The progression of Riley’s degenerative myelopathy is accelerating and he’s having a harder time getting up and walking.  Sometimes he can only drag his backend, like a seal, until he finally gets his back legs working and stumbles on all fours.  While we’ve continued alternative therapies, the only peer-reviewed treatment is physical therapy which continues to keep the muscles active and best maintains proprioception (or the ability for him to remember he has back legs and what they’re supposed to do).

One of the best therapies for degenerative myelopathy (similar to ALS or multiple sclerosis in humans) is the water treadmill as it enables dogs to walk normally while having their weight bouyed by the water.  Riley did a great job today in the water treadmill and showed that his back legs still have great proprioception, as you can see in this video.  When viewing his back legs under water, he’s still lifting and stepping like a normal dog and not dragging or falling over like he normally does.

This gives us hope as he’s still a fighter and is still able to gain benefit from therapy.  Go Riley!