Laser therapy and rehab can add years to the lives of dogs affected by Degenerative Myelopathy

If you knew there was therapy that could extend your dog’s life by 3-4 years, would you do it?

Degenerative  myelopathy or  DM is a non-painful disease of the spinal cord similar to ALS in people.  If you’re a dog parent with a dog suspected of having DM, you already know the prognosis is poor and the life expectancy is short. This disease causes a dog to develop a clumsy kind of movement in his hind end and lack of body awareness (proprioceptive ataxia).  The condition progresses to rear weakness (paresis) caused by damage to the spinal cord.  Sadly this eventually causes paralysis of the back legs and moves forward in the spinal cord, affecting the forelimbs.

 

I remember when I was first told my beautiful girl likely had this disease.  Initially, I was in denial but I couldn’t ignore the signs. 

One of the most frustrating things about this disease is  the lack of a known treatment.   Up until recently, intense daily physical therapy was the only known therapy that could slow the progression of DM, extending life from a few months to about a year (Kathmann et al., 2006). The complete exercises can be found in the study provided in the references at the end of this article.

 A new retrospective review study now gives hope to dogs and dog parents! This study examined intensive rehabilitation combined with one of two laser therapy (photobiomodulation) protocols. 

🌟Retrospective Observational Study and Analysis of Two Different Photobiomodulation Therapy Protocols Combined with Rehabilitation Therapy as Therapeutic Interventions for Canine Degenerative Myelopathy🌟

Lisa A. Miller, DVM, CCRT, CVA, Debbie (Gross) Torraca, DPT, MSPT, OCS, CCRP, and Luis De Taboada, MSEE

Continue reading “Laser therapy and rehab can add years to the lives of dogs affected by Degenerative Myelopathy”

 A new retrospective review study now gives hope to dogs and dog parents! This study examined intensive rehabilitation combined with one of two laser therapy (photobiomodulation) protocols. 

🌟Retrospective Observational Study and Analysis of Two Different Photobiomodulation Therapy Protocols Combined with Rehabilitation Therapy as Therapeutic Interventions for Canine Degenerative Myelopathy🌟

Lisa A. Miller, DVM, CCRT, CVA, Debbie (Gross) Torraca, DPT, MSPT, OCS, CCRP, and Luis De Taboada, MSEE

Continue reading “Laser therapy and rehab can add years to the lives of dogs affected by Degenerative Myelopathy”

Get Them Upright!

🐕GET THEM UPRIGHT!☝️

NOT SURE WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR PARALYZED DOG WHILE SELF ISOLATING DURING COVID-19 ? 🤷🏽‍♀️

This will help! 🙏

These are stressful and uncertain times for everyone😔, and if you have a dog that has a condition like degenerative myelopathy (DM) causing paralysis, you may be feeling very unsure or even helpless when it comes to what you can do with your furry friend, on your own. 😢

Personally, I have been through DM with my dog Sammie and have worked with others whose dogs have rear weakness/paralysis. This alone is emotionally taxing and now you are self isolating and may have limited access to your vet or rehab professional. 👎

To make it more challenging, you may have a cart (dog wheelchair) for your dog but are not able to get your dog out in it right now due to restrictions in place related to Covid-19. 🤷🏾‍♂️

 Fret not! 🖐

 I have some easy to implement recommendations for you!

☝🏾GET YOUR DOG UPRIGHT ANYWAY!🐶
Even if you aren’t able to get your dog out for regular walks in their cart, get them up into their cart at home, on a non slippery surface! There are so many health benefits for your dog to be up in their cart. 😃

😊UPRIGHT BENEFITS🐶
MENTAL HEALTH and SENSE OF WELLBEING
⬆️CIRCULATION and LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE
⬇️RISK of BED SORES
⬆️DIGESTION and BOWEL MOVEMENTS
SENSORY/TACTILE STIMULATION with the paws touching the ground
STRENGTHENS MUSCLES that are not currently affected by the condition

It’s basically a use it or lose it scenario, or at least slow it down.

With DM, it is a progressive condition 😔, HOWEVER, sensory stimulus, encouraging muscles that still have a contraction to work a little, and promoting circulation have all been proven to extend the life span of dogs with DM. 😃

THINGS TO DO IN THE CART, AT HOME🐾
FEED upright! Raise your dogs water and feed bowls so they can reach them.
BRUSH and/or MASSAGE them while they are in the cart.
Do BASIC EXERCISES your were taught and/or passive range of motion for the hind legs. Gentle active range of motion for the neck may be appropriate too. This encourages some gentle weight shifting in the front end and keeps the neck strong and mobile.
ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES such as puzzles or scent games. These can be done statically, your dog doesn’t need to move around to do them. I place a ottoman in from of the dog and hide a treat under 1 of 3 little cups and she finds the treat (see the picture posted)
Prescribed REHAB MODALITIES. You may have a PEMF device or muscle stimulation machine that you are using with your dog. You can do this while they are upright.

😃I even had one client whose dog liked to watch TV while in his cart! And another who got so relaxed she fell asleep on her pillow stool. ❤️

🧰UPRIGHT SETUP🐕
Non slippery surface and decluttered space
May require a pee pad under their hind end Remember, being upright can stimulate the bowels! So you may want a poop bag too.
May require a stool or pillow as a head rest
SUPERVISION!

 NEVER LEAVE YOUR DOG UNATTENDED IN THEIR CART!

👍Always do exercises within your dog’s capacity. Conditions like DM slowly progress forward so you may notice changes in your dog’s ability to do these things.

Every dog is different and how long they are upright is going to depend on a number of factors. These include overall health and strength, as well as progression of their condition. In addition, certain activities may not be appropriate for your dog and these are general recommendations.

👍Short periods in the cart, for example 10 minutes, can be very advantages.

You never want to keep your dog in their cart longer than they want to be in it. If they seem restless, uncomfortable, and/or start to whine, it is time to get them out.

If your dog is used to walking in their cart and you have them primarily standing still doing a game, etc., they will fatigue faster then when out walking. If possible, let them move around little. If not, go for shorter durations (i.e. 10-15 minutes) more often, in the cart.

🙏Stay safe, stay healthy and stay upright!🐕

#degenerativemyelopathy #covid19 #dogparalysis #dogcarts #selfisolating

Daily “Physiotherapy” Increases Life Span of Dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative Myelopathy
Canine Degenerative Myelopathy, DM, Physiotherapy, Canine Rehabilitation

A diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy (DM) can be devastating to a pet parent. I can say that as a pet parent who has lived through it. To find out that your dog has a progressive neurological condition that will eventually lead to paralysis, may leave you feeling raw, lost, angry…. And it’s often hard to grasp the disease progression because your dog is usually doing very well when symptoms are first noticed. If you have gone through this experience, you may have experienced an onslaught of questions running through your mind. Is it going to hurt, how long does my dog have, can I do anything to slow it down….? And the list goes on. Continue reading “Daily “Physiotherapy” Increases Life Span of Dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy”