Getting a Diagnosis: Bilateral Proprioceptive Stall in Aging Dogs
Titan has recently been diagnosed by his veterinarian with bilateral propriocetive stall (BPS). Titan passed away in August 2014, he was 15 years old. He was pretty old for his breed. BPS does not just affect older dogs, it has multiple causes and can affect dogs at any age for various reasons. Titan’s signs and symptoms of BPS are:
Inability to coordinate body movements
Difficulty walking up or down stairs
Causes of Bilateral Proprioceptive Stall
BPS can be caused by:
Acute inflammation along the spinal cord
Disruption of nerve transmission along the spinal tract
How is BPS Diagnosed
BPS is diagnosed by a veterinarian based on:
Reported signs and symptoms
Abnormal neurological exam
Scans such as X-ray or MRI
Some Treatment Options May Be:
Treatment for BPS consists of:
Antibiotics for infections
Our Own Experience With BPS
Because of Titan’s age and good quality of life we are currently not treating his BPS. BPS is a progressive state in aging dogs and will continue to worsen over time. Titan and I return for veterinary check ups every six months to monitor his progress and re-evaluate his plan of care. Titan is still excited to go out for long walks and he eats well and drinks well on his own initiative. He does not have any pain in his back or limbs regardless of his current condition.
What We Did to Support Titan’s Best Quality of Life
We had heard about therapeutic dog swimming lessons usually run through dog spas. Although we were skeptical, we also were desperate to promote Titan’s quality of life. We decided to try it. I have posted a few videos on YouTube about how this worked for us and viewers can really see what is involved with a therapeutic swim to enhance muscle development and fitness, not just splashing around for fun.
I am not a veterinarian. I am simply using my experience with my aging dog to share with you some of the exchanges that take place as dogs age in general. Please see your veterinarian for any questions or concerns regarding your dogs health, or if you think your dog might have BPS too.
Supporting Your Dog Through BPS
Supporting your dog through BPS is a big decision. Some owners will make the decision not too. It is PROGRESSIVE, and is the beginning of elderly decline. You can prolong your dog’s quality of life by maximizing their fitness level through therapeutic swimming but you can only prolong their life and minimize their suffering. You can not cure the condition. Ultimately it will result in incontinence first of stool, than of urine and stool and finally behavioral changes like aggressiveness, confusion and loss of appetite and loss of interest in drinking until no quality of life remains. This is a time to make memories and decide what your limits are emotionally and financially. Get professional help through the pre-grieving and grieving process if you need too.