Degenerative myelopathy, is basically a condition that attacks the nerves in the spine.
For humans, our capacity to move around all depends on various aspects ranging but all connected, from the spine, muscles, nerves and most importantly our brain. The same applies for your dog. If your dog suffers a trauma to any of these areas, it may cause them weakness or a lack of coordination.
A dogs spine is made up of 24 bones called the vertebrae. Detached by small buffers are the intervertebral discs. Damage to this through stress can cause vulnerability to the nerves. This then could cause the neural pathway to not function properly.
Often when you have a paralysed dog, what happens is that the brain and the spinal cord messages have been rattled. Sometimes, the dog may not be able to move their legs ever again, which is known as ‘Total Paralysis’ and at other times, there’s still some communication left between the brain and the spine. Here the dog shows some sort of movement, or weakness and this is referred to as ‘Partial Paralysis’.
Our ‘GenX’ harness is perfect for dogs that are totally paralysed as the harness has handles both at the front and back for lifting and aiding your dog, whereas our ‘Spero’ harness is perfect for dogs that are partially paralysed. Our Spero harness is designed to help rehabilitate your dog by rebuilding their muscles and slowly getting the coordination back.
Any dog breed can suffer a trauma to the spine but breeds that are more prone are generally the dogs with the longer backs such as dachshund and basset hounds. German Shepherd’s also suffer from a genetic disease called degenerative myelopathy (DM or CDRM). DM also affects Boxers, Corgi’s, Irish setters but not as much as German Shepherd dogs. Degenerative myelopathy, is basically a condition that attacks the nerves in the spine and can be either slow or fast acting depending on the individual dog and not the breed, generally attacking as the dog gets older (from eight years upwards).
Living and Management
Your vet will give you the best advice about how to care for your dog. Our Spero harness has helped rehabilitate so many dogs all over the world. Just try and remember that your dog is more scared then you. Quincy himself was a newfoundland dog with 3 legs and my French mastiff – Bud – was rescued from being put to sleep at the age of 7 months from a spinal injury because he could not walk at all. Over a small period of time and with the help of the Spero harness Bud not only can walk but he runs everywhere!!