Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)

From 2013 all our girls have been tested for DM and we only use stud dogs who have also been tested


What is Degenerative Myelopathy ?


   The disease begins with the loss of coordination in the hind limbs. Dogs with degenerative myelopathy wobble when they walk, they can knuckle over, or they can begin dragging their hind feet.


   The first symptoms usually occur in one hind limb and then affect the other. As the disease progresses, the limbs become weaker and the dog has difficulty standing. Ultimately, the dog becomes unable to walk.


   The course of DM ranges from about six months to a year before a dog is paraplegic, losing complete function of the rear limbs. Sometimes the disease continues to progress, causing a loss of bladder and bowel control and eventually, weakness will also develop in the front limbs. As devastating as the disease is, fortunately, it is not a painful condition for the dog.


   In DM, the myelin sheath that protects the spinal neurons begins to disintegrate, which exposes the underlying nerve fibers and disrupts the communication pathways between the brain and the spinal cord.