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I have been looking up info on Degenerative Myelopathy off and on over the past year or so.

This requires a bit of a story -

You see, my father had a GSD (Sarge) that developed weakness in his hindquarters.
My father did not care much, and refused to spend any more money on bringing Sarge to the vet because "he's old". I grew up with this dog, he was more like a family pet but my father had the final say and he was the only one with enough money to seek help. Anyhow, that's the situation we were stuck in.
Sarge began showing signs when he was 11 and it was just the occasional slip-up. Over the next 2 years he began really tripping and even sitting on top of his tail. Later on, he would drag his toes, tangle his legs and slide around. We convinced my father to at least buy the best food we could find, Innova Senior with high levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin and Sarge improved a bit.
My brothers, mother and I all pitched in and began bidding on doggy wheelchairs on Ebay, behind my father's back. We did finally win one at a price we could afford.
On January 17, Sarge collapsed and had a seizure. He came out of it but soon after had another seizure, and was not wanting to get up. We brought him to the vet and the vet advised Sarge be PTS, which we agreed to. The wheelchair arrived the next day.
:cry:

The problem now is, my father bred Sarge once before neutering him. Sarge had a pedigree, hips certified and all - but that doesn't seem to mean much now.
My Ruger and my aunt's Sigfried are two of the progeny. My aunt has told me Sigi has begun having difficulty with his hindquarters. I have just recently noticed Ruger occasionally criss-crossing his back legs, his butt dipping low, or going to scratch an itch and losing balance.

I don't know what to do, it sounds most like Degenerative Myelopathy to me, but I've also read that it is risky or hard to diagnose - and mostly diagnosed by ruling out all other options with many many tests.

Ruger is going to have a lump on his chest removed soon, I do not have much money (Ruger had emergency bloat surgery in June ~ $3,800 filled up my only credit card) so I am taking out a bank loan to do this. I am wondering if I should ask about testing him for neurological things while I am at it - and just take a bigger loan. I don't know if it is obviously Degenerative Myelopathy or not, if I should bother to put Ruger through anymore poking and prodding? :confused:

I am hoping you guys have some input.
 

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There are many reasons a GSD can have rear end weakness including DM, X-rays might help resolve the question if it's something simple to diagnose. I know Ringer had to have two MRI's to get his problems diagnosed (disc problems in his neck and back). You can try the DNA DM test to see if your dogs even carry the gene ... if I recall, DM is not easy to diagnose, it's more a process of elimination.
 

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I believe the newer DNA test for DM (from the U of Missouri?) is supposed to be very reliable, and it's available by mail for something like $65.
 

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There are many reasons a GSD can have rear end weakness including DM, X-rays might help resolve the question if it's something simple to diagnose. I know Ringer had to have two MRI's to get his problems diagnosed (disc problems in his neck and back). You can try the DNA DM test to see if your dogs even carry the gene ... if I recall, DM is not easy to diagnose, it's more a process of elimination.
Ditto this.

You can try supplements and a chiropractor and acupuncture to see if there is a response.

I would have the DNA test done to see if the gene is carried, but that won't say whether of not this is actually active DM. However, if he doesn't carry the gene, that will tell you to look elsewhere for a cause.

http://germanshepherdhome.net/forum...Skeletal_Conditions_Degenerati.html#Post48612
 

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I have been looking up info on Degenerative Myelopathy off and on over the past year or so.

This requires a bit of a story -

You see, my father had a GSD (Sarge) that developed weakness in his hindquarters.
My father did not care much, and refused to spend any more money on bringing Sarge to the vet because "he's old". I grew up with this dog, he was more like a family pet but my father had the final say and he was the only one with enough money to seek help. Anyhow, that's the situation we were stuck in.
Sarge began showing signs when he was 11 and it was just the occasional slip-up. Over the next 2 years he began really tripping and even sitting on top of his tail. Later on, he would drag his toes, tangle his legs and slide around. We convinced my father to at least buy the best food we could find, Innova Senior with high levels of Glucosamine and Chondroitin and Sarge improved a bit.
My brothers, mother and I all pitched in and began bidding on doggy wheelchairs on Ebay, behind my father's back. We did finally win one at a price we could afford.
On January 17, Sarge collapsed and had a seizure. He came out of it but soon after had another seizure, and was not wanting to get up. We brought him to the vet and the vet advised Sarge be PTS, which we agreed to. The wheelchair arrived the next day.
:cry:

The problem now is, my father bred Sarge once before neutering him. Sarge had a pedigree, hips certified and all - but that doesn't seem to mean much now.
My Ruger and my aunt's Sigfried are two of the progeny. My aunt has told me Sigi has begun having difficulty with his hindquarters. I have just recently noticed Ruger occasionally criss-crossing his back legs, his butt dipping low, or going to scratch an itch and losing balance.

I don't know what to do, it sounds most like Degenerative Myelopathy to me, but I've also read that it is risky or hard to diagnose - and mostly diagnosed by ruling out all other options with many many tests.

Ruger is going to have a lump on his chest removed soon, I do not have much money (Ruger had emergency bloat surgery in June ~ $3,800 filled up my only credit card) so I am taking out a bank loan to do this. I am wondering if I should ask about testing him for neurological things while I am at it - and just take a bigger loan. I don't know if it is obviously Degenerative Myelopathy or not, if I should bother to put Ruger through anymore poking and prodding? :confused:

I am hoping you guys have some input.
I have an 8 yr old male with DM that began the exact same way. He tore an ACL last Spring and had a repair done which healed well but his rear end gait continued to decline. His father was also afflicted with DM and was euthanized at the same age. We spent 300 on the genetic marker test. He has both dominant genes for DM so with his symptoms he was diagnosed. His gait has been slowly declining and he is now spending periods of time in a cart. We are doing water treadmill therapy, laser therapy and herbal supplements through a holistic vet to slow the progression.
 
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