Genetic Health Issues

Canine Degenerative Myelopathy

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Canine degenerative myelopathy, also known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy, is an incurable, progressive disease of the canine spinal cord that is similar in many ways to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Onset is typically after the age of 7 years and it is seen most frequently in the German shepherd dog, Pembroke Welsh corgi, and boxer dog, though the disorder is strongly associated with a gene mutation in SOD1 that has been found in 43 breeds as of 2008, including the wire fox terrier, Chesapeake Bay retriever, Rhodesian ridgeback, and Cardigan Welsh corgi.

This information is extracted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 19/4/13/.

Canine degenerative myelopathy, also known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy, is an Ru Ru Paralyzed Dachshund in a Dog Wheelchairincurable, progressive disease of the canine spinal cord that is similar in many ways to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Onset is typically after the age of 7 years and it is seen most frequently in the German shepherd dog, Pembroke Welsh corgi, and boxer dog, though the disorder is strongly associated with a gene mutation in SOD1 that has been found in 43 breeds as of 2008, including the wire fox terrier, Chesapeake Bay retriever, Rhodesian ridgeback, and Cardigan Welsh corgi. Progressive weakness and incoordination of the rear limbs are often the first signs seen in affected dogs, with progression over time to complete paralysis. Myelin is an insulating sheath around neurons in the spinal cord. One proposed cause of degenerative myelopathy is that the immune system attacks this sheath, breaking it down. This results in a loss of communication between nerves in lower body of the animal and the brain.

Symptoms

Degenerative myelopathy initially affects the back legs and causes muscle weakness and loss, and lack of coordination. These cause a staggering affect that may appear to be arthritis. The dog may drag one or both rear paws when it walks. This dragging can cause the nails of one foot to be worn down. The condition may lead to extensive paralysis of the back legs. As the disease progresses, the animal may display symptoms such as incontinence and has considerable difficulties with both balance and walking. If allowed to progress, the animal will show front limb involvement and extensive muscle atrophy and paralysis. Eventually cranial nerve or respiratory muscle involvement necessitates euthanasia or long term palliative care.Progression of the disease is generally slow but highly variable. The animal could be crippled within a few months, or may survive as long as three years or more.

Causes

The etiology of this disease is unknown. Recent research has shown that a mutation in the SOD1 gene is a risk factor for developing degnerative myelopathy in several breeds. Mutations in SOD1 are also associated with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) in people. Known causes of spinal cord dysfunction should be excluded before accepting the diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy; disc disease (protrusions) or spinal cord tumors can cause compression of the spinal cord with similar signs to degenerative myelopathy

Treatment

Degenerative myelopathy is an irreversible, progressive disease that cannot be cured. There are no treatments that have been clearly shown to stop or slow progression of DM.

 

We DNA test for this genetic condition, although not overly common but still necessary to test for Canine Degenerative Myelopathy in ALL dog breeds.

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