Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs

Medical review by K9 Healthcare Council of America (K9HCA). Intended for educational purposes only. Always seek medical advice from your veterinarian.

Understanding Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs

If your dog has been diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy (DM), you will want to know how to maintain quality of life and mobility for your dog as long as possible.

Fortunately, there are natural ways to help manage Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs have shown great success and won’t harm your dog the way traditional drugs can.

What is Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs?

Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) is a spinal cord disease in dogs, akin to ALS in humans. The myelin sheath, a protective lining around the spinal cord nerves, deteriorates, leading to delayed or inhibited nerve signals.

When this happens, nerve signals are delayed or inhibited since the protective myelin sheath is now deteriorating and, thus, the spinal nerves with it. This causes a range of issues related to nervous system impairment, including tremors, muscle wasting, incoordination, weakness, and, ultimately, paralysis.

What is Degenerative myelopathy in dogs?
Degenerative Myelopathy is a disease affecting the spinal cord of dogs. It is comparable to ALS in humans. In dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy, the myelin sheath, the nerves’ protective lining around the spinal cord, begins to deteriorate.

Signs of Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs

One of the first signs of Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs will be your dog showing signs of “knuckling,” this is when they drag one or both of their rear legs on the ground instead of adequately picking up the whole paw when walking.

Other symptoms encompass ataxia, inability to balance, weakness, and difficulty rising. A definitive diagnosis by a veterinarian is crucial due to symptom overlap with arthritis and aging in pets.

Many of these symptoms of Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs are also common in overuse-joint-issues and general mobility problems in older dogs. So, it’s vital to get a definitive diagnosis from a veterinarian before concluding whether your dog has the disease.

Once diagnosed, it’s imperative to begin a proactive protocol to delay further damage.

Are There Dog Breeds Prone to Degenerative Myelopathy?

Certain breeds appear to be more prone to Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs, caused by a mutation of the SOD-1 gene.

These breeds include, but are not limited to Miniature Schnauzers, German Shepherds, Corgis, and Poodles, are prone to DM due to a mutation in the SOD-1 gene. While prevalent in large breeds, Degenerative Myelopathy can affect over 120 dog breeds.

Degenerative myelopathy in dog breeds
Certain breeds appear to be more prone to Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs, caused by a mutation of the SOD-1 gene. These breeds include Miniature Schnauzers, German Shepherds, Corgis, Boxers, Rottweilers, Cavalier King Charles, Poodles, Pugs, and Wire Fox Terriers.

Degenerative Myelopathy Prognosis

While Degenerative Myelopathy has no cure, the prognosis varies based on age, disease stage, and owner commitment. Lifespan post-diagnosis varies greatly depending on the dog’s age, the disease’s advancement at the time of diagnosis.

Despite its challenges, options exist to maintain a happy, pain-free quality of life for your furry four-legged companion. There are ways to keep them moving happily and maintain a pain-free, while managing the progression of the disease.

Treatment for Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs

Since drug therapies are limited in their usefulness, Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs is primarily treated by physical methods.

Steroids like prednisone or dexamethasone are a standard drug-based treatment to decrease spinal swelling and inflammation. However, steroids cause immediate damage to the liver and come with unpleasant side effects like irritability, panting, excessive thirst and hunger, increased urination, and the worst for DM, muscle wasting.

Therefore, steroids do not help delay progression nor help the clinical signs of Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs. There are much better alternatives available to decrease inflammation. Fortunately, most vets shy from this option since it hasn’t shown to be much help for DM.

Emphasis is then on physical methods to care for dogs with DM a diagnosis. Physical therapy, including water treadmill and laser therapy, is crucial. Wheelchairs provide independence, encouraging nervous system activity.

Degenerative myelopathy in dogs water treadmill therapy
It’s essential to maintain daily exercise practices at home with your dog and pursue professional physical therapy options. These include water treadmill therapy. A Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (CCRT) will help you find a therapy protocol that works best for your dog’s needs.

Exploring Treatment Options for Dogs with DM

Physical Therapy for Dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy

Chief among all methods for managing Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs is physical therapy. This method has been studied and shown to delay progression and maintain mobility.

Physical Therapy will keep a dog’s nerves alive; without regular physical exercise, these nerve cells will deteriorate quickly. It’s essential to maintain daily exercise practices at home with your dog and pursue professional physical therapy options. These include water treadmill, cold laser, and ultrasound therapy.

In addition to physical therapy, other hands-on methods to effectively manage and slow DM include chiropractic, acupuncture, massage, Assisi Loop therapy, and Help Em Up harnesses. Often, these physical therapy aids will be all in one place at many veterinary rehabilitation facilities.

Wheelchairs for dogs is also a sensible tool to give your dog independence and freedom to move on their own while encouraging nervous system activity and maintaining nerve health.

Full Spectrum Hemp CBD Extract for Degenerative Myelopathy in Dogs

Full Spectrum Hemp Extract (FSHE) CBD for dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy is a vital addition for helping your dog with DM.

CBD Oil is a proven neuroprotectant; it protects the nervous system from damage and inflammation. It has been studied for its beneficial effects on neurodegenerative diseases in two ways: restoring balance to the oxidative and anti-oxidative pathways and reducing inflammation via CB2 receptors.

Best hemp oil for dogs
Full spectrum hemp CBD is now becoming recognized worldwide as a safe and effective natural remedy for dogs with anxiety, allergies and arthritis and can be an effective therapy for dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy.

Benefits of Full Spectrum Hemp CBD Oil for Dogs

  • Neuroprotectant properties
  • Restores balance to oxidative pathways.
  • Reduces inflammation via CB2 receptors.
  • Manages innate body response (homeostasis) to inflammation.

Since Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs is progressive and autoimmune in nature, higher doses of hemp-derived CBD must be given. I recommend a total dose of 0.50 mg of CBD per kg body weight to start. Place the oil along the gumline, 2-3 times daily, to maintain constant therapeutic levels.

Full spectrum CBD oil is a powerful and synergistic all-natural therapy for creating balance and proper homeostasis especially for dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy.

Additional cannabinoids in FSHE including CBDA (Cannabidiolic Acid) and CBG (Cannabigerol) are synergistic plant components that are also effective for dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy. You can find these ingredients in Canine Support Formula from K9 Medibles. Using CBG and CBDA in a full-spectrum hemp extract will garner the best results possible for protecting your dog with DM from further degeneration, pain, and inflammation.

Empowering Love: Caring for Your Dog with Degenerative Myelopathy

Caring for a dog diagnosed with Degenerative Myelopathy can seem overwhelming! However, used in conjunction with physical therapy and other hands-on techniques like acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, and laser therapies, the use of full spectrum hemp extract can help your dog be more comfortable and potentially live a quality life of freedom and independence.

Degenerative myelopathy in dogs wheelchair assist
A physical therapy program done daily by the dog’s owner at home, with early introduction of a cart for therapeutic rear limb exercise, is a very important part of long-term nursing care.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How does Full Spectrum Hemp Extract CBD Oil (FSHE) benefit dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy?

A: FSHE CBD acts as a neuroprotectant, restoring balance to oxidative pathways and reducing inflammation via CB2 receptors. It supports the body’s innate response to inflammation, providing relief for dogs with DM.

Q: Can the dosage of CBD for Degenerative Myelopathy be adjusted based on the dog’s size or severity of the condition?

A: Yes, dosage recommendations can be adjusted based on factors such as the dog’s size and the severity of Degenerative Myelopathy. It is advisable to consult with a veterinarian to determine the optimal dosage for individual cases.

Q: Are there any potential side effects of using Full Spectrum Hemp Extract CBD for dogs with Degenerative Myelopathy?

A: Full Spectrum Hemp Extract CBD for dogs is generally well-tolerated, but individual responses may vary. Common side effects are minimal, but monitoring for changes in behavior or appetite is recommended. Consulting with a veterinarian can help address any concerns and tailor the treatment plan accordingly.

Q: Is CBD alone sufficient, or is there added benefit in combining CBD with CBG for treating Degenerative Myelopathy?

A: Combining CBD with CBG in Full Spectrum Hemp Extract has shown synergistic neuroprotective effects. CBG’s direct action on CB1 and CB2 receptors enhances the overall effectiveness, providing a more comprehensive approach to managing Degenerative Myelopathy in dogs.

Q: Can Full Spectrum Hemp Extract CBD be safely used in conjunction with other treatment modalities like physical therapy and mushroom supplements?

A: Yes, FSHE CBD can be safely integrated into a holistic approach alongside physical therapy and mushroom supplements. In fact, combining these modalities often yields the best results, addressing various aspects of Degenerative Myelopathy to enhance overall well-being in affected dogs.

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