Meet Chewie the German Shepherd with Degenerative Myelopathy

Chewie is a patient of ours who we’ve been seeing for a few months. He was diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy (DM) which is a condition where the nerves slowly degrade and the dog slowly loses function in their legs. Typically the prognosis of DM isn’t great with limited veterinary treatments available however, emerging research does show that rehabilitative exercises might be the best way to manage such a condition. It’s important to know that while rehabilitative exercise looks promising, it still won’t cure this condition. In this case the goal is to improve things as much as we can, then try to maintain our patient’s quality of life for as long as we can.

The way we do this at the Animal Rehab Klinik is by using our Underwater Treadmill. This allows a dog like Chewie to actually walk in a controlled environment, when outside they water he can’t even stand. Contractions of muscles, movement of joints and pumping of blood are all really important things that go on here during our treatment that he’s usually missing out on because he’s not strong enough to move. Not to mention how exciting it must be for him to actually be able to move freely for half an hours in the water.

Outside of treatments with us, Chewie did lots of other exercises, his owners even made him a custom wheelchair, and he got fed lots of supplements which are good for nerve health.

We recently got his email from Chewie’s owners giving us an update as to how he’s going – it’s so rewarding for us to know that we’ve helped make a difference to Chewie and his owner’s lives.

‘Hi everyone, we hope you had a great Christmas and enjoyed your well-deserved break! This is Brooke, Chewie’s mum.

I’m not sure when we’ll be able to get Chewie back down to see you, because of our work schedule, so just wanted to let you know that Chewie is doing SO well!

Somehow he has regained some function in his hind legs, which has just been amazing to watch. He is still clearly knuckling, dragging and very wobbly, but he’s moving again and is able to support his weight for up to 20s by himself again.

He also seems to be super happy generally again, and we’ve put some new mats down in the house and he is just tearing around the place again. It’s so, so great to see.

Not sure what’s happening, but we will very much take it. Kind of putting it down to the NMN supplements we’ve had him on but we don’t know. Anyway, just sending you some videos so you can see as well.

Thank you for your help so far with Chewie, we can’t tell you how much it means that we’ve had so much more time than we thought we’d get with him AND he’s still so happy to be here. Have a good night