CDRM (chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy) otherwise also known as DM (Degenerative Myelopathy)

CDRM is a degenerative disease more commonly affecting the German Shepherd Breed. It should be noted that a few other breeds are also prone to this disease however its most commonly seen within the GSD. Not all German Shepherds will develop this but it’s something to look out for within this breed of dog as they age. The symptoms are very similar to spinal conditions and therefore it is always best to have your dog checked by a veterinarian before jumping to any conclusions. Within the German shepherd breed, CDRM develops around the 6 to 9 year age, although it may appear sooner in a few cases. Dogs with DM will usually start with dragging their rear legs and very quickly you will see them to start knuckling. They may also seem uncoordinated and you will start noticing the swaying from side to side. With the knuckling, they will start scrapping their knuckles which leads to bleeding. It is important to therefore buy some good quality shoes to help avoid this from occurring. At a later stage, the dog will start becoming incontinent and further on, it may also start affecting the front legs. All of this may sound unbearable to hear, however, it must be remembered that CDRM is in dogs is said not to be a painful condition, and throughout the whole process, the dogs are still away keen to exercise. The exercise may need to change and swimming “WITH” a life jacket is known to be really beneficial in keeping the muscles strong. There is no cure for CDRM in dogs, however, it is important to keep the dogs as fit as possible. If swimming may not be possible, there are various companies selling mobility carts and dietary supplements. If using the carts at the initial stages of the disease, the muscle wastage will happen a lot quickly is the back legs are strapped up. At Quincysdogs, we have a harness created for just this known as the GenX harness. In fact it was created for dogs because of just this and now used for everything from cruciate ligament injuries, arthritis in dogs, Hip dysplasia, old age and lots more. Although you can give your dog supplements such as vitamin E, omega-3-fatty acids, L-carnitine and gamma linolenic acid – all of which have been mentioned as being advantageous, none have been proven to cure or slow down the progression of degenerative myelopathy. There is no right or wrong answer as to what you should do and no amount of outside help will matter, only you know when the time is right to consider humane euthanasia. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions on this awful condition. Written by founder Proud owner of Clyde - a GSD, who passed away in 2016 from CDRM

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