Did you know..
Do you know that asking a breeder if they test is not enough?!?!
Look at DM...
So called "Good" Breeders, do not give a rats ass if they produce a DM puppy or not. (That may be a little harsh but this is how I see it).
"We test for it" they say, "our Berners do not get that old", they say. "Cancer is worse" they say.
But is it??
You worked so hard to get your dog to where it is, often in it's teenage years, and then your dog gets DM.
DM Degenerative Myelopathy, A disease often likened to ALS (you know the bucket challenge everyone went nuts about) is a disease that effects the nerve sheath slowly but surely making sure the dog gets paralyzed while other wise in good health. It moves from the back legs to the front legs to the vocal cords and spine then long last settle in the soft tissue muscle of the heart and lungs where the dog then passes away.
But "Its not as bad as cancer" and "well, at least they got old" and "Well, I tell all my puppy people, and some don't care." to "not all get it" and "I look at lines"..
Sure, I did too. We didn't have a test yet. Lines never experienced anything like it. Our dogs are living longer it seems, and DM is rearing it's ugly head.. So do we need to find a cure if we can eradicate it by just making good breeding choices?
Let me get one thing perfectly straight..
DM IS PREVENTABLE BY TESTING AND ONLY PUTTING AT RISK / CARRIER DOGS TOGETHER TO BREED WITH A CLEAR DOG.
This way you will never (only one dog I know of in Bernergarde that was a carrier and got DM) produce an At risk puppy and risk the chance of DM..
So what is DM in real life.
DM is; doing everything for your dog except eating.
Hand water a lot of times a day, provide hands to itch as your dog is incapable, express the bladder so incontinence is controlled to minimum, express to poop so you can regulate this and beds and floor is not soiled, regularly switch sides to prevent bed sores (dog cannot switch sides by itself), regularly put upright for overall well being, regularly give the dog something to do, like going on a ride or a walk in the wheelchair, or anything else to keep the mind occupied, sleeping beside your dog to cater to it's every need as they panic otherwise because they are trapped in this body that refuses to do what the dog wants, call off social gatherings because someone cannot be home at that time and the dog panics and let go of poop and urine and blocks the door when you come home, breaking your back because the dog is getting heavier by the day, getting a sore arm and a sore shoulder because again your dog is getting heavier by the day, buying yet another harness to swap them out to have one in the wash while she wears and pees over the other one, tending to hotspots/ skin beside the vulva and in between the legs because the urine is eating the exposed skin away and there is no way she can air it out, so cleanliness is imperative, making sure the supplements to prevent a UTI are given regularly because a down dog is prone to a UTI way more then any other dog. And so many more things.
Well, put your dog down they say. Really???
Most dogs with DM as long as they are engaged and entertained live in the moment and truly want to live and be loved. They get way more attention than most.. Again, they live in the moment.
The process takes long and can be exhausting. I am lucky, I am home, but most people......
I am lucky, I have a strong husband, but most people....
The thing is. when you look in your dogs eyes at some moments and see how badly they want to run too, and then the joy and happiness when you do something they like. Its heartbreaking and warming.. It is hard.
You cannot say, "I can deal with it when the time comes" as this is not easy, truly not easy. I see many dogs being put down prematurely :'( It has to be done unfortunately as the situation is unbearable for dog and human.
Come and care for Heidi for a day, only 24 hrs. see how you deal with it. Keep her happy, Carry her outside to try to pee like a normal dog, to be upright for a little..
She is almost to the point where she is loosing her front legs, her core is already weak.
I said it before, we will care for her as long as SHE WANTS TOO.
We will handle it one way or another. Think about it. Can you put your dog down because you have to go to work, how would you feel, to put down a happy dog because you cannot be with them. I guess some of those breeders can and do not think it is a big deal.. Can you deal with it coming home and your dog needs to be washed, again, floors are soiled, again, and she is extremely thirsty and the water bowl fell over because your dog desperately wanted to get to it.. Can you???? Day in day out????
It is soooo simple, just ASK for results and ask for the result of the stud and make sure one of the 2 dogs is clear for DM in both Genes... (There are 2 tests it will say either SOD1A Degenerative Myelopathy or DM Degenerative Myelopathy and the other test will say SOD1B Degenerative Myelopathy). Again one of the parents have to say CLEAR for both Genes. There are 2 tests ask for both...
ANY other combination than done with a clear, will have the chance to get a puppy that will be at risk for DM.
If you have any questions please ask, I will help you as much as I can.
A Clear dog can be combined with a carrier or at risk dog, no dog needs to be excluded from the gene pool regarding DM.
To be perfectly clear, I am not asking for compassion, we are helping our dog with all the love we can and will keep doing this till she tells us it is time.
I am asking you to do your homework when you get a puppy from a breeder and prevent another well bred dog from getting this horrible disease...... <3
The same goes for any genetic testing..