Degenerative Myelopathy - DM



Degenerative myelopathy initially affects the back legs and causes muscle weakness and loss, and lack of coordination. These cause a staggering effect that may appear to be arthritis. The dog may drag one or both rear paws when it walks. This dragging can cause the nails of one foot to be worn down. The condition may lead to extensive paralysis of the back legs. As the disease progresses, the animal may display symptoms such as incontinence and has considerable difficulties with both balance and walking. If allowed to progress, the animal will show front limb involvement and extensive muscle atrophy. Eventually cranial nerve or respiratory muscle involvement necessitates euthanasia.

Severity - 5

Degenerative Myelopathy has an extreme degree of severity.


Progression of the disease is generally slow but highly variable. The animal could be crippled within a few months, or may survive up to three years.
Weakness in the hind end
Toe nail wear in the hind feet
Slow reflexes in the hind feet and legs
Trouble getting up
Loss of coordination in the hind legs
Loss of muscle mass in the hind end

Genetic Testing

Genetic Technologies provides a test for Degenerative Myelopathy ORDER A TEST

Breeds Affected

Bernese Mountain Dog
Wheaten Terrier (soft coated)
Golden Retriever
Kerry Blue Terrier
Welsh Corgi Pembroke
Shetland Sheepdog
German Shepherd Dog
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Welsh Corgi Cardigan
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Fox Terrier Wire Haired
Great Pyrenees

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