Our 9yo boy has been diagnosed with Hip Myoplasia. It’s not progressing as quickly as it could; however, it has gotten worse over the past 6mos: he is knuckling on his rear paws, kneeling on his hind legs when standing still, and cries when having to navigate stairs. Our vet recommended we try a round of antibiotics, a trial of Gabapentin in the evening, and daily glucosamine - no avail. We even got a new puppy, because another vet in the practice suggested that the “play” could help stimulate brain activity - still nothing. His appearance is starting to reflect the condition: he looks dull. We live in a 115yo Victorian, so stairs are inevitable, unless we contain him to the 1st floor (this could cause a whole other set of issues, since he is used to sleeping with and retreating to our daughter’s bedroom). Any thoughts, suggestions, or any recommendations would be appreciated.
Have you talked to his breeder? Definition of this is Degenerative myelopathy is a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs. The disease has an insidious onset typically between 8 and 14 years of age. It begins with a loss of coordination (ataxia) in the hind limbs. The affected dog will wobble when walking, knuckle over or drag the feet. In my 30+ yrs in the breed, this is not something that is typical to Basenjis to my knowledge
I have contacted the breeder, and there is no history in his bloodline of this disease ever manifesting. We adopted him from the breeder at 8-months: his previous owners had a child with autism who was terrified of him, so he was “returned,” and we aren’t sure what trauma (if any) he endured prior. The breeder was transparent that for the few weeks he was home with his parents, he would fight daily with his father for the “alpha” position.
Gabapentin is a painkiller which lasts up to about 6 hours, so my vet has in the past put one of mine (totally different condition) on 4 a day. I have never come across this in all my years as a breeder and owner of up to 8 Basenjis at a time. I suppose you could ask your vet to put him on CBD oil.
If the vet agrees, there is a very reliable supplier of this on line (among many less so !) so post me privately and I will give you the name. Its expensive so ask your vet before buying any and then make sure you buy a good make.
Having said that, your poor little dog is probably very unhappy, not just in pain, and it might be the best thing for him, even if not for you, to put him beyond all suffering. You can often show these little animals how much you love them by letting them go with dignity and without suffering.
Good luck and stay safe.
At least carry him up and down the stairs when he want to go from one level to the next. Is he in pain when not trying to walk? A friend had a GSD with a similar problem and they got him a cart that supported his hind end. He could go for walks with it attached, but this only works for a dog that is tolerant of such things. I concur with the others that if life is no longer joyous for him the kindest thing is to let him go. The dog I mentioned was in good spirits and didn't seem to suffer.
All, your kind words and thoughts of compassion toward what my Husband and I have often considered are sweet words we needed to hear. He does not appear to be in pain, though I know that this breed often suffers in silence. I tried a 60-day regiment of CBD that didn’t work (I am a big supporter, as I have used it for my migraines with a great deal of success). We do carry him up and down stairs, but he is not a fan; and while he is still in good spirits, we can feel in our hearts this is the beginning of the end: he can’t even stand being in a harness for walks let alone a cart. We will keep this group posted on our decision.
Feed him what he loves, for as long as he loves it. My girl Lady, at the end, would only eat a very few items that she had always enjoyed. She wouldn't touch "dog food". I knew then that the end was close at hand, and I probably should have made a decision earlier, but it is so hard to let them go even when you know that is the best decision. My thoughts are with you in this difficult time.
Find something he does enjoy, might well be nothing like normal dog food, as his liking for peanut butter would suggest ! but give him anything he will eat, just keep the calories going in cos you don't want him going downhill generally.
Good luck - and oodles of sympathy
I probably should have made a decision earlier, but it is so hard to let them go
I know ! I don't remember how many graves there are at the bottom of my garden - a great many. Not a single Basenji in all these years went 'naturally'. I have always had to phone the vet and fetch a spade when the dog had told me, 'this is the time.'
Sometimes I have wondered if I reacted too soon, but I always felt that, for the dog's sake, slightly too soon was better than even a little too late.
Better to say goodbye than to prolong suffering for the faithful friend.
If I am not posting correctly, my apologies: your thoughts/prayers/words of comfort mean so much to me and my family (this is going to be a “first” for my Husband and I, and our 15, 12, and 4-yo). I will keep you all posted; and thank you for all of your comments/suggestions.