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Species: Dog
Breed: Siberian Husky
Age: 11-15 years
Dear Madame Veterinarian:
Our Siberian has one of the best pedigrees we could've asked for, and fortunately for us, she has been virtually ailment free for the past 13 years. That's why we're shocked to discover she has this horror--degenerative canine myelopathy. She's been treated for arthritis for the past couple of years, but now it's quite apparent that she's toe dragging in the rear, increasingly wobbly, and so on. Her spirits are still rearing to go, however.
We live in japan--in fact she is a JKC dog, but the parents came from a well-regarded kennel in Minnesota. We haven't contacted them yet; we've been in denial, I'm afraid. My questions are: 1) Should we continue the anti-inflammatory regimen even though her disability is obviously much more than hip arthritis? I've begun giving her B12 because I understand that it, along with a couple other supplements, together have had some success with slowing deterioration (Journal of American Veterinary Medicine 1983). 2) Do you know where we could order those supplements? We do have a vet here on this American military base, but her attention is hard to get given the military working dogs here and the off-base Japanese vets might want to do extensive testing etc., which, quite frankly is just not worth the stress on the dog or us financially.( japan is outrageously expensive, especially when ity comes to pets.) 3) Is it safe to give Nim acetaminophen or ibuprophen?
Please do advise. We'll do anything we can to to keep her body in sync with her heart and all her other systems, which are characteristically go-go-go.
Thank you.
I welcome your counsel from so many miles away.
Sincerely,
Mrs. Skeen
Yokota Air Base, Tokyo, Japan.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Mrs. Skeen. I am so sorry to hear that Nimue has degenerative myelopathy.

To answer your questions:

1) I would definitely continue to give the anti-inflammatories. Even though they do nothing directly for DM, most dogs with DM also have some hip arthritis. If we can minimize arthritis pain then whatever mobility she has left will be maximized.

2) B12 is a fairly common medication. You should be able to get it at any pharmacy. I am not aware of the correct dose to give, however.

3) I would not give over the counter medicines like acetominophen or ibuprophen. These drugs cannot be given along with her prescription anti-inflammatories. Additionally, these medicines can be quite hard on the liver, the kidneys or the stomach.

There are a few other things that can help a dog with DM:
-exercise is encouraged.
-physical therapy is good. You can ask your vet if there is a place near you that does canine physical therapy.
-Sometimes vitamins E and C can be helpful as well.

Unfortunately though, as you know there is no cure for degenerative myelopathy. The good news is that it is not a painful condition, so as long as Nimue is enjoying life then it is ok to keep spoiling her for a while longer.




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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.