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Muscular

This is a Muscular condition.

Muscular Dystrophy

What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Characterized by non-painful muscle weakness and wasting, early diagnosis and supportive treatment can slow the pace of this progressive muscle disease. All known mutations for muscular dystrophy lie in the DMD gene, which 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. The most dramatic symptoms include difficulty walking and visible muscle wasting over the back and legs, the disease will also affect the muscles that control swallowing and breathing. 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. 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 are the signs & symptoms that develop in affected dogs?

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.

When do signs and symptoms develop?

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

How do vets diagnose this condition?

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

How is this condition treated?

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 actions should I take if my dog is affected?

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

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