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Mya, the German Shepherd, suffers with Degenerative Myelopathy

Mya, the German Shepherd, suffers with Degenerative Myelopathy

Hi everyone, my name is Mya and I'm a very youthful 12 year old German Shepherd girl.

My Mum says I'm very, very special and who am I not to disagree! I was super fit in my youth, I've competed in Fly-ball, Agility and Rally Obedience, obtaining numerous trophies, rosettes and certificates. I've done mantraining and scentwork which came in handy when I helped search for my furry cousin who escaped from the dog walker! I've even made a music video! I've walked miles upon miles along the Southwest and Welsh coastal paths. As you can see, there's never been a dull moment in my life. 

It started with my paws dragging

At Christmas 2022, Mum suspected something was wrong with my hind legs as I occasionally dragged my nails on the pavement. She took me to the vet and was told the usual "your dog is getting older with arthritis" etc., but Mum suspected there was more to it. In May 2023 she took me back to the vet as I was starting to slightly limp and was dragging my paws more. So Mum asked for me to be seen by a neurologist as she suspected Degenerative Myelopathy (DM). I had all the tests and scans done and it was confirmed that I had both the genes which gave me an assumed diagnosis of Degenerative Myelopathy. I knew Mum was upset and she cried for several weeks but me, I just got on with it. I had all sorts of physio exercises to do, which Mum did with me twice daily and Dad was responsible for my daily massage.

My physio suggested a dog wheelchair

Gradually I declined and became unable to walk. In August my physio suggested a dog wheelchair. My Dad was hesitant so we went to GSD rescue and I had a go in their wheelchair and immediately I ran and picked up a football and got my dad to play footie with me again, something he thought I'd never be capable of doing again. 

Immediately we got home Dad contacted Zoomadog and I was measured up for my own wheelchair and protective boots. I took to everything straight away, my wheelchair fits me perfectly! My wheelchair enables me to go to the toilet on my own and do all my lovely walks on the local trails. I can go for a run on the beach and dig in the sand again. My Mum and Dad say it's the best thing they've ever bought.

I've declined further now and my back legs no longer work so Mum bought me some Maximus Skates from Zoomadog and they too are brilliant. They enable me to keep my legs in their natural position and sometimes muscle memory kicks in and I will use my legs a little.

Since my Degenerative Myelopathy diagnosis

It's now 14 months since I started on this dreadful DM journey, my front legs have started to get a bit weaker so mum purchased a belly support from Zoomadog for my wheelchair which takes some of the weight of my front legs.

My Mum has tried everything under the sun to slow down this dreadful disease, life's not so easy anymore. I've no idea when I need to poo, it just appears! I'm raw fed so Mum and Dad say it isn't a problem collecting my little deposits. Apparently it's really important to feed real food when you have this disease.

My bark is now more of a yodel but I still love my food and going out for walks. Walking in my wheelchair is great as everyone wants to give me a treat, I love it! I still play ball at night time with Dad even though now we just flick it to each other whilst I'm lying down.

My Degenerative Myelopathy journey is nearing its end but I don't think of the future, I just enjoy each day as it comes. My Mum and Dad love me very much and I love them, we're all on this terrible journey together, they're not prepared to give up until I do. How lucky am l. 

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