Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy

Chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy (CDRM) in pets

Having spent more than a year dealing with a dog with Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy (CDRM) we have found many ideas that can make things easier for you and your dog. Below are some of our suggestions and also tips from visitors to this site. If you have any information that could be included here please email us.
Vet wrap, available from pet shops and horse shops is ideal for protecting from pressure wounds/bed sores or injuries caused by dragging of the feet. Our Zak liked this stuff and with the amount he managed to remove and eat it certainly does not seem to cause blockages and seems to be non-poisonous!

A nice Padded bed to lay on in the day and to sleep on at night is well appreciated, covering it with plastic sheet helps protect bedding from accidents. A product called Vetbed which is an imitation fleece with a material back is a useful pad for soaking up accidents.

Baby Bath (Johnson’s) which does not have to be rinsed out is a good to clean your dog with if he cannot be put in the bath. A gentle groom with baby talc is appreciated too.

Being turned, especially during the night can be necessary, you would be surprised how often you turn yourself at night.

Make sure that if he gets frustrated you are their to help. Our Zak sometimes Barks and gets frustrated when he cannot reach something. It can be quite a task to work out what he needs and he really tells you off if you are too stupid to realize quickly what it is.

He may gets frustrated when he gets an itch as he may not be able to reach to scratch himself.

Sometimes he can just feel left out, especially if he is unable to walk. Be sure to give your dog plenty of attention and make sure he does not get too bored. Play with him down on his level and make sure he has plenty of toys.

If he suffers from Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy, make sure he is regularly offered a drink as he might not be bothered to move to reach it. If he is fed dry food, it is a good idea to soak the biscuits. Soaking them makes sure he gets some extra liquid and that they do not make him thirstier. Make sure a water bowl is where he can reach it from his bed in the nights and when you are out.

It may be a good idea to choose a food for older or senior dogs to avoid weigh gain due to being less mobile. It certainly wont help him if he gets over-weight.

If you want to make your own booties to protect dragging feet or harnesses, try using polar fleece with velcro for the fastenings.

A rear-end harness made from a few pairs of plaited tights/nylons can be useful for steadying his rear end. Tights are useful as they are quite stretchy and stay in place without being too tight.

A piece of carpet laid over a doorstep will help to prevent rear feet from injuries, also if your dog has to walk across a path to get to a grassy area of you garden a small piece of carpet here will help to prevent him grazing his feet on the concrete.

If he gets incontinent, do not make a fuss. Clean up and carry on as if it never happened. In the early stages he may feel upset that he couldn’t make it to the garden, reassure him that its not a problem.

Keep an eye on your dog in the kitchen if he is unsteady. He may knock something over and scold himself especially on slippery tiled floors. Our Zak was unable to get up from our kitchen floor, be sure to help him up if he gets into difficulty.

Do not leave your dog out in the hot sun. Getting overheated may make his symptoms worse. Getting over-tired may also make him worse.

Air beds can help prevent bedsores by providing uniform support for the dogs whole body. If the air bed is not a very strong one or if the covering tends to cause sweating an alternative cover may be needed but be careful it does not end up too creased up as this may irritate the problem.

If your dogs symptoms seem to suddenly get much worse, don’t panic. It is normal to have periods of instability.

Air beds can help prevent bedsores by providing uniform support for the dogs whole body. If the air bed is not a very strong one or if the covering tends to cause sweating an alternative cover may be needed but be careful it does not end up too creased up as this may irritate the problem.

A bowl stand can be bought from most petshops which will enable the dog to eat in a more comfortable
position.

Exercise recommendation for Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy:
Day 1 exercise/rest. Day 2 rest. Day 3 exercise/rest and so on gradually step the exercise up, he may seem to get worse initially. (If necessary hold his tail to guide and steady him it won’t hurt him.). Swimming is the best exercise if you can find a pool for your dog.

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