What is Degenerative Myelopathy?

"Dealing with dogs with degenerative myelopathy can be a very big challenge. This illness commonly hits dogs that are bigger in size, such as Labrador Retrievers for example. Many people do not understand how this illness affects their beloved pet dogs. Below is some important information that dog owners need to know about the illness.

What is it?

Degenerative myelopathy is a neurological illness that targets the nerves of the dogs. It starts out by damaging the dog's ability to control its hind legs. The dog drags its paws while walking, causing cuts, scratches and bruises. After a few months, the illness will affect the dog's excretory system. It will have a problem controlling when it will release urine or feces. During its last stages, the illness will result in full body paralysis. This illness commonly develops when the dog is 5-years-old or older.

What causes it?

DM is a genetic illness, which means that dog owners need to be very keen on researching on the dog's heath background and its bloodline's health background. There is no way for veterinarians to find out if the dog will develop DM when it gets older. However, by tracing the dog's bloodline and checking if any of its parents developed DM, dog owners can do their part in preventing the illness form developing.

What dog breeds are prone to it?

The most common breeds that get sick with DM are German Shepherds, Great Danes, Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and other big dog breeds. The illness is also known to hit smaller breeds such as Corgies as well, though other small breeds are less susceptible to developing it. When it comes to gender, male dogs are more prone to DM. Dogs that come from a long line of pure breeds are also more prone to develop the illness.

How can it be prevented?

Preventing DM amongst dogs is actually easy. All dog owners need to make sure is to give their dogs enough exercise. They also need to watch their pet's diet. It would be a good idea to give the dog food supplements to add to their pet's nutrition. Many pet shops and vets offer these vitamins at affordable prices. Regular checkups are needed to ensure that if the dog would ever develop the sickness, it is spotted at its early stages. Here, DM symptoms can still be minimized and even slowed down through physical therapy and proper support."

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