When to Euthanize a Dog with Canine Degenerative Myelopathy?

A recent email questioned me about Canine Degenerative Myelopathy. It asked – My Golden Retriever has been diagnosed with Canine Degenerative Myelopathy. It is in the advanced stage and is in pain most of the time. The vet has advised us to consider euthanizing our dog with Canine Degenerative Myelopathy. It breaks my heart to reach a conclusion. Can you help us with “when to euthanize a dog with Canine Degenerative Myelopathy?”.

This question is not a piece of cake to answer. It involves a lot of things to research and considerations. When you are deciding the question of a life you need to have a lot of emotional and mental strength. Let us understand the disease and tackle the question of euthanizing a dog with Canine Degenerative Myelopathy.

What Is Canine Degenerative Myelopathy?

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Canine degenerative Myelopathy is a fatal disease which when develops in a dog it affects the spinal cord. With Degenerative Myelopathy, the spinal cord of a dog loses its white matter gradually. The spinal cord also cannot transmit impulses which increases with a span of time.

Degenerative Myelopathy when developed in dogs can be treated and sometimes may not be painful at all. however, when reached the later stages, it can be fatal and you may not be able to help your dog. In the later stages most of the time you need to consider euthanizing a dog with Canine Degenerative Myelopathy.

What Are The Symptoms Of Canine Degenerative Myelopathy?

Canine Degenerative Myelopathy occurs in three stages, early, intermediate and advanced. The symptoms of Canine Degenerative Myelopathy depend on the stage your dog is in. A dog in the early stages can be treated and might not feel pain at all with proper medications. However, a dog in the intermediate and advanced stages is more prone to euthanization if the condition is deteriorating. Here are the symptoms of Canine Degenerative Myelopathy:

  • The dog loses the muscles rapidly in the rear legs.
  • Stumbles a lot.
  • The hind legs show a lack of cooperation.
  • The dog may not be able to rise up normally. In the later stages may not be able to rise at all.
  • In the later stages, the dog no more stands on its pads but uses its paws.
  • The back half of the body of the dog loses its muscle mass rapidly.
  • In the later stages because of no coordination in the hind legs, will not be able to walk without support.
  • In the last stage, the movement control of the tail and the legs is completely lost.
  • The hind legs are paralyzed in the last stage.
  • In the last stage, the dog’s respiratory and other organs may fail.

These were some of the symptoms. If you notice some of the earlier stages ones, get your dog checked immediately. The cause of the disease is not known. It generally occurs in old or middle-aged dogs. It affects a lot of breeds like German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Borzoi, Poodle, Pud, etc.

When To Euthanize A Dog With Canine Degenerative Myelopathy?

This fatal disease often raises the question of euthanization. It may grow rapidly and most dogs succumb within 6 months to 3 years within diagnosis depending on the stage. The treatments can only help you until the movement is happening. Once stopped you cannot do anything. the vet will advise you to euthanize your dog with Canine Degenerative Myelopathy. What to do? Here are a few points that may help you:

  • Quality of life: you have seen what your dog was. You now know how much the life of your dog has changed. Is it worth living? Does it want to live? you know it better. You are the owner. Try to access its action. If the quality of life is not worth living then you can consider euthanizing your dog suffering from Canine Degenerative Myelopathy.
  • Dog’s wish: if the dog has no more interest in life, shows no form of excitement to live anymore. Then you should be honoring its wishes and consider euthanization.
  • No Movements: if you have tried every treatment that you could. If your dog is not responding to any of them and the movement has stopped. Then it will be more humane to put your dog to sleep.

The question of euthanizing your dog with Canine Degenerative Myelopathy is the total of the owner. You need to take careful steps. Take as many opinions as you want. It is the question of life. I know this is hard and overwhelming. Stay strong!

Kavita Trivedi

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