Degenerative myelopathy in German Shepherds – When strong muscles weaken

Dog owner question

"Hi, I have a German Shepherd and I have noticed that his hind legs are weak and difficult to move. What is this and what can I do?"

Veterinarian's answer

Hi! First of all, it is important that if you notice any changes in your dog's movement, you consult a vet in person as soon as possible!

Degenerative Myelopathy

German Shepherds can often have a degenerative neurological problem called degenerative myelopathy (DM).

This disease causes degeneration of the nerve cells in the spinal cord, which can lead to muscle weakness and eventually paralysis.

Symptoms of degenerative myelopathy include incoordination of gait, weakness of the hind legs, slipping or falling, and loss of balance. As the disease progresses, dogs may become completely unable to move.

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for degenerative myelopathy, but there are ways to alleviate the symptoms and improve the dog's quality of life!

These include a proper diet, regular but non-strenuous exercise and physiotherapy.

The diagnosis of degenerative myelopathy is made on the basis of veterinary tests and in most cases genetic testing can be done to detect the disease.

If your dog has been diagnosed with degenerative myelopathy, it is important to start treating the symptoms as soon as possible so that your dog can enjoy life as long as possible.

Please consult your vet if you notice any movement problems in your dog.

Early treatment can significantly improve your dog's quality of life!"

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