Tag archives: difficulty balancing

Misconceptions About Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

Misconceptions About Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

If there is anything that I have learned in Paw Print Genetics’ quest to prevent canine inherited diseases, it is that degenerative myelopathy (DM) is one of the most misunderstood diseases in the dog breeding community. This late-onset, progressive neurological disease is notorious for cutting affected dog’s lives short and preventing them from living out their golden years. Unfortunately, sometimes there are misunderstandings in regard to what causes DM, what DM genetic test results mean, and whether or not DM occurs in certain breeds or bloodlines. I will attempt to address the confusing aspects of DM in order to empower people to eliminate this devastating disease from their blood lines.

How Do DM Affected Dogs Present? How is it Inherited?

Dogs affected with DM typically begin showing signs of painless, hind limb weakness and loss of balance around 7 to 10 years of age. These dogs often have difficulty rising after lying down, will drag their hind feet while walking, and abnormally cross their legs while standing. As the disease progresses, affected dogs’ front limbs also become progressively weaker until the dog becomes unable to walk. Affected dogs also may develop urinary and fecal incontinence as the disease progresses. Most ...