What is Degenerative Myelopathy? - DogGear

What is Degenerative Myelopathy?

Just like anyone, our dogs can also get sick and get certain medical conditions. As a pet parent, it is your duty to make sure that your dog goes through such condition in the best way possible. There are also certain diseases that can leave our pets fragile, and not knowing how to deal with it. Degenerative Myelopathy is a disease that can leave you and your pet in a difficult situation.

Degenerative Myelopathy

Degenerative Myelopathy refers to a progressive disease that may be affecting your dog’s spinal cord or bone marrow. It is a critical and devastating disease the slowly progresses and affects your pet dog. It is the deterioration if the spinal cord or bone marrow. As the disease develops, your pet will start to slowly lose the functions of its body, and will greatly influence your dog’s life. It will no longer be able to do what it loves doing. As time passes, your dog’s limbs will start to weaken and eventually become paralyzed.

Causes of Degenerative Myelopathy

The exact cause of degenerative myelopathy is unknown, but a lot of studies relate it to a genetic irregularity in dogs. A common cause is a genetic mutation of what is responsible for destroying the free radicals in your pet dog’s bodies. When such free radicals are produced in large quantities, it often leads to various kinds of degenerative diseases.

What Are The Symptoms?

There are usually three stages of degenerative myelopathy, and it is important for pet owners to understand that the condition can be difficult to detect. At first, the disease doesn’t really cause any pain to your dog until the disease has further progress. This is why it may be quite difficult to detect. Below are some of the most common symptoms of degenerative myelopathy during its early stages:

  • Hind leg weakness or when your dog has difficulty moving such as jumping or squatting
  • Ataxia or loss of coordination between your pet’s hind limbs
  • Difficulty in walking. Dogs may wobble or find it difficult to move
  • When you dog seems to drag its legs and feet
  • When your dog appears to have tremors in its hind legs
  • Toe-knuckling while walking

While these symptoms may also be associated with other diseases such as arthritis, it is still important to have your pet checked by the veterinarian right away. This is to be able to explore and be informed about how you and your pet can understand and learn how to deal with the disease as it progresses. This is because the disease will progress and worsen much faster without the right changes in your pet’s lifestyle.

Dealing With Degenerative Myelopathy

Unfortunately, the disease has no cure, and the only treatment that pet owners can have is supportive care. This type of treatment involves treating the symptoms associated with the disease, along with trying to prolong your pet’s life the longest way possible.


Various studies have shown that physical rehabilitation can be helpful, and have made a huge difference in terms of handling the progression of degenerative myelopathy. For example, you can try to give your pet mobility slings. You can also allow your pet to undergo physiotherapy or hydrotherapy as well.


Getting your dog the right equipment to assist it with its condition can also make a great difference. This can help your dog be able to continue with its daily activities. For example, you can purchase slings, wheelchairs and even harnesses to help your pet. This can also help you as a pet owner yourself.

Change In Diet

Some experts will also argue that you can change your pet’s diet in order to be able to deal with the disease. This comes along with regular exercise, therapy and the help of equipment. If you want to try this out, feed your dog with food that will help support its immune system, and those that help suppress or control inflammation.


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