Muscular Dystrophy


The DMD gene produces the protein dystrophin. Dogs affected with MD have abnormally low levels of functional dystrophin, leading to muscle fiber damage, progressive muscle wasting, and weakness.

  • Signs and symptoms

    This is a progressive muscle disease characterized by non-painful muscle weakness and wasting, especially over their back and legs. Dogs eventually have difficulty walking, swallowing, and breathing.

    Signs are often first apparent at 1-3 months of age.

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  • Diagnosis

    Genetic testing, clinical signs, and muscle biopsy can be used to diagnose this disorder.

  • Treatment

    Current treatments for muscular dystrophy include steroid treatment, which can slow the progression of the disease, but there is currently no cure. However, much research has gone into gene therapy: researchers have recently demonstrated that supplementing the defective dystrophin gene of a dog with MD with a new, smaller form of dystrophin (known as microdystrophin) can fully substitute for full-sized dystrophin.

  • What to do if your dog is at risk


    • Keeping your affected dog comfortable and giving them the best quality of life you can are the only actions you can take at home.

  • Genetic Information

    This mutation was first described in the Golden Retriever.

    Because MD is inherited in a recessive manner and dystrophin is located on the X chromosome, males are twice as likely as females to exhibit the disease.

    Gene names:

    DMD ‐ chr

    Inheritance type:

    X-linked recessive

  • Breeds affected

    This health condition affects the following breeds

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