My Beautiful Trouble

My Beautiful Trouble

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Old Dog Vestibular Disease and Degenerative Myelopathy

It is with enduring sadness and pain that I announce the passing of my precious boy, Jerry Lee. Jerry Lee was smart, loyal, regal, intelligent, protective, loving, and so much more. He was such a good, good dog and I couldn't have asked for a better friend. Jerry was stricken with degenerative myelopathy and possibly cancer. He accepted his disease with courage and perseverance, despite the physical condition his body was in. Jerry had atrophied tremendously... it was pitiful to see such a regal beautiful dog deteriorate to this condition.
Jerry was a trooper. He LOVED music and was my number one fan. Any time I would play my guitar or piano, he would come into the room to lie down to be near me as I sang and played. My music was very soothing to him.... he would be so content that he'd fall asleep while listening. Playing my music now is very sad for me.... just knowing he is not hear to listen leaves a hole in my heart... he loved me so much..... any time I left the house to go to work, he would howl a sad howl.... I could hear him in the driveway... and my husband told me Jerry would howl for awhile after I was gone. I miss him so much.
I didn't want to let Jerry go.... he would have been 15 years old on October 6th, however, when you love someone unconditionally, sometimes you have to be unselfish for the one you love.... even if it means having to let them go. Jerry was similar to Sheba.... she would have held on to life forever to be with me, despite the condition of her deteriorating body. Jerry would have hung on to life, also, to be with me... despite his frail body. Because the "quality" of Jerry's life was deteriorating, my husband and I agreed it was in his best interest to let him go before it would have been too late for him to have a comfortable passing. We had the vet come to our home to euthanize Jerry. He was surprised to see how Jerry had deteriorated, yet hung on to life for us. He was afraid he would not be able to find a vein that would accept the drug... luckily, he did find one. Jerry did not suffer.... he had a peaceful death for which I am very grateful. I would not have been able to forgive myself if I had chosen to wait longer, causing him to suffer a painful death because of the vet not being able to find a vein. So we believe it was the right time to let Jerry go, despite the pain and heartbreak. As I said before, Jerry Lee loved my music. I once wrote and recorded a song when Sheba was near the end called "Dear Mommy." It is a song about asking to be let go of (euthanasia). I had this song played during Jerry's euthanasia. He got to hear me sing and play the guitar while he was going to the Rainbow Bridge. I miss him so much. Losing Jerry Lee and Trouble so close together is an immeasurable pain and loss. The memories of my beautiful babies are imprinted on my heart, where they will remain forever. I love you Jerry Lee and Trouble... I always will.


Jerry Lee with old dog vestibular disease

My dog, Jerry Lee, was diagnosed with vestibular disease in March. He had the classic signs with nystagmus, walking in circles, loss of balance, and his head tilting to one side. He was rushed to the animal ER when he couldn't stand up one morning as I was afraid he may have had a stroke. We were told that Jerry Lee had "old dog vestibular disease" which has multiple causes including middle and inner ear infections, hypothyroidism, and by the distemper vaccinations. Jerry was given dramamine as the doctor compared his symptoms with vertigo and car sickness.

When I went home, I had checked Jerry's bloodwork from his prior vet visit as I get preventive bloodwork done on my dogs. Somehow, it was overlooked that his thyroid levels were below the normal range. He is hypothryoid and is on medication for it so when I took him to the vet for a follow up exam, it was agreed that his medication should be increased. His condition stabilized and then improved, thank God.

Last year, he was also diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy. With having had much experience with this damned disease with my beloved German Shepherd, Sheba, I wanted so badly to believe it was NOT dm. The symptoms have progressed just as they had with Sheba, so I believe that he truly may have DM. This is a process of elimination diagnosis, however, with Jerry's age (he'll be 15 in a few weeks, which makes him over 100 years old in doggie age, which is very old for a large dog), I have chosen to not put him through any invasive procedures as I fear he may have potentially harmful, if not fatal, side effects. My husband and I have decided to provide Jerry Lee with a quality life which is similar to Sheba's DM protocol. Sadly, due to Jerry's age and arthritis, he cannot run around in the wheelchair like Sheba was able to do.



Jerry has lived a relatively healthy life all these years. He had a problem with elevated liver enzymes for a number of years... medically, he was given SAMe which brought the levels down a tad, but not a significant amount. Tired of not getting better results, I began researching alternatives for elevated liver enzymes which led me to find some Chinese herbal supplements. Since Jerry's been on these herbs, his periodic blood work has shown a significant drop in the elevation! This is wonderful!!! My only regrest is that no one suggested any such treatments for Jerry Lee years ago. I know with the progression of the myelopathy and his age, Jerry does not have much time left. I am grateful for the time I've had with him all these years. He is a special boy who continually gives appreciation and unconditional love. He cannot use his rear legs anymore yet still lives a quality life. Jerry Lee has always LOVED MUSIC! He loves when I sing and play the guitar or piano. It is very soothing to him. He's always been my number one music fan.

Although his care is very demanding, he is so worth it. I will continue to provide him with the best quality life as long as he is comfortable and happy.


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2 comments:

Abagale said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Betty

http://smallpet.info

SpecialNeedsDogsMusicAndMore said...

Hi Betty,
Thank you for your kind comments on my blog. I appreciate it. Best wishes.
Deborah K.