While it also appears in other large breeds, Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is most prevalent in German Shepherds, and usually becomes apparent in dogs from 5-14 years old. If your German Shepherd displays one or more of these symptoms, consult your veterinarian right away.
- 1 At what age does DM in dogs start?
- 2 Do all German shepherds get degenerative myelopathy?
- 3 What percentage of German shepherds get degenerative myelopathy?
- 4 How quickly does degenerative myelopathy progress in dogs?
- 5 How do dogs get DM?
- 6 How common is DM in German shepherds?
- 7 How do I help my German shepherd with DM?
- 8 How do you stop a dog from having DMS?
- 9 How long do German shepherds live with degenerative myelopathy?
- 10 How do vets test for degenerative myelopathy?
- 11 How can I slow down my degenerative myelopathy?
- 12 How can I make my German shepherds back legs stronger?
- 13 What are the first signs of DM in dogs?
- 14 When should you put a dog down with degenerative myelopathy?
- 15 What are the final stages of DM in dogs?
At what age does DM in dogs start?
The first signs of degenerative myelopathy generally develop at around eight years of age, although the onset may be later in life in some dogs. Weakness and loss of co-ordination in one or both of the hind limbs (back legs) is often the initial sign, followed by dragging and scuffing of the digits (toes).
Do all German shepherds get degenerative myelopathy?
Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a chronic spinal cord condition characterized by progressive deterioration of the spinal cord. DM occurs most commonly in German Shepherds, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Boxers, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, but it has been reported in several other breeds of dog.
What percentage of German shepherds get degenerative myelopathy?
With regard to German shepherd dogs, degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a highly recurring disease that appears to directly affect over 17% of the GSD population and is the cause of great concern to owners and those who care about the breed.
How quickly does degenerative myelopathy progress in dogs?
How quickly does degenerative myelopathy progress? Unfortunately DM tends to progress very quickly. Most dogs that have been diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy will become paraplegic within six months to a year.
How do dogs get DM?
The exact cause of degenerative myelopathy is unknown although a genetic mutation is highly suspected. DNA testing through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals can identify: dogs that are clear of DM (two normal copies of the gene), dogs at a much higher risk for developing DM (two copies of the mutated gene).
How common is DM in German shepherds?
This disease is not uncommon in some pure bred dogs with an overall prevalence rate of 0.19%. Although the German Shepherd Dog is the most commonly affected breed, DM has been reported in other breeds and most recently in the Pembroke Welsh Corgi (PWC).
How do I help my German shepherd with DM?
There is currently no effective treatment for this disease or its effects, though physiotherapy can help some dogs stay mobile for longer. DM is a non-painful disease (Cherubini et al 2008, Shell 2008), however, the dog may be caused distress by its progressive inability to move normally.
How do you stop a dog from having DMS?
The only way to prevent degenerative myelopathy in dogs is to selectively breed. Before purchasing an at risk dog, ask the breeder to show you the results of SOD-1 gene mutation testing on its parents proving that both carry two copies of the normal gene. If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. 7
How long do German shepherds live with degenerative myelopathy?
Degenerative myelopathy is not painful, but often causes a significant reduction in quality of life, especially in it’s later stages. Average life expectancy for a dog with degenerative myelopathy is one – two years.
How do vets test for degenerative myelopathy?
DM is purely a degenerative process; there is no inflammatory component. The only way to obtain a definitive diagnosis of DM is with histopathologic examination of the spinal cord at postmortem. During life, however, we can achieve a presumptive diagnosis of DM by exclusion of other myelopathies.
How can I slow down my degenerative myelopathy?
While there is currently no cure for Degenerative Myelopathy, acupuncture can help to stimulate the nerves in the hind limbs which can help decrease muscle wasting and slow down the progression of the disease. Brees is living proof of the benefits acupuncture and alternative treatments could provide to your pets.
How can I make my German shepherds back legs stronger?
Massage. Massaging is a good way to help your German Shepherd’s hind legs particularly after an exercise session. Canine massage relieves fatigue and tension in the hind leg muscles and helps to spot any unrelated pain that may be a sign of something to watch out for.
What are the first signs of DM in dogs?
Initial signs include loss of coordination (otherwise called ataxia) in the hind limbs, swaying or wobbling when walking, rear feet knuckling over or dragging, and difficulty with walking up steps, squatting to defecate or getting into the car.
When should you put a dog down with degenerative myelopathy?
Generally, a dog with canine degenerative myelopathy will be euthanized or put down within 6 months to 3 years after diagnosis. Based on the stage of the disease and how it impacts your dog’s quality of life, the vet will advise when to put down a dog accordingly.
What are the final stages of DM in dogs?
As the disease continues into advanced stages the dog will lose urinary and fecal continence, and eventually the disease will affect the front limbs as well. During the final stage of the disease the dog usually succumbs to respiratory failure.