Degenerative Myelopathy

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Degenerative Myelopathy In German Shepherds / Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy / Cdrm

This condition is not uncommon in German Shepherds, starting as early as six years of age. Affected pets slowly develop a painless lack of coordination of their hind legs. Early in the disease's progression many pet owners erroneously assume that weakness in the hind legs is caused by hip dysplasia. Over the following years weakness evolves into a partial paralysis. The dog seemingly cannot feel where its paws are but superficial and deep pain perception remains intact as does voluntary control over urinating and defecating. While it occurs most frequently in the German Shepherd, CDRM also occurs in other breeds. We see it in Labrador and Golden Retrievers.

This condition is diagnosed by clinical signs and physical examination. While many treatments are promoted on internet websites, regrettably none as yet slows down or reverses CDRM. Weight control is valuable as is routine daily exercise to ensure best muscle tone. We feel that anabolic steroids sometimes may be useful, giving more strength to muscles. Protective boots are beneficial when foot dragging wears the nails down.

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