I think Rusti has Degenerative Myelopathy - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 04-14-2014, 07:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default I think Rusti has Degenerative Myelopathy

I thought it was just arthritis and getting older but I was reading a post about DM and thought it sounded like Rusti. I did the paw test that someone posted and she failed on one paw but the other paw seemed okay. I have been watching her more for any signs and there is some dragging of one of her back legs but only sometimes. She can still run and play in the back yard. Is there any chance it could be something other than DM? My guess would be she is at the beginning stages of it. She will be 9 next month. Last year she had one tick on her, could it be something from that? I will be taking her to vet this week but just trying to find out if there is any chance it could be something else.
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I really hope that it's not DM! It could be a disc or vertebral disease, causing pressure on a nerve or the spinal cord and that's what you're seeing. For instance, lumbro sacral disease is common in the GSD.
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Mikko for your reply. It gives me a little hope that it is something else. Her appt is tomorrow.
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Old 04-15-2014, 01:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm going through this myself, although my dog isn't failing the paw tests. Still, from what I've learned, it's just as likely that its something other than DM as it is that its DM (perhaps more likely it's not DM). There are a lot of other things that can cause what you're seeing, and there's numerous other conditions which can cause a dog to fail the paw test. That's not a definitive way to diagnose any specific condition, it's just one simple test, nothing more.

I would get your dog in for a thorough examination with a vet that specializes in this area. If they recommend an MRI, then get that done as well. Also get blood work done to rule out things such as Lime disease. You should also order the DM test from offa.org. Make sure to order the one for GSD's. After all that you should have a good idea of what you're looking at.
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks Shaner for that link. I didn't know you could order the test yourself. Our appt is tomorrow so we will see what the vet thinks. I've been massaging her leg the last few days and it seems better. Could be wishful thinking though. I hope yours isn't DM either.
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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In the early stages of DM, often only one foot is affected.

I took Sabi in just to discuss meds for what I thought was 'old age' related stiffness and stumbling. I left in a fog. My vet was open and honest that further testing needed to be done, and that diet, exercise would slow the progress, but that DM is terminal.

I would do the DNA test first. If it's -/- or -/+ there is no chance that your dog is showing symptoms. It's a cheap, easy, non invasive test. I think it runs about 40-60 dollars, but it can easily rule out the prime concern allowing you to move on to other things.

Good luck! Please keep me posted, ever time I hear this it hurts.
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Old 04-15-2014, 02:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh I am so sorry you had to go through that. I can't imagine going to the vet and getting that news. It was hard enough to just read about it. I'll definitely do the test. Seems like a cheap way to find out for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabis mom View Post
In the early stages of DM, often only one foot is affected.

I took Sabi in just to discuss meds for what I thought was 'old age' related stiffness and stumbling. I left in a fog. My vet was open and honest that further testing needed to be done, and that diet, exercise would slow the progress, but that DM is terminal.

I would do the DNA test first. If it's -/- or -/+ there is no chance that your dog is showing symptoms. It's a cheap, easy, non invasive test. I think it runs about 40-60 dollars, but it can easily rule out the prime concern allowing you to move on to other things.

Good luck! Please keep me posted, ever time I hear this it hurts.
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Old 04-15-2014, 03:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbella999 View Post
Oh I am so sorry you had to go through that. I can't imagine going to the vet and getting that news. It was hard enough to just read about it. I'll definitely do the test. Seems like a cheap way to find out for sure.
Sorry, let me clarify. A +/+ result does not mean that Rusti HAS DM, it means that in all likelihood if the dog lives long enough symptoms will develop. Diagnosis for DM is done by exclusion, so first we determine if it is even possible, then we rule out everything else.
Even if this isn't DM, you would be wise to cover all bases. Swimming is a huge help for aging GSD's, things like wobble boards improve balance and muscle tone, study diet like really study. Discuss all of these things with your vet, and find out if acupuncture/acupressure is available in your area. It really helps some dogs with arthritic pain and is, long term, cheaper and safer then meds. Also stay informed, many pain meds are NOT safe for GSD's and can cause serious, sometimes fatal complications. Sorry not meaning to imply you are uninformed, just covering all bases.
I guess the only saving grace of DM is that it is painless, small comfort.

Always feel free to PM me, not a vet, not a breeder, not super smart. Just someone who has had the honor of sharing my life with lots of messed up dogs.
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:43 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default DM

Kbella999, I certainly hope your dog doesn't have DM. We lost our beloved male GSD to DM in February. I hope you don't have to, but if you need to ask any questions about DM, I will be available here to answer them. Positive thoughts for you and your GSD- Bob
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Old 04-15-2014, 08:18 PM   #10 (permalink)
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There have been dogs who have tested +/- who have been diagnosed with DM on autopsy. It even admits this on the U of M web site. Not many, but there have been some. The test is a step in the right direction but it does not appear to be 100%.

This is a good article on the disease
http://www.magsr.org/GSDDM%20copy.pdf

And I will look for the link to false negatives and post it here. It is, admittedly, very low occurence that the test is wrong.
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