It is common to see a German shepherd or a labrador not being able to climb stairs. Furthermore, this happens at growing age but can happen at any age. Why this happens. Number one cause of this condition is Degenerative Myelopathy. other reason might be hip dysplasia. Whatever be the cause the affected dog suffers from back leg weakness. Today we will discuss Degenerative myelopathy.
This affects mostly older dogs of the larger breed such as German Shepherd. It happens due to degeneration of fatty myelin that surrounds s most nerves and acts as an insulator. This is a type of autoimmune disease.
The first sign – dragging of the top side of the nails on the back feet.This dragging produces an abnormal sound every time the dog walks.
Therefore, pet parents are advised to regularly check the top side of back leg for abnormal wear.
If goes unnoticed the disease progresses and back legs cross with one another. The dog walks like a drunk when seen from the rear end.
If left untreated the hind limb becomes so weak and uncoordinated that dog will be unable to get up, and even if the dog is lifted the dog will quickly fall down after taking a few steps.
In final stages, the dog loses his ability to control stool and the dog defecates just lying in one place.
Treatment and Control
Treatment – Degenerative Myelopathy has no specific cure. Once a dog gets DM our aim should be to provide him maximum relief from consequences of the disease. For this regular exercise and other forms of physiotherapy are done to the dogs. For correct diagnosis, I advise visiting a vet. I advise to massage the dog with some iodine ointment from the spinal cord to toe twice daily and apply hot water bag or give heat by an infrared lamp. Simultaneously I prescribe Chondroitin Sulphate drugs orally. I have seen lots of dogs to recover totally.
Prevention – This disease can be prevented if the dogs affected with DM are not bred so that the disease is not passed on to the next generation.
For more in-depth information on DM Click here
For the article on Hip dysplasia and its cure keep watching our blog.
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