Getting a diagnosis: bilateral proprioceptive block in aging dogs
Titan has recently been diagnosed by his veterinarian with bilateral propriocerative loss (BPS). Titan passed away in August 2014, he was 15 years old. He was quite old for his race. BPS doesn’t just affect older dogs, it has multiple causes and can affect dogs of any age for a number of reasons. The signs and symptoms of Titan from BPS are:
Inability to coordinate body movements.
Difficulty walking up or down stairs
Causes of bilateral proprioceptive block
BPS can be caused by:
Acute inflammation along the spinal cord.
Interruption 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-rays or MRIs
Some treatment options can be:
Treatment for BPS consists of:
Antibiotics for infections.
Our own experience with BPS
Due to Titan’s age and good quality of life, we are not currently treating his BPS. BPS is a progressive state in aging dogs and will continue to worsen over time. Titan and I return for vet checkups every six months to monitor her progress and reevaluate her plan of care. Titan is still excited to go out for long walks and eats and drinks well on his own initiative. You do not have any pain in your back or extremities, regardless of your current condition.
What we did to improve Titan’s quality of life
We had heard of the therapeutic swimming lessons for dogs that are often taught at dog spas. Although we were skeptical, we were also desperate to promote Titan’s quality of life. We decided to give it a try. I’ve posted some videos on YouTube about how this worked for us and viewers can really see what a therapeutic swim involves to improve muscle development and fitness, not just splashing for fun.
I am not a vet. 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. Consult your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns regarding your dog’s health, or if you think your dog might have BPS as well.
Supporting your dog through BPS
Supporting your dog through BPS is a great decision. Some owners will also make the decision. It is PROGRESSIVE and it is the beginning of the decline of the elderly. You can prolong your dog’s quality of life by maximizing his fitness through therapeutic swimming, but you can only prolong his life and minimize his suffering. The condition cannot be cured. Ultimately, it will result in incontinence of stool first, than of urine and stool, and eventually behavioral changes such as aggressiveness, confusion, and loss of appetite and loss of interest in drinking until quality of life remains. This is a time to create memories and decide what your limits are emotionally and financially. Get professional help during the pre-grief and grief process if you need it too.