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We noticed our beloved "Cairo" was having problems getting up and when he walks his back nails sometimes "drag" slightly on the floor. He loves swimming and walking on the beach but lately he is not so fond of running on the beach anymore. Instead of jumping on the veranda he will use the stairs.
We took him to the vet/specialist a few days ago who took many x-rays of his hips and his spine. His hips are 100% fine and he could not find anything wrong on the spine and he says he suspects it is Degenerative myelopathy (DM).
Cairo is turning 3 in March and still so young. Can anyone who has gone through this offer some advice for us, please?
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That would be exceptionally young for DM symptoms. I would recommend an MRI since an xray would not be most helpful in diagnosing spinal issues. It could be any number of issues in his neck or back and it sort of annoys me that your vet would suggest DM, especially in a 3 year old.
Foot placement test? While he is standing flip his back foot upside down. If he rights it immediately it's NOT DM.
Were your dogs parents not tested prior to breeding?
 

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Highly doubt DM way too young. DM testing is still new and controversial so parents being tested or not makes no difference.
sorry to be blunt but that’s who I am your dog looks to be overweight in the picture
Being overweight will contribute to many issues on joints.
 

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Highly doubt DM way too young. DM testing is still new and controversial so parents being tested or not makes no difference.
sorry to be blunt but that’s who I am your dog looks to be overweight in the picture
Being overweight will contribute to many issues on joints.
I did lost my old girl 10 yrs ago to DM she was 11. Nothing you can do for it.
 

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I had a vet tell me my 4 year old had DM maybe. Now that I know more about it, he did not. He had other neuro problems unrelated. But not DM. You can send a swab in to see if he is clear, carrier, or double carrier (and potentially affected). If you want. Other than that test, I believe DM can only be 100% diagnosed via necropsy.

Have you had his elbows checked? I knew of a dog with bad elbows once and he was slow to get up and wouldn't jump. My dog makes a nail drag noise when he is milling around slowly. His hips, elbows all passed and he is extremely agile and athletic. But I do hear his nails drag when he is lazily pacing, sometimes. I could do better at cutting them to be honest.

I'd take weight off him for sure.It could be a HUGE part of his issue. I am not trying to be funny at all but 25lbs on or off of me is the difference between being able to be athletic or running like an umpa loompa that barked his shin on the coffee table. Being overweight hurts sometimes. He is fairly overweight.
 

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That would be exceptionally young for DM symptoms. I would recommend an MRI since an xray would not be most helpful in diagnosing spinal issues. It could be any number of issues in his neck or back and it sort of annoys me that your vet would suggest DM, especially in a 3 year old.
Foot placement test? While he is standing flip his back foot upside down. If he rights it immediately it's NOT DM.
Were your dogs parents not tested prior to breeding?
His foot flips back immediately. Just phoned the GSD of SA and they confirmed DNA tests were done and there is no history of DM. The GSD of SA will phone back later today with more information for me. Will add the information on the forum.
 

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I contacted the GSD federation of SA and send them some videos as well as pictures. They confirmed it is not DM but suggested I wait a month to see how he is doing. He has to complete "Joint Care" advanced XL to see if he gets better as he might have hurt a muscle. This morning he enjoyed a swim, digging some holes and having fun on the beach!



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That would be exceptionally young for DM symptoms. I would recommend an MRI since an xray would not be most helpful in diagnosing spinal issues. It could be any number of issues in his neck or back and it sort of annoys me that your vet would suggest DM, especially in a 3 year old.
Foot placement test? While he is standing flip his back foot upside down. If he rights it immediately it's NOT DM.
Were your dogs parents not tested prior to breeding?
Just an update on our GS Cairo: Both parents were tested for DM and they are both clear. Did the foot placement test and he flips it right back.
I am beginning to think he might be overweight (Height = 71cm/27.95" length = 77cm/30,315" and weight = 49kg/108 pounds)
 

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To be blunt yes he is overweight....I hadn't posted but that's the first thing I thought from your initial pic of him sitting down.....since these dogs have arthritis and joint problems in their genes the best thing an owner can do for them is keep them lean....the problem is as they become overweight-they become less active and then gain even more weight if we're not careful with food intake...so it's a really bad bad cycle for the dog........

IMO he looks at least 25- 30 lbs. over weight.....he won't be happy about getting less food and/or snacks but as the weight comes off he WILL feel better and in turn will become more active which will help with the weight loss....it'll be good for him....he'll be healthier with fewer vet visits over all....weight may not be 100% what's causing his issues but it's where I'd start.....to many vets don't mention it when a dog is over weight but they're quick to call you out on "he/she is skinny"....I've explained the difference in "skinny" and "healthy" a few times over the years to vets...
 
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