214.945.5529 | EMAIL | CLIENT LOGIN

Degenerative Myelopathy In Dogs

Degenerative Myelopathy In Dogs

Degenerative Myelopathy In Dogs

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a neurodegenerative disease affecting many breeds of dogs. 

According to Georgia Veterinary Rehabilitation Fitness and Pain Management (GVR), this disease is often compared to ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease in humans. 

It impacts the myelin, the white matter of the spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. The place messages are sent from the dog’s brain to the limbs. Eventually, the dog will become paralyzed when transmission of the signals to “move” no longer occurs.  

Breeds that are most affected by DM

  • German Shephard Dogs
  • Boxers
  • Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks
  • Standard Poodles
  • Golden Retrievers

Symptoms of Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs

The onset of Degenerative Myelopathy symptoms in dogs is typically seen in adult dogs, anywhere from ages 8 to 14 years old.

Initial:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Wobbling when walking and or rear feet, knuckling or dragging
  • Mild hind end weakness
  • Trouble navigating stairs, walking up steps, squatting to use the bathroom, sitting down, and or getting into the car
  • It can first occur in one limb and then move to the other limb

 Intermediate:

  • Limbs become weak; the dog has difficulty standing.
  • Weakness progresses until the dog can no longer walk using hind limbs.

Advanced:

  • Incontinence
  • Weakness in the front limb

Diagnosis of Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs

According to the Canine Genetic Disease Network, Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs can only be diagnosed by eliminating other possible causes or diseases. This means a veterinarian will use diagnostic tests such as x-rays, CT scans, MRI, or myelograms to determine his findings. Once all other possible causes are excluded, a diagnosis of DM is confirmed.

Other Causes:

  • Herniated discs
  • Stroke
  • Tumor
  • Infection
  • Cysts
  • Injuries

Treatment of Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs

There is no cure for Degenerative Myelopathy. Treatments used are to keep a dog comfortable and enhance their quality of life. Unfortunately, the prognosis for DM is always death. However, a dog’s life can be extended and more enjoyable through quality treatment options.

Beneficial Therapy & Rehabilitation

A delicate balance of physical rehabilitation can help the progression of DM and the dog’s quality of life.

Therapies include:

  • Electro-Acupuncture
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic
  • Laser Therapy
  • Strength & Balance Exercises
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Swimming
  • Massage Therapy

Assisted Equipment

Assistive equipment can increase a dog’s mobility. By helping to shift weight, support affected limbs, and help a dog move around quickly; they benefit larger breeds as they are difficult to lift.

Using any of the listed assistance equipment will offer dog independence, improve quality of life, and make it easier to assist the dog safely.

Again, balance is essential because there is a fine line between too much therapy and not enough. The goal is to find that balance and not aid the progression of the disease.

Pain Management

Pain management is often part of the treatment plan. While the disease is not painful, the dog’s more substantial body parts begin to overcompensate for the weak parts, and they can become tired and sore.

Conclusion 

A dog diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy and treated can expect to live longer, than those not treated. Remember, the goal is to comfort the dog while rehabilitating him to work against a more rapid progression.

Interested in learning how our services can help your dog whose been diagnosed with DM? Contact us, we’d love to help!

 

Nicole Packin UW-AAB, SAMP, CCWT, CCFT

Nicole founded The Packin Method with the mission to better the mental, emotional, and physical health of dogs by providing Treadmill Workouts, Canine Massage Therapy, and Bodywork. In addition, offering canine fitness education to pet parents and the community to help balance their pets' lives.

Nicole Packin UW-AAB, SAMP, CCWT, CCFT

Nicole founded The Packin Method with the mission to better the mental, emotional, and physical health of dogs by providing Treadmill Workouts, Canine Massage Therapy, and Bodywork. In addition, offering canine fitness education to pet parents and the community to help balance their pets' lives.

error: Content is protected !!