Degenerative Myelopathy, frequently referred to as DM, is the canine version of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). This debilitating, progressive, and fatal disease is caused by a degeneration of the myelin sheath of the spinal cord. Typical age of onset is between 8 - 14 years of age (though some breeds may develop the symptoms even sooner). Typically progression of the disease starts with a loss of coordination in one hind leg. You may notice your dog "wobbling" as he walks, the middle nails on one hind paw scraping or wearing unevenly, knuckling of that paw, and loss of proprioception, but no pain will be present. Over time, these symptoms worsen, and results in paralysis of both hind legs. As the disease progresses, your dog may experience urinary and/or bowel incontinence. If the dog lives with this disease long enough, it will result in paralysis of the torso and front legs, and at the end stage can cause widespread organ failure and respiratory failure.
DM FACTS: * DM is VERY common in over 100 breeds such as Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Boxers, German Shepherds, Pugs, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Great Pyrenees, Kerry Blue Terriers, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. * It is OFTEN misdiagnosed! Many vets have not personally seen DM, and many of the symptoms are similar to disc or other spinal injuries. * DM is a 100% preventable disease! Using good breeding practices which include genetic testing for DM, and only breeding your quality Carriers or At Risk dogs to a DM Clear dog can slowly eradicate the DM gene from the bloodlines, ensuring future generations of healthy dogs.
For more information, please visit www.shadeoutdm.com