Sierra had a really bad day today. She refused her breakfast and lunch. She spit up what little antibiotics I tried to give her this morning. She ate some oatmeal and part of her dinner. I skipped her other doses of antibiotics today as she just won’t eat. She was looking really weak behind during dinner and then tried to make it down the steps. I didn’t have her collar on her from swimming yesterday and so her hind legs gave out on the steps and I had nothing to hold her with. I had to call my boyfriend to help her front end while I fixed her hind legs so she could get down the rest of the steps. She is now “locked” in the basement with us to prevent her from trying to get up and down the steps for the rest of the night.
· Stress and Fatigue
o Avoid stress and anxiety. For anxiety use of aromatherapy oils included lavender, Roman chamomile and neroli (orange) oil has been successful.
o Fatigue is often among the first difficulties faced by people with MS and fatigue management is a vital area for occupational therapy intervention because of the impact of fatigue on all areas of daily living. In our pets with DM fatigue manifest in various ways. We may see fatigue that prevents our pets from doing things the love or appear to want to do, we may see them stop in the middle of a walk or ball game because they are fatigued. We may also see fatigue at the end of the day and our pet may be more likely to have an injury, fall or incontinence when fatigued.
§ Why fatigue is a problem: Because of damage in various areas of the brain, thoughts and actions require more energy than before. Think of the areas of damage as roadblocks. Each roadblock forces the messages in the brain to take a detour, so movements and thought take increased effort. Muscles with spasticity work against each other, so more effort is needed to complete a task. Depression is a major cause of fatigue for many reasons. Involuntary and poorly-controlled movements force the body to do more work than it otherwise would. Spasticity, depression and tremor are treatable causes of fatigue and should be discussed with the rest of the multi-disciplinary team.
o Fatigue management: here are ideas to limit fatigue in your DM pet
§ Take frequent rest breaks, do not allow your pet to “overdo” it on a good day- you may not see the after effects until a day or two later.
§ Keep your pet cool and comfortable
§ Help them relax through massage or just being close to them
§ Conserve energy, do not let your pet follow you around the house when you are busy doing chores or otherwise engaged. If you have stairs in your home, limit the times the dog is walking up or down the stairs.
§ Keep an activity diary of the things your pet does throughout the day, where he/she walks, sleeps and eats. Log any play time, exercise or therapy. Monitor activity in relation to fatigue.
o Depression is closely linked with fatigue in people with MS. Consider if this may be impacting your pet. Attempt to spend more time with your pet and provide comfort or activities that your pet enjoys. Help him/her conserve energy while lifting his/her spirits. Sitting out in the yard under a shade tree with his owner may be just the boost to decrease fatigue.
o Other symptoms, such as depression, being in pain, or sleep disturbance from bladder problems or spasms, can all worsen fatigue. Fatigue may also occur as a side effect of medications or be the result of inactivity, poor diet, stress or an infection.
o If necessary, ask your vet about medication for fatigue, there are several medications used in treating fatigue in humans related to MS.