Meet one of Bubba's Buddies - Yams! Yams's Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) story began in March of 2020, just as the pandemic hit. I (her mom) had noticed that the almost-12 year old Corgi had been bleeding from her left hind foot every time we took her for a walk. Thinking it was a broken nail, we took her into the doctor after the issue persisted. The vet suggested she might have a nerve damage- after all, she's a Corgi and they are long and prone to back issues. She said she might have some mobility issues but it might resolve.
Over the course of the next few months, I knew something wasn't right. Her left hind leg appeared to "sink" when she was standing, and she could no longer jump up onto the couch. Stairs were also difficult for her. I threw myself into finding out what was wrong and trying to "fix" it. We did laser therapy, acupuncture, Adequan injections, different supplements, chiropractic care, and more. Nothing seemed to help, except consistently getting her exercise to keep up her muscle tone. I finally took her to a neurology specialist an hour and a half from our home. We could have done an MRI, but the risk of anesthesia could be deadly for her.
You see, DM is a disease of exclusion, meaning you have to eliminate all other conditions before determining prognosis. The only true way to tell is a necropsy after the dog has passed, but after evaluating Yams she grimly told me she was positive it was DM. She suggested a genetic test, which would tell us if she was a carrier of the gene, and as it turned out, both of her parents were carriers, meaning she was "high risk" for DM.
I had a good ugly cry on the way home and resolved to make her life the best I could. It's been challenging watching her decline but every day, she lets me know she's happy and I will keep going for her sake. She is completely paralyzed in her hind legs now, and cannot even scoot herself places. Her front is weakening, which has been very hard to witness. But- she can still walk with me holding her back end up with a sling, and we have a stroller for when she gets tired. We have to go outside with her to the bathroom every 3 hours, as she cannot tell us when she has to go. Currently, she has a UTI which is common with this disease. She also trembles at night (similar to a seizure) so I have to "wake" her out of it.
Despite all of this, she's the love of our lives, the best co-worker for my husband's stay at home job, and the best sister to my 3 children who adore her. While DM is terrible, it isn't painful, and it's a slow progressing disease. To be honest, isn't every disease awful? Cancer is probably not any easier...but knowing their mind cannot comprehend why they can't walk or run is a tough pill to swallow.
I'm so grateful for Molli and her husband's mission to fund a cure for this disease. Please consider donating if you are an animal lover or know of a pet who has dealt with this disease. - The Sell Family