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Neurologic

This is a Brain and Spinal Cord condition.

This is the SOD1A variant

SOD1A vs SOD1B

Please note: While we test for the SOD1A variant, we do not test for the SOD1B variant at this time. Degenerative Myelopathy genotype results apply only to SOD1A.

Degenerative Myelopathy, DM

What is DM?

The dog equivalent of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, DM is a progressive degenerative disorder of the spinal cord. Because the nerves that control the hind limbs are the first to degenerate, the most common clinical signs are back muscle wasting and gait abnormalities.

What are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?

You may notice your dog scuffing the tops of his or her hind paws, or walking with a hesitant, exaggerated gait. In advanced cases, it can lead to weakness or near-paralysis of all four legs and widespread muscle wasting.

When do signs and symptoms develop?

Affected dogs do not usually show signs of DM until they are at least 8 years old.

How do vets diagnose this condition?

Definitive diagnosis requires microscopic analysis of the spinal cord after death. However, veterinarians use clues such as genetic testing, breed, age, and other diagnostics to determine if DM is the most likely cause of your dog’s clinical signs.

How is this condition treated?

As dogs are seniors at the time of onset, the treatment for DM is aimed towards increasing their comfort through a combination of lifestyle changes, medication, and physical therapy.

What actions should I take if my dog is affected?

  • Giving your dog the best quality of life for as long as possible is all you can do after receiving this diagnosis.