Degenerative Myelopathy or DM in dogs, is caused by a gene mutation and only found among a few dozen dog breeds throughout the world. We have found that a majority of dog owners have never heard of Degenerative Myelopathy until their dog happens to be diagnosed with this dreadful disease.
Often misdiagnosed, the symptoms of DM in dogs may resemble other spinal diseases such as: disc disease (protrusions), spinal cord tumors or even a pinched nerve.
We cannot stress how vital it is to not overlook or ignore the symptoms of this disease but be sure your vet excludes other causes of spinal cord dysfunction before accepting a Degenerative Myelopathy diagnosis.
- Hindquarter weakness and rear limb ataxia (the rear feet turning inwards).
- Loss of balance with difficulty rising or laying down.
- Knuckling under while walking (seems like the dog is tripping sometimes).
- Limp tail, rear leg dragging, or crossing under the dogs body.
- Wearing of rear nails before others which eventually leads to nail scraping.
About DM In Dogs?
DM in dogs or Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive canine disease with an insidious onset that typically occurs between 5- 7 years of age. Studies have not been able to identify the exact cause although researchers are getting much closer in finding out the why. However, most experts do agree that the disease is caused by a unique mutation in the SOD1 gene which only affects approximately 40 different breeds.
What we do know about DM in dogs, is that it is a deficiency where the nerves along the spinal cord become inflamed causing what is commonly described as “flare-ups.” These flareups which are rarely painful are associated with the nerves which surround a dogs spinal column. Overtime these nerves become deprived of blood and eventually die. As this cycle repeats over and over, it causes more nerve damage; and the disease progresses forward through the dogs body.
Degenerative Myelopathy almost always travels from the rear hind quarters up along the spinal column towards the dogs brain. As a result, the progression of the disease eventually causes complete paralysis and incontinence. However, being able to say with absolute certainty why this occurs is debatable.
Did you know that Canine Degenerative Myelopathy is closely related to a well known disease in humans? Well it is, the very same gene mutation found with DM is also associated with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or more commonly known as Lou Gehrig disease, in people.
The difference is that Canine Degenerative Myelopathy, unlike Lou Gehrig Disease, initially affects the back legs where it causes visible muscle weakness and atrophy; causing a lack of coordination and loss of balance in dogs which becomes very apparent overtime.
Treatment Options for DM In Dogs
It’s important to mention that with DM in dogs, because of its initial symptoms such as: decreased activity, trouble getting up and laying down, soreness, etc is often misdiagnosed as arthritis or more commonly, hip dyspepsia.
A misdiagnosis at this stage, although common can be a fatal mistake. If the disease is allowed to progress through the body, the dog will eventually show front limb involvement and extensive muscle atrophy. When this occurs, even with specialized treatments, a successful outcome is highly unlikely.
Because Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive disease we cannot stress the importance of getting help as soon as possible. There have been a few case studies where dogs suffering from late term Degenerative Myelopathy were successful in improving a dogs quality of life.
That said, with any Degenerative Myelopathy treatment plan you choose it’s imperative to begin sooner rather then later due to the progressive nature of the disease. Please understand, by putting things off and not doing anything a dog suffering from Degenerative Myelopathy will typically succumb to the disease within 6-8 months.
It’s common to see DM in dogs where the disease seems to be very active and other times it seems to be in a dormant stage. However, Canine Degenerative Myelopathy is a chronic and progressive disease, which always results in paralysis and eventually death.
Unfortunately, to date, there is no 100% cure that has been proven to work successfully in every dog suffering from DM. That said, huge strides have been made over the past couple years by some of the worlds most renowned veterinarians and scientists. They have yielded incredible breakthroughs in how one can go about treating the disease.
So, regardless of what others may say, DM in dogs can be suppressed and in some cases (although rare) even reversed but one needs to take action now as time is of the essence.
If your dog was diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy or if you notice any of the symptoms listed above, we urge you to give Sanus Biotex a try. Holistic Doggie has been at the forefront, fighting the disease with a holistic approach. Over the past 8 years we have helped improve the quality of life for thousands of dogs suffering from Degenerative Myelopathy.
Read our testimonials about Sanus Biotex. You’ll see that some dogs were diagnosed with DM 3+ years ago but continue to do well today. This is simply unheard of with more traditional medications and treatments being used today.
We can’t promise you the world but just trying Sanus Biotex, you’ll at least give your dog the best chance for a longer, healthier and happier life.
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