SURVIVING ADULT-ONSET NEUROPATHY
Here are some things that may help make life easier for you and your AN Affected dogs.
Sadly, there is still no cure or therapy for affected dogs, but there are a few things you can do to help with mobility as the disease progresses.
As far as meds or supplements go, there is no proven therapy. However, I feel choline can potentially help a bit. It may have neurological benefits similar to the benefits that taurine has on the cardio system. I checked with Dr. Vite, and he felt it could do no harm so was worth a try. A dose of 125 mg is standard for a 30 pound cocker.
Some vets recommend an anti-inflammatory and owners felt there was some improvements.
For improved mobility, traction is very important. If you have hard wood or tile floors it is very helpful to use those long, rubber-backed, bathroom carpet runners. We had a house full of them so that Marigold could follow them and avoid slipping.
When assistance is first needed, a sling purchased from one of the pet supply companies was very helpful, especially on walks outside.
Ramps can also be very helpful, but make sure it’s sturdy and stable. Dogs don’t like the ones that are plastic and wobbly. Traction is most important as well, you can use double-sided tape to securely attach a bath carpet to the ramp.
As the disease progresses, there are good companies that make paraplegic and even quadriplegic wheelchairs. The ECSCA has some which are available to loan to owners when they need them.
As drinking may become difficult, when the esophagus becomes involved, some owners have tried large versions of those small animal water bottles that hang upside down. Licking these are sometimes easier than drinking from a water bowl although it takes quite a while to get enough to satisfy most dogs. Lixit makes them as large as 64 ounce sizes for dogs and are available online.
Large versions of the baby bird feeding syringes may help with feeding at the very end stage when eating becomes difficult.
This disease has such varied rates of progression that the age at which a dog may need these aides is difficult to predict. Some need assistance as early as 7-8 years old and some can still get around on their own even past ten to twelve years of age.
I personally feel the best thing anyone can do to help slow down progression is to keep the dog as fit and active as possible. Overweight dogs have greater difficulty compensating than more fit, active dogs.
If any of you have any other ideas that might help owners deal with their AN affected dogs, please let us know. If anyone is nearing the point when they might want to borrow a wheelchair, contact us at Dragonstarehn@gmail.com or Addipittman@me.com.
Please continue testing your dogs. Dogs of all coat patterns and from all around the world have tested Carrier and Affected, so this is no longer just a solid disease or limited to US bred dogs!
~ Elizabeth Neff