Degenerative myelopathy (DM), also known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy (CDRM)
What is CDRM in Dogs To begin, lets start with the main types of breeds this disease affects: * Very commonly found within the German Shepherd dog breeds and also the GSD Crosses. * Boxers * Collies * Huskies * Bernese mountain dog, * Corgis * Certain retriever breeds * Poodles There may be others on the list few more on the list. If you are concerned because your dog is dragging their feet and knuckling a bit or swaying, we recommend that you urgently see a veterinarian practice and get a vet to have a look. The most common symptoms to look out for are: 1. Knuckling – this is where the dog walks on their knuckles and you see soars appearing on the knuckles. Here, we recommend that you place good solid strong boots on your dog. 2. Swaying – This where the dogs back legs sway as if drunken. 3. In the later stages, you will often find that the knuckling and swaying gets worse, and may get to a stage where the dog can no longer get up without assistance. There is no time limit as to how quickly this will happen and sometimes it may be a matter of weeks to months and other times, it may take a year or two years to get to this stage. You may also see in the later stages the dog starts to become incontinent. 4. In the more aggressive and severe instances, the disease may spread to the front legs. Degenerative myelopathy (DM), also known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy (CDRM), is said by some vets to not be a painful condition and although we cannot confirm this, we did notice that dogs with this condition are very keen to exercise. They find their new situation very frustrating due to this disability and the best form of exercises we can recommend here would be swimming through a qualified canine hydrotherapy centre that have the experience to treat such cases. The exact cause of chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy (CDRM) or Degenerative myelopathy (DM), is unknown. What is known is that the disease affects the spinal cord and that the white matter of the spinal cord degenerates over a period of time. There is currently no known cure for this. The sad fact is that all you can do is care for your dog as long as you can. Degenerative myelopathy (DM), chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy (CDRM) occurs mainly as the dogs age from 8 years upwards however, it may occur in dogs as young as 3 to 4. This is why its always best to see a veterinary practice and a vet can then rule out any other similar conditions such as spinal conditions which has similar symptoms to CDRM.
What causes DM?
The cause of degenerative myelopathy is unknown but what is known is that is that it is progressive eventually leading to becoming incontinent and the inability to walk. There is a very big range to products designed to help from mobility dog wheel chairs, to boots and even our own harnesses which are designed to help the handler and dog - GenX harness. Although supplements have been suggested 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 none have been proven. Conclusion: See your vet to confirm that it is indeed CDRM and if it is, consider a mobility harness such as the GenX to help you from the start and will become invaluable throughout for you and your dog.