"Won't Somebody Help Us Please....
Find a Cure for This Disease?"

Finding the Cure for DM Foundation

A 501(c)3 Non Profit Organization

Coping with DM.  How to help your dog and yourself

When you first get that potential DM diagnosis, it can be quite a shock and so many things can run through your mind.  How will we cope? How long will I have my dog and how soon until my baby loses the use of his legs (goes 'down in the back')? what will we do to deal with urinary and fecal incontinence?  What kind of equipment will we need?  Most people do not know where to start, but you are not alone, the good news is that there is support out there and quite a lot of places now deal with equipment for handicapped pets.

Carts: Carts or wheelchairs, for dogs are a great way to help your dog cope with DM once the hind legs can no longer bear weight.  A word of advice is to not wait for your dog to go down (lose the use completely of the rear legs) before measuring for a cart.  Many cart companies custom build carts and accurate measurements are needed. It is much easier to measure and get accurate measurements if your dog can still stand as you take measurements.  Each cart company is different so be sure to check with them on how you should measure your dog. There are many cart companies that exist and to help make a decision on which company to choose,  look at return policies, costs, what you want in a cart, options to equip it as a quad cart, customer service and ease of use. every dog is different and a brand that works for one dog may not be what your dog is comfortable with.

Harnesses:  As with carts, there are many harness options that you can choose from.  Do not towel walk your dog, meaning using a towel or sling to lift from the belly.  this can put pressure on internal organs and cause them to urinate if pressure is put on the bladder.  Choose a harness that supports the entire pelvis and try to choose a harness that will see your dog through the progressive stages of DM.  There are companies that make harness for both the front and back end and will see your dog through the entire course of DM.

Boots: Your dog will start to knuckle their rear paws (turn them under and not be able to right them) this can cause sores and scrapes on their paws which have a potential to become infected. Generally speaking, indoors this isn't an issue, but outside, especially when walking on hard surfaces, such as pavements/ sidewalks whether by use of a harness or a cart, it is important to protect the paws during a walk.  There are many different types of boots available now from many different retailers, and not all suit every dog.  'Hard' toed boots will last longer, but some dogs prefer a softer, more natural type of boot/paw covering.  Whichever type of boot is chosen, there are rubber glue type products (similar to repair trainers) that can be coated on the toe part to help prolong the life of the boot. Indoors it is better to find alternative floor coverings to help give your pup grip at first, as it is important your dog is not wearing boots all the time as they regulate their temperature through their paws and boots are preferable for use during outside walks