Boots

Vetgood Protective Veterinary Dog BootsBoots are In! Collars are out!

If you have ever been to the vet for paw or leg wounds, you will know that most of the time you are sent home with a neatly wrapped bandage or even worse a cast or splint and an uncomfortable and hideous Elizabethan collar to prevent your dog from interfering with the wound.  Your dog walks into walls or your shins, slobbers in the collar and lets you know by barking or whining that the hot and uncomfortable collar has to go! Finally, someone has thought of an answer!

Vetgood Protective Boots keep your dog's wound clean

Vet wrapping versus Vetgood

Vetgood Protective Waterproof Dog Boots

We are delighted to distribute the Vetgood line of boots for wound care! These lightweight and durable protective boots cover all types of wounds and have so many benefits to us the pet owner. First, you can get rid of the Elizabethan collar-hooray!  Second, you can protect the wound not only indoors, but also outdoors allowing your pet to get the much-needed exercise to heal and to resume his normal routine even with the bandage, cast, etc. And finally, it reduces the number of times you need to return to the vet clinic to get a bandage re-wrapped or re-casted which is so inconvenient for you and a real relief for your dog!

Vetgood offer a range of boots for all your needs

Vetgood offer a wide range of sizes in their protective boots

So which boot do you need?  (See the chart below to choose the right one for your pet.)

VetGood-Boot-Comparison-Chart

The Vetgood Extreme Dog Boot

If they have a cast or splint or a bandaged wound that will last more than 2 weeks? You need the Extreme boot with the durable, moulded bottom.

The Vetgood Extreme Boot for longer-term injuries

Vetgood Extreme Protective Veterinary Dog Boots

The Vetgood Basic Dog Boot

If they have a soft bandage then you need the Basic boot.

The Vetgood Basic Boot for bandaged wounds

Vetgood Basic Protective Veterinary Dog Boots

The Vetgood Slim Dog Boot

There is even a boot for open wounds that have no bandages – perfect for hot spots or lick granulomas – lined in a soft bamboo and nanosilver fabric that has antimicrobial properties to promote healing.

The Vetgood Slim Boot with a microbial lining for open wounds

Vetgood Protective Slim Veterinary Dog Boots

So stop struggling with the E-collar.  Boots are in!

How to size your Vetgood boots

Tested by Daisy!

But we use Vetgood boots as we find they are great protection for Daisy’s delicate paws, whether she’s being carried in her harness or out and about in her wheelchair.

Daisy wearing her Vetgood Slim Boots

Daisy shows us a clean pair of heels in her super smart Vetgood Slim Boots.

It’s in their DNA

We get into genetics…

For many many years, we have been dedicated German Shepherd owners. Only once did we stray, and that was with our Border Collie, Jack. We really needed a sheepdog and the shepherds just didn’t have the knack.

Each and every dog we’ve had has been unique, and we’ve loved them all. It has always been our dream to one day breed a litter, but up until now, we never felt we had dogs of the right temperament.

Along came Toby and changed all that. He is smart, maybe too smart, good-natured, and equally importantly he has good hips and elbows.

We finally thought we had found the perfect dog to breed from. We looked around for a bitch that would be suitable and were lucky enough to find Tilly locally. She is a year now and will soon be hip scored. If she passes, the endorsement will be lifted on her pedigree.

But before embarking on any breeding programme, and because we have had two shepherds who have suffered from DM (a non-painful, progressive disease of the spinal cord that usually results in hind limb paralysis), Daisy is going it through it currently and it’s heart-breaking, we decided to look into genetic testing.

We found a lab that provides this – Animal Genetics – and ordered our testing kits. We were testing for DM, specifically the SOD1 gene. There has been a huge interest of late in genetic testing, and it seems people are not always delighted with the results.

Just like on detective programmes, when the kits arrived, we swabbed the insides of the cheeks of Toby and Tilly, then they were posted off to the lab for testing, along with details of their Kennel Club registration numbers.

Within a week we received the results in an email and as others have discovered before us, we were devastated by the results.

Tilly was clear, no problem with breeding her, she was very unlikely to ever suffer from DM. However, Toby, our precious Toby, was a carrier!

What did this mean?

If he is bred with a clear bitch, he has a 50/50 chance of producing puppies that are carriers. NOT at-risk puppies, just carriers like him.

We were very upset and started talking about neutering. We have been through this horrible disease twice now and wouldn’t wish it on anybody else.

However, we have done further research and listened to advice from other breeders.

If we breed him with Tilly, he could produce carriers, but these carriers would not be at risk of DM. We could have them genetically tested and identified, place endorsements on the pedigrees of the carriers so that they could only be bred with a clear dog. Any future owners would be fully informed, it would all be up there on the Kennel Club website, and it must surely be a good thing that they would know they are getting a dog that is practically guaranteed not ever to have DM?

There are other important issues to be considered in breeding and temperament is one of them. Toby and Tilly both have excellent temperaments, and we would very much like to perpetuate that, weeding out the highly strung, flighty, dare we say, aggressive dogs.

At the moment the jury is out, we haven’t made up our minds one way or the other, and until Tilly is hip scored, we can’t take any decisions. But just recently the Kennel Club published a press release on the powerful long-term impact of DNA tests on dog diseases and appears to indicate that selective breeding using DNA testing is the way forward for responsible breeders.

And as DNA testing can bring good news as well as the not so good, we know Toby will never need a wheelchair, we decided to order a test kit for Archie. At least if we find out now that he is “at-risk” we can take some measures to slow down the onset of this terrible disease.

How we wish now that we had known in advance for our Daisy.

 

Daisy rides again!

Daisy does a wheelie…

It’s been a huge learning curve for us this past month, and for Daisy too, probably. Last month she was a 4-wheel drive this month only a 2-wheel drive. Somewhere along the line she’s lost the use of her back legs, but only on dry land.

As soon as we realised she was suffering from degenerative myelopathy we visited a local dog hydro centre where we were lucky enough to find a trained physio who did everything she possibly could to help us.

As we’ve mentioned before, she had a full exercise programme designed to keep her back legs working, and she swam or walked on the underwater treadmill. All this built up the muscles in her back legs, so they are very strong. Her problem is that she can’t control them.

Earlier this month we realised that her days walking unaided were over and so tried her in the wheels that we had ready for her. She wasn’t at all keen and just stood still until we hooked her back legs up behind her in the stirrups. That got her moving, but it also gave us another problem.

With her legs so strong, she paddled when she walked in the cart, rather like when she was swimming. This was causing the stirrups to rub on her legs making them sore and bleeding. We began bandaging her legs before taking her out, but with the constant friction, they weren’t healing.

While looking for a solution, we temporarily reverted to the belly band, made from an old sweatshirt. We first used this with Blitz, who also had this horrible disease.

She loved it and took to it immediately, but for us it was exhausting.

The next logical step was to combine the wheels with the belly band. In order to do so, the whole cart had to be re-engineered with new aluminium rods!

We finally managed to come up with a solution that gave her (and us) the best of both worlds, and although it may not look very elegant, she is one happy bunny again. It’s given her back her freedom and independence.

Here she goes…

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Dog on Wheels

Daisy does a wheely…

Through plenty of exercise on the underwater treadmill, swimming, and puller sessions, we have managed to build up quite a bit of muscle in Daisy’s back legs. But unfortunately, it’s not enough to keep her mobile on all four paws as although her back legs are strong, she has little control over them. Thanks to her worsening CDRM she doesn’t have much idea of where her back legs are. We have tried Rock tape around her feet to attempt to increase awareness, but it’s a losing battle.

It is heartbreaking because her legs are far from paralysed they work perfectly, just not in the way they should. When she’s sleeping and dreaming about chasing rabbits, she moves her legs easily, and when she’s swimming, there’s no stopping them. Just walking on dry land seems to be the problem.

When she’s in the house, she tends to drag herself around using her front legs. Outside, once you get her up and in a straight line, she can break into a somewhat drunken little trot, swaying from side to side.

We had to face the fact that, despite all our efforts, she was only going to deteriorate. When we spotted some dog wheels for sale locally, we snapped them up.

We are determined to keep her independently mobile for as long as possible but need to be prepared for the inevitable. She’s only been in the cart a couple of times, and she was a little confused by it, but we believe when the time comes, she will adapt to her new circumstances and will love the freedom that the cart will give her. It will allow her to run freely, keeping up with the other dogs without falling over. Just the way she used to, only with a little help.

Walking under water

Daisy takes a gentle stroll, underwater…

This month we’ve been watching the grass grow, literally. The prospective hay is shooting up, and due to the amazing weather, we may actually have a chance of getting a few bales this year. Admittedly it hasn’t been as warm as the rest of the country, and we do tend to get soggy haar in the evenings, but nonetheless, a massive improvement on previous years.

With the grass so long and packed full of buttercups, the dog’s legs have all turned yellow which is very noticeable on Daisy especially when she goes swimming!

Speaking of Daisy, she had her first session on the newly installed underwater treadmill at our local hydro centre. She did amazingly well and seemed quite relaxed about it all. Secretly she would have preferred a swim, but she would never admit that. She pretends she doesn’t enjoy it, but then can’t wait to get in the car, which is a revelation in itself as she has always really disliked car travel.

You can see how she got on here:

We also attended a Pet First Aid course which was incredibly useful and informative and well worth doing.

 

Daisy takes to the water

We get to swim with dogs…

Her first swim had to be cancelled due to illness and another trip to the vet, but we finally got Daisy to the pool last week.

She’s not the easiest dog to deal with and her condition has left her grumpier than usual, probably due to the fact that she feels quite vulnerable. She has always been in charge of the pack and now her authority is dwindling.

On arrival at the pool, she had a quick shower, slipped on a life jacket and then it was time to get her in. Unlike with Toby one of us was going in with her to reassure her so it wasn’t a great problem to get her down the ramp and into the water. Once there was nothing under her feet and she had to swim, she took to it like a duck to water.

She did a few laps with some assistance and then got to swim all on her own.

We’re not quite sure if she was actually enjoying herself or if she was just so shocked by the whole experience that it left her silent rather than her normal grumbly self.

In the evening she was exhausted and could barely eat her evening treat, but by the next morning, she was back to full growl!

She’s got another swim booked and we are hoping to get her on the underwater treadmill when it is up and running.

Daisy gets a workout

We tackle CDRM…

With Daisy’s back legs becoming progressively more and more wobbly we decided to make enquiries about whether there was any kind of exercise she could be doing which may help. We are lucky enough to have an excellent hydrotherapy pool locally (Fusion Vet Physio) which we have visited in the past when trying to get Toby to swim. That failed miserably as he refused point blank to go in, but they also offer physio and rehab, so after a referral from our vet we took Daisy along for a consultation.

She doesn’t travel well but managed to arrive without vomiting, which that was a bonus!

The owner and qualified physiotherapist is a lovely lady who certainly knows her stuff. She immediately put us at ease and made us feel that there was some hope of keeping Daisy on all fours for a while longer if we put in some effort.

Like a top athlete, she will need to warm up in the mornings before she goes out for her walk, and she has a full programme of exercises to increase muscle tone, remind her that she has two legs at the rear and help her use them. She also ends the day with a gentle massage.

In addition, she has a swim booked for next month; we’re keeping our fingers crossed that we have more luck getting her in the pool than we did with Toby!

Thankfully, she can carry on with her usual exercise regime which involves chasing her favourite toy of all time, the Puller!

Daisy causes us concern

Daisy perks up at the sight of a Puller…

We’ve been concerned about Daisy for several months now; she has been very reluctant to go on her twice daily walks with the others, which was very unusual for her, preferring to stay in her favourite spot under the kitchen table.

Some days after much coaxing she would manage a lap of the field but would then hang out at the gate until it was time to go back indoors. Also when she stood up, her back legs seemed unsteady, even wobbly.
We began to fear the worst. CDRM, degenerative myelopathy which affects German Shepherds and results in them losing feeling in their back end and therefore being unable to walk on all fours. We have been through it before with our big rescue shepherd, Blitz and spent a couple of years helping him walk with a hoist made from old sweatshirts. We did build him some wheels, but he never had to use them.
Consequently, we knew the test, tuck her toes under on her back foot and wait to see if she can properly realign it. Although pretty basic and far from conclusive, she passed with flying colours.
We also reinstated the Pullers at walk time. While the field had been full of uncut hay, we stopped throwing them as it was impossible for the dogs to enjoy a good chase in the dense grass. As soon as Daisy saw the Puller come out, her enthusiasm soared. She loves her Puller!  We introduced it to her with a mild exercise routine of short runs and gentle pulls but quite honestly just carrying it around seems to give her great pleasure. She was doing much better but still stiff, so we took her to the vet and waited with baited breath for the verdict.
Well, it was far from conclusive, but her hips and back legs are a little stiff with arthritis, so she is now on a pain relief, and we are supplementing her raw diet with vitamins.
She does seem a lot better and is now one of the first at the door once again at walk time. We are continuing with the mild Puller exercises, and she looks happier in herself.  We will keep watch on her and take whatever steps necessary to keep her comfortable and enjoying life to the full.

Farewell to our beloved Blitz

We say goodbye to a true gentleman

At the beginning of June, and after a long battle with CDRM, we lost our beloved GSD Blitz. He was 12.

We took Blitz on as a rescue dog 9 years ago, and never regretted it. Even with several other GSDs in the ‘pack’ it took him several months to fully settle in, but after that he showed his true character – a gentle giant with a bark that could pierce the eardrums!

18 months ago he was diagnosed with CDRM, after we noticed him dragging his foot, and 6 months later a large mass was found in his abdomen. Neither was causing any discomfort, but over time his mobility did deteriorate. With careful management though, and one or two home made devices, he remained comfortable and happy to the end.

We miss him terribly, but are extremely thankful for the extra year he gave us.

RIP Blitz, you will always be with us.