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Dog has degenerative peripheral neuropathy

Posted by akatricia (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 6, 12 at 15:05

Do any of you have experience with a dog with degenerative peripheral neuropathy? My 12 year old English Springer Spaniel has just been diagnosed with this. Up to about 3 months ago, he was a lively, happy guy who could walk for a couple miles. Now he has trouble getting around (back end weakness),walks just a block or so before wanting to go home, sleeps most of the day, wants to be with me constantly, and just seems depressed. He also has some vocal hoarseness, caused by issues with the nerves to the larynx. The vet tells me he is in no pain from this condition and that there is little that can be done for him. He will start physical therapy in a couple of weeks (vet recommended this), but it is so hard watching him struggle and not knowing how to at least make him happier. Any suggestions? I've not found much that is helpful when I've googled this condition. Thanks so much!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Dog has degenerative peripheral neuropathy

I didn't know dogs got that! Did your vet say why? With people, it's most often because they're diabetic. And he tells you there is no pain????????????? I think you need a better vet. I have a very mild form of it, though I'm not diabetic and it isn't degenerative, and I can tell you it's very painful. People take things like Lyrica for it.

It may also be caused or made worse by a pinched nerve. I suspect this since it seems to have come on rather quickly. I suggest you find a chiropractor who treats animals and see what he says. I think if you could find the cause you could get help for your dog. There are canine neurologists, too, who might be able to give you a better diagnosis and prognosis.

RE: Dog has degenerative peripheral neuropathy

Sounds like your old dog has a very common degenerative myelopathy, not peripheral neuropathy. Most old larger dogs develop this with age and it is indeed a non-painful, slow-onset condition that involves decreasing neurological function of the spinal nerves (not the peripheral nerves) resulting in rear-limb weakness, poor muscle tone and eventually inability to support the bag legs and difficulty pooping and peeing on command. I would guess over half of all large breed to middle breed dogs develop this eventually should they live long enough. Sometimes putting them on cortisone temporarily improves the nerve function but this is only temporary. Prognosis is poor and there is no cure. Thankfully it rarely happens to younger dogs. This is the reason I had to put down my own Golden Retriever. NOt an easy thing to have to do when the dog is basically otherwise OK, but his frustration, dragging his rear end around and the associated anxiety was enough to have me say goodbye.

RE: Dog has degenerative peripheral neuropathy

Thanks for the info. His regular vet suspected peripheral neuropathy, and the university vet school docs confirmed. There are several potential treatable causes (tumor, diabetes, thyroid disease,infection) but these were ruled out through testing. So, it's considered "idiopathic." From what both vets said, and the little I've found online, there is no treatment. He is schedule for physical therapy (!) through the vet school so that his range of motion, etc. can be maintained. lzrddr...I did find info online on myelopathy, particularly in German Shepard Dogs, but I haven't been able to find out the difference between this and the neuropathy. I have a call into my vet...I'll ask. Eahamel...yes, I was surprised to be told it is not painful, but, again was told this by both vets. Wish dogs could talk...and my guy is pretty stoic, so it's hard to know really if he is in pain or not.

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