I thought I better share with you today's Dog Problem Consultation as it does affect more than a few dogs (particularly in the USA):
Dog Problem: Our 8 year old purebred German Shepherd's back end has been going loose. This has been occurring over the past 6-8 months. We took him today for X-rays and wanted to know if it was his hips. Doc says the hips look good. He thinks it might be neurological and wants to put him on Prednisolone for a week to see if he improves prior to going to a Neurologist. He says it might be a compressed disc or DM. We are very concerned for him.
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Dog Details - Basics
1.1 Dog Age: 8 years
1.2 Since what age with you? 1 months
1.3 Gender? male
1.4 Altered? No
At what age?
1.5 What breed (or mix)? German Shepherd
IF MIX: of what two main breeds (if you know)?
1.6 Dog sleeps in your house or outdoors? indoors
1.7 Dog has free run or is locked up? free run
1.8 The ONLY dog, or what other pets? only dog
2.1 What do you feed MOST OFTEN? Tin food (moist industrial)
2.2 What Diet? Meat, Veg, Fruit, Treats, and Water
2.3 How many MEALS a day? 2 meals/day
2.4 How much drinking water a day? 720 ml/day
3.1 Minutes per Day of exercise OTHER THAN plain dog walks? 5 min/day
3.2 Dog's level of exhaustion at END OF EXERCISE? 6
3.3 Types of REGULAR exercise? Running
IF OTHER: What?
4.1 Any known HEREDITARY defects or disorders? not that we are aware of
4.2 Any CURRENTLY PRESENT diseases or disorders? just the possibility of DM or neurological disorder
4.3 What SYMPTOMS are you aware of? Back legs not functioning well. Becoming loose with loss of control
4.4 Define the dog's BEHAVIOR with THREE ADJECTIVES? playful, energetic, loving
4.5 Dog Weight? 38.5 kg
5.1 What PAST TREATMENTS? (include names of medicaments if any) Vital 10 (one cap a day), Joint Formula cap (2 caps twice daily), Similase cap (1 with each meal), Pros-Forte (1 twice a day)
5.2 CURRENT treatment since when? (number of weeks) 3 weeks ongoing
5.3 WHICH vaccinations or "boosters"? Rabies
The FIRST vaccination AT WHAT AGE? (in months) 1 months
5.4 Ever received any antibiotics? Yes
Number of courses (distinct treatments over time)? 4 courses
Last antibiotics HOW LONG AGO? (number of weeks) 40 weeks
Can you look up the NAME of the antibiotics? not sure
5.5 Ever received any steroids or NSAIDs? No
Number of courses (distinct treatments over time)?
Last steroids or NSAIDs HOW LONG AGO? (number of weeks)
Can you look up the NAME of the steroids or NSAIDs?
5.6 Ever done an x-ray on the dog? Yes
Number of times? 3 times
Dog age at FIRST X-RAY? 4 months
Which body part got x-rayed at that time? Pelvise and stomach
6.1 Precisely what does the dog DO that you don't like?
6.2 What happens immediately BEFORE the dog does that?
6.3 How do you REACT when the dog does that?
6.4 How does the dog behave AFTER you reacted that way?
Indicate your level of discomfort
How much is it worth to you to get your dog problem solved? 50 USD
Kevin, first of all, DON'T accept the vet's prescription of Prednisolone, it is a corticosteroid and as such it has long-term ramifications for all body systems! Foremost, such lab medicaments directly impact and harm the immune system - that very body system that is needed most to prevent and to cure allergies and infections alike.
Only ordinary, average allopathic vets (and MDs) prescribe these overall harmful lab medicaments that merely treat the symptoms of an observable condition (if at all). Thus they are a placebo. If you accept (and pay for) the prescription, your dog may feel some relief for a short while IF your dog's loose hind legs are down to an inflammation - which you say your vet isn't even sure about, hasn't tested for?!? But the palliation of the visible symptoms is not the cure, worse, it will prevent cure!
Therefore, I would strongly suggest you see a quality holistic veterinarian instead - and always apply your own common sense, like you did when you didn't immediately accept the vet's prescription, which was a wise thing to do.
You say your allopathic vet says "it might be a compressed disc or DM". No, a compressed disc issue is unlikely to last 8 months with no significant change of symptoms (and you didn't mention such change). So what about DM? Have you consciously read here what we said about Degenerative Myelopathy?
Study Degenerative Myelopathy in depth, there is a LOT of life-saving advice!
You can of course pay the small amount for the simple test to identify whether your dog carries the defective gene that causes DM. But it is wise to first check for other indicators for free:
- Does your dog seem to have related pain? - If yes, it is not DM.
- You say "loose" hind legs (double "o"), but does your dog seem to lose control over the hind legs while walking, resulting in scraping the toe nails over the ground? - If no, it is not DM. Because, given other factors that you mentioned (to which I will come in a moment), DM likely would have progressed to this stage during the past 8 months, and you didn't mention any progression.
- Does your dog seem to easily maintain balance and regain balance after jumps? - If yes, it is not DM.
Now briefly why DM would progress rather quickly IF your dog has the defective gene:
- You say you feed your dog Tin food (moist industrial) - This kind of "food" is well-known to be the prime trigger of countless autoimmune disorders (including Degenerative Myelopathy, Cancer, Allergies, etc). So, I would urge you to feed your dog only healthy human-grade homemade foods, nothing else. In particular no commercial treats, that you say you are feeding your dog as well.
- You say your dog is getting little exercise: 5 min/day - although your dog is only mildly exhausted afterwards: you chose level 6.
- Your dog's only regular exercise type is running.
- Your dog received the first vaccination at age 1 month! And Rabies, for which there is no reason anyway to be given to a young puppy!
- Your dog has been given four courses of antibiotics!
- Your dog's pelvis got x-rayed at age 4 months!
- Your dog is not altered.
Each of these points could be detailed in a book on its own (but you wouldn't buy it, so I won't write it). It's enough that you note that each and every of the above points contributes to the outbreak and the progression of Degenerative Myelopathy (explained right there in the linked article). Conversely, if you change about the above points what you can still change, then you will help your dog regardless whether it is DM or not.
You say your allopathic vet also mentioned "or it might be neurological". Well, DM is a neurological disorder, Kevin. Neurological means affecting the nerves. That's what DM does. This makes clear that your present vet thinks of DM as a disease. But DM is no disease, DM is an autoimmune disorder.
Frankly, if it was me (and you asked me): I wouldn't waste money on an average allopathic vet and on a neurologist in this case. I would do what I explained above. And if you want a genuine expert's advice on Prednisolone and other steroids - and on MUCH MUCH else relating to dog health (and people health too!) - then study Interview and Review 4 of the Dog Expert Interview Series with Reviews. Contrary to your vet bills this you can do for pennies. And this truly is life-saving. Many years.
This solution was provided free of charge, and although this detail isn't justifiable by a mere $50 level of discomfort, it is meant to help many dog owners.