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PitRottMommy, Veterinary Nurse
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 8337
Experience:  15 yrs experience in vet med, 8 in emergency med. Founder of a non-profit animal rescue
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Our 14 yo Gherman shepherd has some type of neurological

Customer Question

Our 14 yo Gherman shepherd has some type of neurological d/o. He had his first episode approx 2 years ago with maybe 4 to follow. Each time they got progressively worse. He would walk crooked , hold his head crooked & walk in circles. This last episode was approx one week ago. Due to his size we could not get him in the car to a vet. He was clenched up this time with EXTREME anxiety. We called every single vet there was to do a house call but none available for 3 days. He eventually stopped clenching up & laid there...exhausted. The vet who came to the house gave Rx Gabapentin 400mg TID, Rymadel & Trazodone 100 mg in hopes to get him up & walking by one week or we would put him down. The gabapentin knocked him out for 3 days & made him vomit. We only gave it to him the first day, then on day 3 gave 200mg instead but it totally knocked him out again. We are not sure if we should put him down on Fri or seek another opinion?? He's eating & drinking NRL. He can lift himself with his front legs but cannot walk on his back legs. Do you have any advice or suggestions ? We have to assist him with urinating with a support device & have been doing ROM exercises as much as possible.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 1 year ago.

Hi Dawnlea, thanks for your question. Can you give me a little more information?

1) Does he seem painful during these episodes?
2) Has an MRI been performed yet? X-rays on his hips and back?
3) Has any recent lab work been performed? Tick panel? If so, do you have results to share?
4) Do you have a video to share of his 'normal' walking?
5) Any odd nail wear on the rear feet?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Only during this last episode when he was clenched up during the last episode did he seem to maybe be in pain. Maybe like spasm pain? He did not have an MRI. Do you think that it's worth to get an MRI at this point? No recent lab work. No odd nail wear. I will see if my boyfriend has any other info for you or video.
Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 1 year ago.

When it comes to neurological disorders, an MRI can be invaluable. There are many breeds prone to neurological problems and GSD happen to be one of them.

One of the most common d/o's that we see is called DM (degenerative myelopathy) which happens in aging GSD. It can occur alone, or along with other problems as well. There's a video here that shows mild-moderate DM case: If you're unable to submit a video, it may help to look at this one and see if any of the symptoms are the same.

Along with an MRI, lab work being performed might reveal a clue as to the origin of the symptoms. There are vitamin deficiencies and diagnoses like tick borne diseases (example, rocky mountain spotted fever) that can cause circling, odd head positions, odd movements, etc. Before electing euthanasia, it would be worth looking into these avenues to be sure that it's not a blatantly obvious medical concern that's easily fixed. That being said, once a dog has progressed to neurological symptoms, it's often difficult for them to come back from. Many of them have lasting effects even if you're able to treat them. At 14 years of age, your boy is at a full life expectancy for a GSD and these complicated tests and even answers may only buy a short amount of time (and for that, a lot of money expended for that time). I'm sure your vet has advised that at some point the expense will probably be more than the benefit you or your boy will gain from the diagnostics. In many cases, we get no answer at all and the outcome is still the same.

If it's not already been discussed, but you do with to continue with diagnostics, a referral to an internist with a special interest in neuropathy/neurology would probably be your best shot at getting a definitive answer on what is causing this. If you need help finding one, reply back with your city, state and zip and I'll get to work finding the one most local to you.

Please let me know if your boyfriend has additional info or video.

If my answer has helped you, please take the time today to leave positive feedback for me. This is the only way that I will be compensated for assisting you. Your satisfaction is my primary focus, so if questions remain please respond so that I may finish assisting you before you rate my service.

Expert:  PitRottMommy replied 1 year ago.
Hi Dawnlea,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Chewy. How is everything going?