What is Canine Degenerative Myelopathy?

Degenerative myelopathy (DM), also known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy (CDRM), as its sometimes called is a disease. It affects the spinal cord and the results are heartbreaking for any owner to see.

The initial symptoms of a dog with CDRM begins with your dog becoming unstable on their hind legs, gradually (or very quickly in some cases), this gets worse. You will notice them starting to knuckle a few times and this also gradually gets worse. In time, it could cause paralysis to the rear legs and in some cases even travels up the spine to affect the front legs and becoming incontinent.


Throughout the early stages of DM, the dog is often confused as they don’t understand what’s happening to them. This is where you can help manage their condition and provide the best possible care.

It’s different with each dog – whereas some dogs carry on until the end with just a slight sway, others can deteriorate quickly, in as short as 3 to 6 months. It effects different breeds in different ways. One of the worst strains belongs to the German Shepherd Dog. It is however commonly also found within Shepherd mixes, Boxers, Bernese Mountain Dogs, Golden Retrievers, Pugs, Pyrenees, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Corgis, Poodles and a handful more…

As there is no treatment or cure for this disease, the best you can do is help your dog have a great life for their remaining years.

Although supplements have been suggested to help dogs with CDRM, none of these have been proven to slow down or stop the progression of CDRM. The supplements that have been discussed in the past have ranged from, Omega 3  vitamin A and E, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), coenzyme Q 10, S- Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe), N-Acetylcysteine, and taurine – most of these can normally be found in fresh fruit and veg. There is plenty of research available on these supplements through the various website but again, it must be said that none have been proven.

With the aid of our Spero harness, you will still be able to continue longer walks with your dog and with the aid of the belly slings, you’ll be able to assist your dog for shorter journeys, such as – to the back garden to relieve themselves etc..

Our most popular harness here for CDRM is our GenX harness. This is because it can be left on all day due to the breathable design… this simply means that if you need to assist your dog to the back garden, the harness is already on. As the GenX harness also has handles to the front and rear, it’s a great for loading your dog in and out the car, and works great for the shorter walks.

Please note that the Spero is designed for your once a day longer walks and must be taken off after the walks. The handles are not designed for lifting and for this reason, for dogs with Degenerative myelopathy, we would highly recommend out GenX harness. The GenX harness is designed for shorter walks and can be left on all day and gives you easy access to lift and walk your dog.