Keeping a dog with Degenerative Myelopathy active is one of the best ways to slow the progress of the disease! Knowing that it is impractical to think you can bring your pup to the physical therapist 7 days a week it is handy to know some exercises to do at home with your DM dog to keep them active and help slow the progression of the degenerative myelopathy!
At Home Physical Therapy for Degenerative Myelopathy
Hydrotherapy is just a technical term for exercise in the water. While at a physical therapy clinic your dog might walk on an underwater treadmill but swimming in your pool or a pond or lake will be just as beneficial for your DM dog! The water takes the weight and stress off of your K9's joints so they can move more fluidly and exercise without pain. Make sure you keep your dog safe in the water even if they are strong swimmers with a dog life jacket!
Uneven Surface Walking
Take your DM dog out for a short hike or if you live near a beach, head to the water! Uneven surfaces cause your dog to shift their body weight and engage their core muscles. You can also do this in your home by building an obstacle course of pillows and blankets for your pup to walk over.
The No Knuckling Training sock activates the withdrawal reflex in your dog's paw. This handy, lightweight sock will help stimulate the nerves and prevent paw knuckling which is one of the first visible symptoms of degenerative myelopathy. You can use the No Knuckling Training sock at the beginning of your walks for around 5-10 minutes to remind your furry friend of proper paw proprioception.
Gluteus Medius (GM) Activation
To activate the gluteus medius, hold onto your dog's rear leg and extend the hip, rotate the hip medially (toward the midline), and prevent lateral hop rotation during weight-bearing.
A healthy dog starts with the stomach! Make sure your dog is getting all of the best nutrients and proteins to support your pup's muscle health. Adding supplements and antioxidants to your dog's diet can help reduce spinal inflammation that causes paralysis.