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When To Put Down A Dog With Ataxia?

Ideally, any dog owner wants to own their dog for as long as possible and watch their dog live a long and happy life.

However, there are some health conditions that could cause this not to happen.

It is important for any dog owner to consider a dog’s quality of life in all cases, but especially if they are suffering from some sort of serious health problem.

Ataxia is one of those severe health conditions that might cause you to reconsider how you should handle your dog’s health.

You should read the following information and take it into consideration when you are thinking about whether it is time to discuss euthanasia seriously with your vet or not.

What Causes Canine Ataxia?

One thing that is important to point out is that ataxia is a symptom of other kinds of issues.

Ataxia is not a health condition that arises all on its own.

There are many different medical conditions that can lead to ataxia in dogs.

Brain tumors, mammary cancer, irregularities in the number of red blood cells, and inner ear infections are some of the health conditions that may cause ataxia.

However, these are only some of the health conditions and there are other health conditions that might cause ataxia in dogs.

How Do You Prevent Canine Ataxia?

Underlying issues are typically what leads to canine ataxia in the first place.

As a result, you should take proactive action and make sure to clean out your dog’s ear properly.

Another thing that you can do for your dog is to ensure that your dog cannot reach any of your medications.

You should also not feed your dog any kind of human food if it is likely that this food is chocked full of harmful ingredients.

You should keep your dog on a healthy diet that is in line with what your vet recommends for your dog.

Bringing your dog to your vet for regular exams is also a vital part of keeping it healthy, as well.

How Long Can Your Dog Live with Ataxia?

Figuring out or predicting how likely a dog is to survive ataxia is difficult for a number of reasons.

In the event that your dog’s ataxia is linked to other issues, such as an ear infection, your vet can treat it in addition to curing it completely.

In this case, your dog’s life expectancy won’t really decrease in any way whatsoever.

However, sometimes the causes of canine ataxia are more severe, such as cancer or a brain tumor.

Under such circumstances, ataxia can become incurable much more quickly and your dog might have to struggle with various kinds of pain in addition to immobility as well.

In the latter stages of the disease, you may end up even having to euthanize your dog.

If you talk to your vet and they diagnose your dog with incurable ataxia, then the outlook is unfortunately grim.

Your dog will likely only have a few more months to live if it has incurable ataxia.

Cerebellar Ataxia and Your Dog

One of the primary causes of ataxia is cerebellar degeneration and you should keep in mind that this is a degenerative disease that affects your dog’s brain.

Cerebellar degeneration in and of itself will not lead to your dog dying.

Despite this, cerebellar degeneration progresses over time, so your dog will not be able to do much of anything on its own.

Your dog will not have the ability to exercise, perform its bodily functions, play, or even stand without your assistance once the cerebellar degeneration progresses far enough.

Since these symptoms are so severe, dog owners like you frequently have no choice and end up euthanizing your dog since it has little or no quality of life.

How Do You Treat Cerebellar Ataxia?

Proper treatment for ataxia mostly depends on what caused it in the first place.

If the underlying causes are less serious, then medications and supplements are often sufficient treatment.

Your vet might even prescribe your dog a course of physical rehabilitation, though this is not always part of the treatment.

You can ensure that your dog performs its bodily functions regularly, feed it out of your hand, and help your dog drink its water, too.

You should pay careful attention to what you are feeding your dog.

You should not feed your dog anything that has a lot of garlic, salt, or pepper, since these ingredients are toxic to dogs.

Why Does Ataxia Make Your Dog Unsteady?

Ataxia negatively impacts your dog’s quality of life in addition to its mobility, too.

Ataxia will cause your dog to develop a gait that lacks proper balance, so it will occasionally fall over and require plenty of extensive care.

Canine ataxia also negatively affects your dog’s limbs in quite a significant way, as well.

Eventually, ataxia can make your dog completely unable to move in any way.

If this does happen, you should consult with your vet in order to figure out what you should do next.

You Can Also Make Your Home Accident-Proof

Your dog is much more likely to fall over if it has ataxia.

Given this fact, you should make sure to get rid of anything in your home that could cause your dog to trip.

One way you can make your home accident-proof is to ensure your dog is not able to access the stairs.

Of course, this is only one thing you can do as an alternative to considering euthanasia.

You Should Answer Many Questions Before Considering Euthanasia

There are quite a few questions that you should seriously ask yourself prior to considering euthanasia as a viable option.

One of the questions that are important to answer is ‘how many of your dog’s limbs does ataxia affect’.

Naturally, the more limbs that ataxia affects, the lower your dog’s quality of life is, most likely.

You should also think about whether or not your dog is still able to play and exercise.

If your dog can play with you, then obviously, it will have a better quality of life.

You should take into account how often your dog is negatively affected by its decreased mobility.

This can manifest itself in a number of ways, such as your dog getting sores or falling over.

Your dog will suffer more if its decreased mobility frequently negatively affects it on a day-to-day basis.

You should also see if your dog is in any pain and if your dog still enjoys doing all the same things that it used to enjoy before it got ataxia.

It also matters greatly whether your dog’s ataxia is incurable or if it is treatable in some way.

Euthanasia Is Understandable If Your Dog Has Incurable Ataxia

Ultimately, the decision is up to you and your vet.

However, in the event that your dog is diagnosed with some form of incurable ataxia, then euthanasia is something you should consider and might even prove to be the better option.

After all, as previously mentioned, your dog will only live for a few more months if it has incurable ataxia.

Euthanizing your dog is the very last thing that you want to even think about, so talk to your vet and get their feedback prior to making any decision about euthanasia for your dog that has ataxia.

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National Canine Research Association of America