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canine degenerative myelopathy

(19 Posts)
redpriestandmozart Wed 14-Oct-15 21:18:22

Does anyone have any experience of CDM? I think I have a dog on the verge of this diagnosis and it terrifies me sad

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 14-Oct-15 22:47:46

Dr Clemmons at the University of Florida is really the only person who has done any real work on this disease this is his fact sheet.
I have managed one case using all the supplements listed some of which are very specialist products and your vet will need to order from a 'specials' pharmaceutical company it used to be a division of boots, but summit may now do them. I think it prolonged the dog's life for about 6 months when it was combined with intensive physiotherapy and use of a tens machine.

Greyhorses Thu 15-Oct-15 08:34:31

I had a 12 year old german shepherd diagnosed with CDRM who lived roughly 2 years post diagnosis and in the end it wasn't that that made me PTS.

He was still able to move around independantly, potter around in the garden or for short walks and I would have PTS much earlier if he was not able to do this himself.

I think it effects each dog differently and there are no rules or treatments as such, my vet told me to just take each day as it comes. sad

AgathaF Thu 15-Oct-15 10:03:52

We have an almost 16 year old dog who is now rapidly coming to the end of his life with DM. He showed first symptoms around three and a half years ago and went from being able to walk a few miles to being limited to around a quarter of a mile and on flattish ground in literally a week. We don't expect him to last another month really.

Feel free to PM me if you want to chat about it.

Spanielcrackers Thu 15-Oct-15 10:19:51

My dog (Golden Retriever) was diagnosed with CDM 18 months ago. It has progressed very slowly.
The vet assured me it was painless, but he must be put to sleep when he starts to drag his feet as he would develop sores.
She also said she would not fit him with a frame with wheels.
I've had a few scares which I'd wrongly assumed were related to the CDM, but were in fact stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.
My dog's CDM has not progressed since last November.

AgathaF Thu 15-Oct-15 11:00:21

Ours was like that too Spaniel, slow progression for the first couple of years or so. The last year has seen him degenerate markedly and the last couple of weeks far more so. Up to now he has had a reasonable quality of life, and the DM has actually taken away the pain of the arthritis he has in his back legs, so in some ways I think it may actually have prolonged his life really.

redpriestandmozart Thu 15-Oct-15 12:31:36

Thanks everyone, we are not even certain it is this as it's very early days but all the symptoms fit. We took her to the vet on Tues as she was drinking a lot, urine and bloods all came back normal. When there we mentioned last few weeks she hasn't been able to jump on furniture as well, missing our bed, just about making it onto her sofa but not in the normal fashion. She had x-rays of hips, all fine no dysplasia or arthritis. She was given a week of painkillers to see if that made a different, as yet there is no difference in her walking or jumping.

I know it is a diagnosis of elimination and there will be many more tests to run, she goes back next week. We took her to the beach yesterday and took photos of her foot prints, there is nail drag (one front) and what looks like a push to the ground (hind) and a video all to show the vet. She is a standard poodle, heartbreaking as she is only 5 days old sad

KinkyAfro Thu 15-Oct-15 14:37:32

5 DAYS old?? Surely not

redpriestandmozart Thu 15-Oct-15 17:04:13

Sorry that should be 5 years old, my mistake, actually she will be 5 in December.

LimeJellyHead Sun 18-Oct-15 15:58:46

Out little terrier has myelopathy. I noticed it very early on a number of years ago (maybe 3 years ago) but was dismissed by vets. Now it is really obvious and he recently failed the knuckle test, where they stand the foot on the knuckles to see if the dog will correct it.

I found boots have really helped him. Not really sure why but I think they give him much better grip and stability and he has more walking confidence when he has them on. So from our experience, I would recommend some structured dog boots with good sole grips, for a dog in the early-ish stages, who can still walk but is wobbly and no longer confident in their own back legs.

Berkeley started with Gripper Socks which he used for a year but as his disease has progressed they didn't give him quite the grip and stability he needs so he is now wearing a much sturdier boot, these ones

The difference in him is quite amazing... much more than I ever expected. As we are putting them on him every morning he starts to get excited and then he runs around the house in them (something I thought I would never see him do again). He can even go up and down the stairs, which he really struggles with when he is bare foot.

redpriestandmozart Thu 22-Oct-15 19:19:10

Thanks Lime I have had a look at the boots and think it would be a very good idea. We don't have any wooden floors although the kitchen is tiles but better to be prepared. At the vet on Wednesday we discussed genetic testing before an MRI scan as it is just a blood test. The defective gene has been identified in the StPoo.

I really hope that this is mild although looking at the prognosis 3 years seems to be maximum time after diagnosis. To be honest most signs are quite subtle at this stage but it does look like she does have CDM and the vet agrees, bloods have been taken and we should have the result in 2 weeks.

LimeJellyHead Thu 22-Oct-15 20:03:57

Yes, we have really found they make a big difference. He is very slow, unsure and even depressed without boots on. Put them on and he is off. It's just that extra little bit of grip I guess, gives them confidence in their feet/legs again. I can say for how much it helps when your home is carpeted but for our hard floors it has been a great help for him.

I hope you get good news but either way try not to worry. We can't change anything. I used to cry every time a vet said Berkeley had this and that and wouldn't live much longer. He's still here.

With regards myelopathy, he started showing signs at least 3 years ago and maybe even longer ago than that, but I did notice it really early on. He is still doing OK. He can still walk but with some stumbling and even run a little bit. You mainly notice it when he is standing still. He slowly sinks down. He also forgets to get his own back legs in his bed a lot. I don't know if that is related to myelopathy or if that is his dementia, but it is as if his back legs aren't his. He gets in bed and leaves them hanging out.

Oh, there was another thing a physio did for him. I'll try to explain it. You get a strip of MSD Band and cut it length ways in half so it is about 2cm wide. Tie a loop in one end for the back foot to go through and tie the other end to the D-ring of their harness. Make it tight enough to twang. Do the same on the other side. Again, it kind of gives them feedback about their back legs.

LimeJellyHead Thu 22-Oct-15 20:07:28

PS These are him 6 months ago and I would say things haven't got much worse in that time.

LimeJellyHead Thu 22-Oct-15 20:14:19

OK, sorry for the poor quality of this pic but I had to take it as a screen shot from a video to show you the leg elastics. I do hope some of this helps flowers

redpriestandmozart Fri 30-Oct-15 11:18:16

Lime sorry for delay in replying we were on holiday. Thank you so much for the lovely photos of Berkeley and the information. He looks a gorgeous dog and I am glad the boots work for him. We have bought a bottoms up harness in anticipation of needing to help her up and down steps and when she gets tired. We haven't had the results yet, maybe some time next week. She has been in great form this week and it's hardly noticeable I am hoping that if she does have DM it is very early days we have her for many years to come.

The elastic bands make so much sense, I can fully understand how they work. We will seek out a physio and try to help her as much as we can.

The irony of all this is that I have multiple scleroses and know exactly how she feels, some days I don't know where my legs are either!

redpriestandmozart Sun 15-Nov-15 20:15:38

The DNA results for CNM have come back clear, she does not carry the mutated gene. We have been referred for an MRI scan, this will be in a few weeks time and we should hopefully have more answers then.

LimeJellyHead Sun 15-Nov-15 21:03:00

Oh, that's a big YAY then. Hopefully it is something that can be sorted out. Do post won't you. I'm cheering you on.

Yeah, maybe worth you having a go with the elastics. The rubber stuff is really cheap. Just get it online and give it a try. I don't think it can do any harm. It's only feedback about their own legs.

PS Sorry I didn't reply to your other post. I don't seem to be getting all notifications so totally missed it.

redpriestandmozart Sun 13-Dec-15 18:01:20

UPDATE - she had a very comprehensive MRI and more X-rays taken on 4th Dec, the images were sent to 2 different vet hospitals and all the vets have concluded she has early stage (and quite subtle) cervical spondylomyelopathy commonly known as wobbler disease.

Cervical spondylomyelopathy (CSM), or wobbler syndrome, is a disease of the cervical spine (at the neck) that is commonly seen in large and giant-breed dogs. CSM is characterized by compression of the spinal cord and/or nerve roots, which leads to neurological signs and/or neck pain. The term wobbler syndrome is used to describe the characteristic wobbly gait (walk) that affected dogs have.

As she isn't in any pain and for now they have given her anti inflammatories for a month to see if she improves. She isn't to wear a collar again (a harness is fine), only have gentle walks and if she gets worse there is an operation that can relieve it but that's a long way off.

She is still very happy and now we know what it is we can help her. Thanks Lime for following smile

LimeJellyHead Mon 14-Dec-15 13:30:21

So pleased you have a diagnosis and can help her smile

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