It's been a long time since I visited this site. I switched to WheelCorgis after Gwenny was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy. After two years, the symptoms had progressed to become a quality of life issue for her. We said goodbye to our brave girl on August 21.

Now for the part that the admins will not like.

Although most people believe this horrible disease (identical to ALS in humans) is a German Shepard/large breed problem, the fact is, it has become a real threat to Pembroke Welsh Corgis in the USA. Just one of the of the numerous wheeled cart companies is shipping 5 carts per week to Corgi owners!

The typical age of onset is 10-11 years but they are born with the gene. It is an ascending paralysis (from the rear toes up) and if a human has the heart and fortitude to hold on to the bitter end it will eventually paralyze every part of the dog except their brain. Few dogs make it that far. Most have repeated and worsening UTI's (loss of bladder tone) or other infections (i.e., pneumonia) that causes system shutdown.  It could be purged from the breed in two generations if all breeders would do genetic blood tests and stop breeding positive dogs. If you have a senior dog who is unaffected then know that you are blessed. If you bought your dog from one of the few breeders who willingly tests their dogs then you are exceptionally blessed. Gwenny's breeder knew what was coming and just quit breeding with no explanation.

Be sure to give yours extra hugs and enjoy watching them run. I pray that the day will come when no one has to watch their beloved Corgi lose everything but their mind and spirit from this devastating illness.

My best to all of you.

Deb Smith

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Comment by Rachelle N on September 23, 2013 at 9:02am
Dear Deb,

Our fur babies are with us for such a short time but they leave us with a lifetime of great memories. Take comfort in knowing that you were there to ease the pain for Gwenny during her struggles and that she gave you countless days of joy.
Comment by John Wolff on September 20, 2013 at 2:14am

Sad to hear about your friend.  

Gwynnie's mom died of DM, too -- 15 years old.

There are a couple of long threads about it here.  I work for a neurologist, and Dr. Coates' DM paper made rather a splash when it came out.  They did quickly come up with the test for the risk allele, and the breeders may indeed succeed in reducing its frequency.  It is not a simple project -- breeding only 'clear' dogs might put the breed through a genetic bottleneck, creating new problems.  But there's hope, and things we can do.  This stuff is still in its infancy.

Meanwhile, we do our best to make each day count.  See you at the bridge, Gwenny.

Comment by Sam Tsang on September 19, 2013 at 5:20am

So sorry for your loss Deb, thank you for sharing. Why will the admins not like? Have we actually met and talked before?

Comment by Linda Masters on September 18, 2013 at 9:54pm

I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet Gwenny.


Comment by Jennifer Markley on September 18, 2013 at 8:41pm

Oh Deb....I am so sorry for your loss.  I can only imagine the pain you are feeling. I am pretty sure that my beloved Dillon showed signs of this, but he was a mix, and in the end his mind was gone too.  My hearts aches every day- your pain will get better with time.  Know that you did the best, and right, thing for him.  He will be waiting for you...

Comment by Holly on September 18, 2013 at 7:30pm
I admire your strength. I have a corgi mix so I may not have endure the health issues as acutely as you did though there are no guarantees. . Regardless, I hope you never have to suffer this level of pain and sacrifice again. I am sure your dog brought you more joy than pain, but saying goodbye is never easy. I hope I can be as strong and selfless as you when it comes time to say good bye to my best friend.
Comment by Laura and Tommy Jefferson on September 18, 2013 at 10:54am

I am so sorry for your loss, Deb... RIP, little Gwenny :(

Comment by Linda on September 18, 2013 at 8:14am

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Gwenny. 

I do know my breeder tests for it among other things and I am grateful for that.

Comment by Bev Levy on September 18, 2013 at 6:14am

So very sorry for your loss...

Comment by Katy on September 18, 2013 at 12:00am
Deb, I'm so sorry to read that Gwenny is over the Rainbow bridge now. I hope that your heart and your family heals quickly. Don't forget to remember the good, don't dwell on what you couldn't change.
Many hugs and Buddha sends corgi kisses.

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