What is Degenerative Myelopathy that German Shepherd dogs get?

Our question this week was:

I have a German Shepherd with spinal myeopathy. Can you tell me about this disease and how to care for an elderly pet?


Linda Costes


Hi Linda – thanks for your email. I am guessing that you mean your German Shepherd has a disease called Degenerative Myelopathy.

Degenerative myelopathy is a degenerative disease that affects the spinal cord in the thoracolumbar region (mid to lower back). It is also called Canine degenerative radiculomyelopathy and German shepherd dog myelopathy.

It is a progressive disease that causes weakness in the rear legs. The disease often progresses over several months. There is no known treatment however there are some suggested therapies that may help including Vitamin E, C and B supplementation, exercise and physical therapy and good nursing care at home. Our article on this disease may be very beneficial to you. It also gives you some home therapy suggestions on how to make him the most comfortable.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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