Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is a disease that affects the spinal cord in dogs, causing progressive muscle weakness and loss of coordination. It acts similarly to Lou Gehrig’s disease, or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), in humans. There's no treatment or cure.
Mrs. Wiggles is our third resident diagnosed with DM, and seeing her waddle makes every moment even more special.
A year ago, our observation of balance loss in August resulted in a DM diagnosis. Since then, her disease has progressed to:
Difficulty standing up.
Swaying in the hind end when standing.
Scraping all rear paw nails intermittently when walking (creating a click-click sound).
Early evidence of a loss of muscle mass in the hind limbs.
Tail movement becomes less active.
Rear legs start to cross each other when walking (worse when she turns).
Occasional urinary and fecal incontinence.
Mrs. Wiggles quality of Life is still good, and given a little assistance to stand- she is off and exploring Life. Yet, the day will surely come when life quality will diminish to the point that joy and dignity are less attainable. On that day, our promise to Mrs. Wiggles would be fulfilled that she was profoundly loved until her last breath.
We encourage you to read more about the disease and how frequently it is misdiagnosed.