What does DM stand for in dogs?

  • Date: March 28, 2021
  • Time to read: 3 min.

DM stands for Degenerative Myelopathy, a progressive neurological disorder that affects dogs. This condition is seen in some breeds of dogs more than others, including German Shepherds, Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Boxers, and Labrador Retrievers. Degenerative Myelopathy is a progressive, incurable disease that affects the spinal cord and can lead to paralysis and other physical symptoms. While there is no cure, early detection and management of the condition can help to slow the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life for affected dogs. In this article, we’ll explore the causes, symptoms, and treatments for DM in dogs.

Understanding DM in Dogs

Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is an incurable, progressive neurological disease in dogs. It is also known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy (CDRM). It affects the spinal cord and can lead to paralysis. DM is a serious condition that can cause immense suffering in affected dogs. The condition is seen most commonly in certain breeds of dogs, including German Shepherds and Welsh Corgis.

What Causes DM?

The cause of DM is unknown, but researchers believe it is a genetic condition. It is thought that certain breeds of dogs have a genetic mutation that makes them susceptible to the disease. In some breeds, the mutation is recessive while in others, it is dominant. Dogs with the mutation can develop DM even if they do not have any known risk factors.

What are the Symptoms of DM?

The symptoms of DM can take months or even years to develop. Initially, the dog may be uncoordinated or have difficulty walking. This can progress to hind limb weakness and loss of muscle tone. Over time, the dog may become incontinent and eventually become paralyzed.

How is DM Diagnosed?

DM is usually diagnosed through a combination of physical examination, laboratory tests, and imaging. A veterinarian will look for signs of muscle weakness and loss of coordination. Lab tests may be used to look for abnormal levels of certain enzymes or proteins in the blood. Imaging such as an MRI can help to diagnose DM by looking for changes in the spinal cord.

How is DM Treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for DM. Treatment focuses on managing the symptoms and improving the dog’s quality of life. Pain medications may be used to reduce pain and spasticity. Physical therapy can help to maintain muscle tone and prevent further deterioration. Special diets and supplements may also be recommended.

How Can DM be Prevented?

DM cannot be prevented, but it can be managed. Responsible breeders should screen for the genetic mutation and only breed dogs that are not affected. For pet owners, it is important to be aware of the signs of DM and to seek prompt veterinary attention if any of them are noticed.

Common Myths about Dog DM

Myth 1: DM stands for “Dangerous Mutt”. This is false; DM stands for Degenerative Myelopathy, a progressive neurological disorder seen in certain breeds of dogs.

Myth 2: DM only affects certain breeds of dogs. This is false; DM has been seen in over 100 different breeds of dogs, including German Shepherds, Boxers, Corgis, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks.

Myth 3: DM is contagious. This is false; DM is not contagious and cannot be passed from one dog to another.

Myth 4: DM is always fatal. This is false; while DM is a progressive disorder and can be fatal, some dogs have been known to live with DM for many years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does DM stand for in dogs?

Answer: DM stands for Degenerative Myelopathy, which is a progressive neurological disorder that affects the spinal cord of older dogs.

How is Degenerative Myelopathy diagnosed?

Answer: Degenerative Myelopathy is typically diagnosed through a combination of physical examination, neurological examination, and imaging tests such as MRI or CT scans. Blood tests may also be used to look for certain markers associated with the condition.

Conclusion

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Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is an incurable, progressive neurological disease in dogs. It is thought to be caused by a genetic mutation and is seen most commonly in certain breeds. Symptoms of DM can take months or even years to develop and can eventually lead to paralysis. There is no cure for DM, but it can be managed with pain medications, physical therapy, special diets, and supplements. Prevention is key, and responsible breeders should screen for the genetic mutation. Pet owners should be aware of the signs of DM and seek immediate veterinary attention if noticed.

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