What can we do with a dog with degenerative myelopathy?


Degenerative myelopathy, progressive, degenerative disease of the spinal cord elderly dog, you start from 8 years old. In early stages, the dog shows uncoordinated movements, falls off his back legs or makes strange movements, staggers and drag one or both feet or, walks with his knuckles.

The disease can begin with a hind limb and affect the other up to the thoracic limbs. The weakness gets progressively worse, the dog has trouble staying on his feet and has trouble walking. The disease can evolve for a year until the dog finally left paraplegic or quadriplegic and must be euthanized. Is a little painful disease and in most cases affect the urination and defecation become incontinent.

No treatments that reduce or stop this degeneration but measures to help these dogs who suffer to maintain their quality of life. You need to make the animal rehabilitation exercises and maintain a lifestyle in your home to avoids pressure ulcers, urinary tract infections and loss of mobility.

With physical therapy and rehabilitation can help slow the process. You can control the symptoms of side pain (tension), created by the animal itself to try to move. It tries to stop the onset of atrophy (muscle wasting) and preserve the function of the forelimbs and preserve the integrity of the posterior, to prevent ulcers and to keep them active as long as possible, encourage and work the sensitivity coordination and balance of the animal to give a better quality of life.

This are employed passive mobilization exercises, massage, stretching, combined with heathot packsAnd with any device that combats atrophy muscle stimulators and pain TENS

There is another part of therapy that tries to keep the active movement by the animal. That usedballs,dishes, Hydrotherapy, rods and cones, Walks, etc.. to maintain active mobility with good coordination without loss of balance. This step is shown more altered in the course of the disease and thus, when the animal begins to deteriorate, will not maintain their own weight, not allowing them the mobility necessary usingSubsequent harnesses,in case of difficulty present only in later, orintegral harnesses,also to support the forelimbs.

The latest in the market is theBiko Brace, A device that allows the dog to walk when emfermedad longer affects hindlimb significantly. In advanced stages of the disease is necessary to use Wheelchair for you.

During the stay at home the animal must be in a comfortable, soft but firm site so you can easily incorporate special mattress for dogs. If the disease is in the early and animal shuffling walk, or with the knuckles is important to protect that area to prevent ulcers Booties or dog socks

During the course of the disease nutrition and weight control animal to avoid complications is very important.


In the following video we see a German shepherd affected TEX degenerative myelopathy before and after use of the device Biko-Brace.

Marta Subirats

Canine Physio

Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner from the University of Tennessee

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