LIDA Listing of Inherited Diseases in Animals
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Disorder: Myelopathy

Organ System Involved
Nervous/sensory

Alternative disorders described within LIDA
Degenerative Myelopathy

Alternative Names
Degenerative Myelopathy
Degenerative radiculomyelopathy
German Shepherd Myelopathy
Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy

Brief Description
The disease is described as the progressive partial paralysis of the hind legs, resulting from the degeneration of the spinal cord. Spinal cord degradation is caused by the loss of the insulating material of the nerves known as myelin. Affected animals are capable of sensation in the affected region, but movement is visibly impaired.

Presenting Signs
Initially the muscle weakness in the hind legs may be identifiable as the dog experiences difficulty in rising and unsteadiness on its feet. The condition becomes progressively worse and the animal develops rear limb weakness and partial paralysis, along with brief periods of knee and ankle jerking. Faecal and urinary incontinence occur, and the muscles around the legs and pelvis of the dog become noticeably smaller due to their disuse. The forelimb muscles of the dog will also experience shrinkage as a result of the animal's inability to exercise efficiently. Despite all these symptoms, the animal will experience no spinal or back pain unless other complications are present.

Dogs at Risk
Older dogs

PubMed References
Myelopathy

Further Reference Material [OMIA Number]
1162

Contributor
Tamira Mitchell

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  Last Updated: 7 April 2008
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