Sunday, April 8, 2012

Taking Care of a Dog with DM in the Late Stages

Degenerative myelopathy, or DM, is an illness that commonly affects bigger dogs. This is a neurological disease that targets the dog’s lower limbs and moves up to its body, resulting to full paralysis. Sadly, this illness does not have a cure or vaccine as of yet, and no one can really tell if a puppy will grow up to have DM. During its later stages, dogs with DM can be difficult to take care of. This is why many dog owners that have pets with DM would prefer to put their beloved pets to sleep for moral reasons. But if you do decide to keep your dog until the very end, here are some tips to help you take care of your dog through the late stages of DM.

Prepare the Dog’s Bed

During the late stages of degenerative myelopathy, your dog will spend most of its time lying down. The best thing to do is to prepare a nice mat with a cushion on top where the dog can stay. Since the illness targets the dog’s lower body first, its bladder control will soon become weaker and bathroom accidents will surely happen.

Keep it Clean

A good way to keep its sleeping area clean is to cover the cushion with material that is waterproof and easy to clean. This way, it will not get soiled very easily. Keep the area clean and dry so that the dog stays clean and no foul odour develops. Give it regular baths and make sure to dry the dog completely.

Play and Feeding Time

Just because the dog cannot run around and play anymore, does not mean that you still can’t have fun. Play with it and show it that you are still there to take care of it. During meal time, depending on how the illness has already affected the dog, you might need to help it eat. If the dog can still lift its head up, then get a feeding bowl that’s a little lower so that it will not have any trouble eating.

Be Emotionally Ready

Sooner or later, you dog will pass away and you have to move on. It is very difficult to lose a pet, especially if you have been very close and emotionally attached to it. You will have to accept the fact that it soon will be leaving you. The earlier you accept this, the easier for you to move on.

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