The story of Bruce Wayne, my disabled pug with Pug Myelopathy, who has overcome so many obstacles with the help of CBD and integrative medicine. Has your dog been diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy? There are many things that you can do to help your dog feel much better.
Bruce’s Story: CBD for Pug Myelopathy
The story of Bruce Wayne, my special pug with Pug Myelopathy, is one of many obstacles, all overcome with the help of integrative medicine and Full Spectrum Hemp Extract.
Table of Contents
Bruce’s Pug Myelopathy Diagnosis
Bruce started out like any other happy, healthy dog, free of issues. However, at 5 years old, Bruce started to show signs of hind end weakness. His tail stopped curling and his back legs did not work properly, he would suddenly lose control of his rear legs, and often stumbled looking like his back legs were drunk walking.
After an MRI, Bruce was diagnosed with a slipped disk and intervertebral disk disease (IVDD). Bruce had his first spinal surgery, known as a hemilaminectomy, to fix a slipped disk in 2015. Unfortunately, not many vets understand or even know of Pug Myelopathy. Because of this, Bruce’s vets thought his spinal injury was not congenital and the surgery was all he needed. Pug Myelopathy is in fact a congenital illness, very similar to Degenerative Myelopathy. However, with PM, the spinal cord damage is localized to the lumbar spine only and does not quickly progress up the spinal cord as DM does.
After Bruce’s PM Diagnosis
Unfortunately, throughout the years, Bruce’s condition progressed exactly how Pug Myelopathy does. Two years after his first surgery, Bruce faced another issue: Neurogenic Bladder. This basically meant Bruce was unable to urinate on his own, his bladder could not empty and without intervention, would burst. The cause was another spinal issue, a spinal cyst that damaged the nerve controlling Bruce’s bladder. Another MRI and surgery were performed to break up the cyst to alleviate pressure on Bruce’s spinal cord. Although the surgery fixed the compression issue, Bruce never regained the ability to urinate and now must be catheterized on a twice-daily basis.
By 2018, Bruce lost control of his back legs completely, was unable to walk on his own, and needed the assistance of a wheelchair. His wheelchair, custom-made by Eddie’s Wheels, gives Bruce the freedom he needs while still sustaining nerve function in his feet and legs. Even though Bruce can’t “feel” his rear legs, his spinal cord still needs to be stimulated in order for him to maintain muscle mass and retain some nervous system function.
Supporting Bruce Holistically
Bruce goes to physical therapy every week and utilizes the water treadmill to keep his legs moving. Bruce has the ability to “spinal walk” which means that although his brain is not telling his legs to move, his spinal cord is hard-wired to do so. He still walks in the treadmill; with the help of the water, he can gait and keep his muscles moving. Spinal walking is an incredible phenomenon.
Although many pugs are afflicted with Bruce’s condition, not many pug parents have the tools and resources to be able to conquer this disease with the success Bruce has. Bruce has a team of many highly skilled physicians and experts. He has weekly visits with arguably the best chiropractic neurologist in the world, Dr. Carl DeStefano, as well as weekly acupuncture appointments, massage therapy, cold laser therapy, and physical therapy.
The other foundation of Bruce’s health is his diet and supplement protocol. Bruce eats an exclusively all-fresh and whole food diet, rotating various cooling and neutral proteins like beef, duck, and rabbit. This is critical to maintaining urinary health since Bruce has to be catheterized and is holding urine longer than most animals, making his likelihood of urinary crystal formation higher than a normal dog.
CBD for Pug Myelopathy
Bruce also has a daily supplement regimen, which includes Full Spectrum Hemp Extract CBD. Without Bruce’s CBD regimen, he would have a missing link in his foundational health. CBD’s ability to balance all systems in the body is absolutely critical to keeping Bruce well. CBD helps protect Bruce’s body from chronic pain and inflammation, nervous system damage, and GI upset due to lack of nutrients from his damaged spinal cord. Because Bruce has a spinal cord disease, this means that his microbiome and GI tract will always need support. The spinal cord “feeds” every system in the body, and the gut is arguably the most important system in the body since it intrinsically connects all systems, especially the immune and nervous system.
In addition to the systemic benefits Bruce’s cannabis regimen offers, I also give Bruce CBD to manage a very strange phenomenon that is still not fully understood. Pugs like Bruce often experience neurological spasms in their rear legs. When Bruce experiences these spasms, it looks like his legs are running a marathon and then cramping up. His legs will spasm for upwards of 1-2 hours. This was happening 2-3 times a day and caused Bruce significant disorientation and fatigue. When these spasms first began, I tried EVERYTHING to manage and control them. I tried conventional pharmaceuticals like gabapentin, methocarbamol, and valium to no avail.
I even tried a CBD oil from a brand I previously carried in my store. Nothing seemed to help. However, Angela Ardolino, a medical cannabis expert, saved the day! She convinced me to give CBD another shot, this time trying CBD Dog Health tinctures. Within two doses of their HEAL: CBD Oil for Dogs, Bruce’s spasms resolved. Bruce is now free of these spasms! In the extremely rare case they do occur though, he sleeps right through them! I am forever grateful to Angela for reaching out to help me when I was at a very low point in Bruce’s care, and for teaching me about Full Spectrum Hemp Extract as a natural alternative. Bruce has since dealt with some other serious health issues, like thrombocytopenia and acute liver disease, and FSHE has helped get Bruce through those issues too!
Pug Myelopathy is a condition that requires close monitoring and care, but it is possible to give your pug excellent quality of life through a multi-modal approach of fresh food, supplementation, and proper physical rehabilitation. My hope is that with more information and education, veterinarians who encounter pugs like Bruce will be able to provide their clients better tools to help care for their pugs more proactively.
If you have a pug, regardless of whether it has or does not have PM, please consider contributing to a research study being conducted at Purdue University to try to identify the gene responsible for the condition. Healthy pugs and pugs affected with hind end weakness and/or paralysis area encouraged to submit samples.
Krysta Fox is an experienced Veterinary Technician, a career inspired by her own beloved pug’s medical issues. With her years of experience working in traditional, holistic, and integrative practices, working alongside some of the most gifted practitioners in the industry, her varied experiences have played a key part in expanding her knowledge of veterinary medicine. She has also previously taken on several roles within the industry, including the manufacture and sales of raw pet food as well as consulting on animal health and nutrition. With her combined veterinary and pet industry knowledge, she can effectively help almost anyone she comes across in some way regarding their pets’ health.
CBD Oil for Canine Degenerative Myelopathy
Has your dog been diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy? There are many things that you can do to help your dog feel much better. Most vets may prescribe your dog medications to help them feel better, but you can also use CBD oil to help your dog who has Degenerative Myelopathy.
What is CBD Oil?
CBD is cannabidiol and is found in the hemp plants. Unlike what some people may think CBD does not contain any THC. THC is the chemical that is found in marijuana that is responsible for the euphoric state. CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the brain to produce a variety of effects on the body. It is used to treat a variety of issues, both mental and physical.
When looking for CBD products for your dog, you will want to find one that has CO2 extraction, as this produces the best results and the highest quality oils. Since there are many different ways that CBD can be harvested, the purer the product usually means, the higher the price point. Once CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in the body, it produces a variety of effects, including:
- Reduced joint inflammation
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Decreases Stress
- Higher appetite
- Reduces itching from allergic reactions
- Helps decrease seizure activity
- Thought to possibly treat cancer
CBD can be administered to your dog in many different ways. You can buy oils that can be put right in your dog’s mouth or on their food. You can even find tasty treats that your dog will love.
The Natural Doggie CBD-Infused Bacon Flavor Soft Chews use only the best ingredients nature has to offer. The perfect treat to promote calmness, reduce inflammation and pain and stimulate appetite in your pet. This is a perfect supplement to add to your dog’s diet. This Colorado-grown, hemp-derived oil is legal in all 50 states and contains no THC. The non-GMO oil in every treat is derived from the finest non-GMO hemp the world has to offer. Your dog will love these bacon-flavored dog chews and you will see a major difference in your animal and if you don’t, your satisfaction is guaranteed.
What is degenerative myelopathy in dogs?
Degenerative myelopathy is a disease that affects the spinal cord. This disease causes a slowly progressive hind end weakness and eventually paralysis. This is very common to Lou Gehrig’s disease seen in people. The symptoms that are seen are due to the degeneration of the white matter of the spinal cord.
The exact cause of degenerative myelopathy is unknown. When your dog first presents with signs, they will resemble arthritis or hip dysplasia. This makes the diagnosis of this disease a challenge.
As this disease progresses, you will start to see weakness and ataxia in the back end. There are also diseases that you must also consider for a dog with suspect degenerative myelopathies such as back injury, a tumor of the spinal cord, fibrocartilaginous embolism, myasthenia gravis, and disco-spondylitis.
What are the clinical signs of degenerative myelopathy in dogs?
The early clinical signs of degenerative myelopathy include:
- Your dog will “knuckle” on their back legs. This is when your dog will turn their paw under so that they walk on the tops of their feet. This is most commonly seen when your dog is turning.
- Your dog’s back end will sway from side to side when they are standing still.
- Your dog falls over very easily especially when you gently push them from the side
- Your dog’s back feet scrape the ground when they walk. You may also notice sores or hair loss of the tops of their feet due to them continually walking this way.
- Your dog will have a hard time getting up from the laying down position.
As this condition progresses, the spinal cord will deteriorate, and these symptoms will become worse. This will eventually lead to paralysis of the back end.
Unfortunately, there is no really good treatment for this disease. Most vets will manage pain and inflammation, as well as any other issues that your dog may be having. Most of the time, the damage that has been done to the spinal cord is irreversible and usually life-threatening.
Who is most commonly affected?
This disease is most commonly seen in older dogs between 8 to 14 years. There is a genetic mutation SOD-1 that has been identified in almost all dogs who have degenerative myelopathy. Common breeds that are predisposed to this disease are:
- German Shepherds
- Siberian Huskies
- Bernese Mountain Dog
- Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
- Golden Retrievers
- Kerry Blue Terriers
- Miniature and Standard Poodles
- Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers
- Pembroke Welsh Corgis
- Rhodesian Ridgebacks
- Wirehaired Fox Terriers
This disease can commonly be passed on genetically from parent to offspring. It is always best to make sure any breeding pair does not have this gene to prevent further spread of this disease.
Can CBD Oil Help?
CBD oil can be very helpful if your dog has been diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy. This can act as a pain reliever and treat symptoms of degenerative myelopathy, including depression and inflammation. CBD interacts with the nervous system and is thought to help with neurodegenerative diseases such as degenerative myelopathy. The antioxidants of cannabinoids suggest a therapeutic use as a neuroprotective agent, potentially preventing the disease. They shield brain cells from toxicity along with aiding in the prevention of degenerative myelopathy.
If your dog has been diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy, there are many things that you can do to help decrease your dog’s pain and inflammation. While there are traditional medications that your vet can prescribe, there are also many great supplements that you can use. CBD is great at helping decrease the pain and inflammation as well as help with many other issues. When looking for treatment for this disease, consider using CBD products.