3-5 year old GSD with degenerative myelopathy??? - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 07-21-2012, 10:23 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default 3-5 year old GSD with degenerative myelopathy???

Is it possible for a 3-5 year old GSD to already have DM??

I'm not sure of his exact age as I adopted him from someone who was getting rid of him on Craigslist. His former owner claimed he was 3 years old and the vet seems to think that looks pretty accurate. She estimated that he was between 3-5 years old.

So here's the problem..... I have noticed that my boy has a strange gait in his hind legs. He rear end sways when he walks/trots and his back legs almost seem to cross over rather than swing straight back and forth. For example, when trotting, his back right leg will swing forward to meet his front left leg. And his back left leg will swing forward to meet his frong right leg. However, he DOES NOT drag his feet or limp or curl his feet under or anything like that, which are other typical symptoms of DM.

I tried getting video of it, but could not get it to load to this site.

Anyway, I took him to the vet yesterday to have him checked out and the only "test" she did was to push pretty hard on his spine right between his two back legs and this caused him quite a bit of pain. His back legs started quivering and they seemed to give out a little, causing him to not be able to stand up firm while she was pushing on it. Now, I'm no veterinarian or anything, but if someone was pushing that hard on MY spine, I would probably quiver and drop to my knees as well!!!

I wanted to get a 2nd opinion, so I've made an appointment at a different vet for early next week. But in the meantime I wanted to get opinions from all of you.

What do you all think? Does it really sound like DM? Is that even possible in a dog that's only 3-5 years old?
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Old 07-21-2012, 02:39 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Personally, I would not waste my money with a second opinion from a regular GP vet.

Go to an Ortho vet/specialist because that is exactly where the other vet will probably send you anyways. I have found that for things like this, regular vets are clueless unless you have a really spectacular one.

Good thoughts for you guys that it is nothing serious! It could also be hip dysphasia...JMO though.
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Old 07-21-2012, 06:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Before jumping to the DM conclusion, I think it might be worth doing hip xrays to see if this stuff is coming from bad hips.
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I will definitely talk to the 2nd vet about x-rays as I was actually surprised the 1st vet didn't do them. I'm *hoping* it's just hip dysplasia, but the first vet DID do some leg extensions to test his reaction to how his hips were moving, and he didn't even flinch. But when she was pushing on his spine, this is what seemed to cause him the pain.

I would LOVE to take him to an orthopedic vet for a specialists opinion, but the only one I can find close by (Overland Park, KS) requires a referral from a regular vet. Perhaps I can ask the 2nd vet for a referral if she's not able to definiatively diagnose what's going on.

Thanks for your suggestions, Kam214 & Magwart!
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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what you are describing might be a result of the dogs conformation.

Get a picture of your dog standing, a picture of the dog in a trot --

He may have more angulation in the rear and be restricted in the front, not opening up enough to make room for all that rear , which can't spend it's energy

here the front leg is able to get out of the way of the opposite hind leg

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Old 07-22-2012, 04:08 PM   #6 (permalink)
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is this what you are seeing ? Dog Carts large dog exercise carts for sale by Canine Carriages the dog's left front and right rear are extended to full forward motion. The dog's right front and left rear and extended to full rear thrust .
The right front and the right rear , moving in opposite directions (front moves back - back moves forward) and the rear right leg moves to the centre of the body to make room for that front leg to move without obstruction , "crossing" .

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Old 07-22-2012, 07:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Ok, so I got a few videos to try and show you what I'm talking about. Pay attention to his hind legs and how they seem to cross over during his gait. Oh, and I apologize for the poor quality and shakiness. I'm not good at capturing moving objects.


<iframe width="420" height="315" src="Koda - YouTube" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="Koda - YouTube" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="Koda - YouTube" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="Koda - YouTube" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="Koda - YouTube" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="Koda - YouTube" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="Koda - YouTube" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="Koda - YouTube" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="Koda - YouTube" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="Koda - YouTube" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="Koda - YouTube" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="Koda - YouTube" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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You can see it pretty well in this one..

Koda - YouTube
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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you have had his hips checked ?
what are you feeding.
In the spirit of problem solving I would say this dog has no muscle tone -- appears to rest his weight on his left side taking weight away from the right.
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Old 07-22-2012, 08:38 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well, the vet we saw on Thursday did pull back his legs to gauge his pain level on his hips and he didn't flinch at all.

I'm feeding him Orijen Regional Red but in the process of switching over to the Fromm Four Stars Grain Free kinds. (I'm not sure the Orijen is agreeing with his tummy. Not to mention he doesn't seem to like it much so I have to add toppers to it to make him even eat it). So needless to say, I'm still in the process of finding the right food for him, but I've only been feeding the top quality stuff.
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