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 bated 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 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.