Is your dog dragging its back paws? Or starting to wobble? Here’s a quick primer on understanding Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) and what you might do to assist your dog.
Quick Facts About DM
Which Breeds Get It?
Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive spinal disease affecting older dogs. Resulting in:
- Lack of coordination
- Paw knuckling and dragging
- Mobility loss with progressive worsening over time
Degenerative Myelopathy is a hereditary disease that passes down through bad breeding. DM is most prevalent in German Shepherds, but also occurs in Boxers, Siberian Husky, and Corgis.
Although there is no cure for DM, intervention can extend survival and greatly improve quality of life.
What Are the Symptoms of Degenerative Myelopathy?
Symptoms of Degenerative Myelopathy will change and worsen over time.
Early signs of DM include:
- Loss of coordination in the hind limbs
- Rear feet knuckling and dragging
- Mild hind-end weakness
Symptoms at 6 Months:
- Hind limbs become weaker
- Dog has difficulty standing
- Dog may lose ability to walk
DM Symptoms at 1 Year:
- Urinary and fecal incontinence
- Weakness in front limbs as well as rear
- Eventual paralysis in hind limbs
What Can I Do If My Dog Has DM?
Assistive Equipment to Support DM Dogs
Your dog’s mobility needs will change throughout the many stages of DM. Here are a few assistive devices to help keep your dog moving.
- Slings and harnesses for a lifting support
- Pet boots to protect dragging paws
- Utilize training tools to help with paw placement and gait training
Work with your Vet and rehab specialist to come up with a treatment plan that includes a multi modal plan.
- Physical therapy and hydrotherapy for increased muscle strength
- Acupuncture to help with blood flow
- Balanced nutrition
Eventually every dog diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy will need the support of dog wheelchair. Here are a few of the ways a dog wheelchair can support your dog:
- Keep pets active and mobile
- Increase strength and minimize chance of muscle atrophy
- Offers progressive support that adapts to a pet’s changing needs
Want to learn more? Read this blog post to learn more about the Stages and Progression of DM.
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