When to Euthanize a Dog with Ataxia?

It’s really painful when faced with the decision to let go of one’s loyal canine companion because of the acute pain he is experiencing. It’s a serious decision that no pet owner would want to be forced to make. Worse yet, you don’t always have ample time to decide whether to put down your dog or not. However, your dog having ataxia does not mean he cannot be cured or live a happy life. In this article, I am going to discuss the right time to put down your dog with ataxia and other effective options you can explore before you finally settle for euthanasia.

When to Euthanize a Dog with Ataxia?

The time to put down a dog with ataxia is when it has reached an incurable stage. Once it gets to a severe level, expending extra resources to treat or cure him won’t make any difference. So, if it cannot be treated and maintained, you might want to consider putting him down. However, if the cause of your dog’s ataxia is less severe, he can still lead a happy life with robust treatment and support. This might demand certain commitments from you as his owner, like making the home more comfortable and safer and preventing him from climbing stairs. Before you decide to put down your dog, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can he still go to toilet without your help?
  • How severe is the pain he is experiencing?
  • Is the condition treatable or incurable?
  • Can he still play?
  • Can he go on a walk without falling over?
  • How many of his limbs are affected by the disease?

If most of your answers are NO, you might have to put down your dog.

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Causes of Ataxia in Dogs

Ataxia is a symptom of underlying issues not an independent condition. The underlying medical conditions that can cause Ataxia include: brain tumors, inner or middle ear infections, structural abnormality, red blood cell count abnormalities, vestibular disease, mammary cancer and the like.

Prevention of Ataxia in Dogs

Since ataxia is caused by underlying issues like ear infections, it’s important to always clean your dog’s ear and keep medications out of his reach. Don’t feed your dog foods that are made for humans that might be full of toxic ingredients. It’s best to feed your dog healthy diet based on your vet’s recommendation.  Regularly take your dog to your vet for exams.

Life Expectancy (How long Can He Live)

It’s not easy to predict the survival rate of a dog with ataxia based on a variety of reasons. If your dog’s ataxia comes as a result of inherent issues like ear infections, it can be treated and cured, leaving no negative impact on your dog’s life expectancy. If the causes of ataxia are connected to brain tumor or cancer, the disease can turn incurable faster with your dog battling with pains and immobility, and at the end, you might have to put down your dog down. Once diagnosed with an incurable Ataxia, your dog only has a couple of months to stay in your arms.

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Cerebellar Ataxia in Dogs life

Ataxia is caused by cerebellar degeneration which is a variant of degenerative brain disease. This condition in itself will not cause your dog’s death. However, as time goes by, your dog will get to a point where he won’t be able to act independently. Obviously, he will lack the stability and stamina to stand, communicate, exercise and go to the toilet without help. These symptoms often leave pet owners with no other choice but to put their dogs to sleep.

Best Supplements for Ataxia in Dogs

Treatments for ataxia depends largely on the underlying causative factors. Ataxia caused by less severe underlying issues can be treated with supplements and meditations. In some cases, the vets can prescribe physical rehabilitation. You can also help your dog with a combination of at-home care and medical treatments. If you are nursing your infected dog at home, help him regularly to go to the toilet, hand-feed him, and assist him in drinking. Watch what you feed him. Avoid feeding him foods packed with salt, pepper, garlic, and other toxic ingredients.

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Some Reasons Why You Dog is Unsteady

Ataxia has adverse effects on your dog’s mobility and quality of life. The degenerative disease will make your dog develop unbalanced gait, falling over from time to time and needing intensive care. Given this incapacitation, your infected dog won’t be able to exercise, play and go to the toilet independently. His limbs will also be badly affected. Once your dog has been rendered completely immobile, check with your vet to tell you the next line of action.

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Sources:

  • https://www.thesprucepets.com/ataxia-in-dogs-4686102